The Ikigai of Adventure Travel

The Ikigai of Adventure Travel

Ikigai and Travel – What do they have in common?

Life has its ups and downs, and sometimes your life feels like it lacks a sense of purpose or meaning, either because of routine or past unfortunate life events. You could even be going through a midlife crisis without knowing it. At this halfway point in life, people tend to reevaluate their lives and confront their own mortality. For some, this becomes a significant issue that affects their relationships and careers.

Have you experienced this already by any chance? Could it be time to try something entirely new and seek out some adventure travel? If this rings a bell, you should continue reading further because this article is for you and it might shed some light on your purpose.

So one way to change perspective and get fresh insights about life and your purpose is to go outside of your comfort zone. This can provide remarkable opportunities when approaching the ikigai concept. And what is Ikigai, you may ask? 

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being.” This article will discuss how adventure travel can help put you on the path to discovering greater personal happiness by finding your Ikigai in the most unlikely places! We ill be touching on how to reinvent yourself and how to give meaning to your life by travelling if you are at the crossroads.

Understanding Ikigai

The term “ikigai” may be traced back to the Heian era (794 to 1185). Akihiro Hasegawa, a clinical psychologist and ikigai evolution expert, published a study article in 2001 in which he stated that the term “gai” derives from the word “kai,” which translates to “shell” in Japanese.  

Shells were exceedingly precious during the Heian period, therefore, the connection to worth is still present in this term.

It can also be seen in similar Japanese words like hatarakigai, (働きがい) which means the value of work, or yarigai ~ga aru (やり甲斐がある), meaning “it’s worth doing it.”

Gai is the key to discovering your life’s meaning or significance. 

The ikigai Venn diagram, which depicts the overlapping four primary qualities: what you are excellent at, what the world needs, what you can be paid for, and, of course, what you love, is the finest method to truly embody the underlying idea of ikigai.

To boil it down to its most basic principle, ikigai exists at the intersection of these locations.

Okaaaay, so what’s the connection between all these funny terms and travel adventure, and why should I care about it? 

Well, there might be a very good connection, in fact.

Adventure travel opens up your mind to different cultures, experiences, places, and things. Yes, it’s not for everyone, that’s why it’s called “adventure”. However, if you want to try getting outside your comfort zone and finding some new passions as part of your Ikigai, then you should consider it. 

Complicated situations you’ll encounter during your travels might help you understand better what you excel at, what you actually love about yourself and the world, and hone some of the skills you have. and maybe discover some new ones?

For example, you might discover some new passions, like cooking in a chef class in Thailand, and you would notice you are very good at it. In exchange, this gives you immense satisfaction when you see other people enjoying the food you cooked.

Maybe it’s time to go PRO and open up a small restaurant with Thai food in the neighborhood where you live back home.

The benefits of adventure travel for personal growth and self-discovery – building into the Ikigai

Exploring the world through adventure travel can transcend your life to new heights of personal growth and self-discovery. There are plenty of benefits when you open yourself up to new cultures and people – you become more patient, communicative, and compassionate. 

You learn about how others see the world and how to think before jumping to conclusions without knowing the complete story. Going on an adventure exposes you to moments of joy, insight, and understanding that will shape you into a better person over time.

While challenges may arise during your travels, conquering them is an invaluable experience for personal development. And this might shed some light on new passions or even your purpose in life! 

Designing an ideal lifestyle in your chosen career isn’t just about the job itself; it’s also about creating strong social connections, finding harmony between your work and personal lives, and having the courage to pursue your dreams. And this is where the Ikigai connection comes in. Adventure travel can greatly assist you in defining your Ikigai. You should be finding yourself engaged and energized in all aspects of work, resulting in greater job satisfaction. 

That doesn’t mean working hard won’t come with its own rewards; by taking steps towards pursuing your career dreams, seeking balance between your professional and personal lives, and embracing relationships at work, there is much to enjoy from the lifestyle you have designed for yourself. Ultimately, knowing your ikigai can help you design your ideal work lifestyle, create strong social connections at work, and, of course, create a healthy work-life balance.

3 Steps to Identify Your Ikigai

Identifying your Ikigai is a process where you have to confront yourself and ask some solid existential questions about yourself. We broke this process into three parts, as per below:

The cool part is that adventure travel will definitely help you answer these questions much easier.

Step 1: To find your ikigai, answer a few questions.

(a) What do you love?

Is there a particular hobby or craft you can’t seem to get enough of or that you’ve wanted to start since some time ago? Is this hobby more exciting than your current job?

Also, are you looking forward to going to work more than you are to leave work? If not, then maybe you are not in your true Ikigai.

(b) What do you excel at?

Are there parts of your job that come easily to you? Are you one of the best at what you do? Did you get complimented about the work you did in the past? 

If yes, that’s great. You can include this skill in the Ikigai diagram. 

If not, perhaps it’s time to rethink your career and job and shift your focus to an industry you truly enjoy and find exciting.

(c) Is there a need for your service 

Is your hobby or craft in high demand in the marketplace, or will your craft or business still be valuable in the future? 

Will you solve a social, economic, or environmental problem? Moreover, are there other people getting paid for the same work you’re doing? 

Will you eventually make a good living doing your work?

Step 2: Have a solid think about your Ikigai

Spend time imagining your perfect day and determining your ikigai (genuine life purpose) by observing what makes you happy at work.


Make a note of your visualisation and seek out parts of your existing life that don’t match it. Consider small adjustments to align them with your goal, which should be a combination of things you enjoy, are excellent at, are required by the world, and can be compensated for. 

Concentrate on discovering your ikigai, and don’t let doubts or worries influence your actions.

Step 3: Have a solid think about your Ikigai

Now that you have a clear vision of your perfect weekday, study and investigate several choices to determine whether they correspond with your goal. 

To get more knowledge and insights, consider studying, attending classes, or engaging a coach or mentor. If, at the end of this procedure, you discover that your vision matches your real-life expectations, you’ve discovered your ikigai. 

If not, don’t panic; it may take some time and experimenting with various roles and activities before you find what works for you. Repeat the procedure until you discover your genuine life purpose.

Let’s look at some real examples of how adventure travel and the Ikigai process could help you unlock your potential.

Volunteer Travel – This might come as a bit of a surprise, but doing volunteer work can unlock many ways for self-discovery. You may be wondering how. Well, by exploring different roles and tasks, you may obtain a sense of what they love and are excellent at by trying out different roles and duties, which can help them determine their passion and the sort of profession they want to follow. 

Volunteering can allow you to meet new people and create useful contacts, including with professionals in your field of interest. These new connections could provide you with significant insight into what it’s like to work in a specific field and help you decide if it’s a good match for them. 

This experience can give you a sense of purpose and happiness, which can help you discover a meaningful profession. Hence, volunteering may give you a plethora of experiences and insights into the sort of job that you may be interested in pursuing, and it can play an important part in assisting them in discovering their calling.

Cultural immersion Cultural immersion can help in the discovery of a new vocation by introducing someone to new ways of life, beliefs, and employment options.

A person can gain a greater knowledge of and admiration for various cultures via cultural immersion, which can expand their mind to new ideas and viewpoints. 

This might result in a shift in their values and ambitions, which may lead to the discovery of a new passion or vocation.

Furthermore, cultural immersion may give you real-world experience and networking possibilities, both of which can be beneficial in your search for a new job.

Outdoor adventures and sports – doing open air sports and hikes is definitely something that can help you discover your hidden or buried passions. Adventures in the great outdoors provide a perfect backdrop for self-reflection and personal growth. 

A quiet hike in the mountains or some lake camping is a fantastic opportunity for someone to put their thoughts in order, clear up their mind, and reflect on life and matters.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover you like carpentry after chopping wood, or you’ll discover you like archery after shooting the bow and arrow, which is rewarding, and you’ll want to take some classes.

Adventures in nature are also a great tool for your mental health and can improve it significantly, so it’s a no brainer to do these kinds of activities often.

More Examples of Adventure Travel That Align with Ikigai

You are a big art fan and already have a small collection, but you have never done more than look around and investigate upcoming artists. 

Since you were 40, you had been thinking about taking a sabbatical and traveling in Southeast Asia. Let’s assume you decide to finally take that break in Asia and there you encounter some very interesting art dealers with great potential and a very interesting stock.

This is an A-HA moment where you decide to setup a business relationship with these people and start dealing art across the globe. How about this for a rewarding hobby?

Do you own pets, and are you really good at taking care of them? Maybe you want to put this “super power” to work and start helping other pet owners or work on a daily basis with animals.

Add these things to the Ikigai drawing and see how you can connect the dots. Would you like to open up a pet store or an e-commerce business with beauty products for pets? Or should you organise regular meetups with pet owners in your area? Can you monetize some of these ideas? Very likely if you know what you are doing and put in the effort.

Here’s another one, this time, for office professionals. Let’s say you realize you are really good at motivating people as a manager. People get work done and are productive in your presence. You were even praised for this by other people in the company.

This means your excitement is contagious, and people love to be around you and work with you. 

Do you want to improve your leadership skills to the point where you excel at them? Then that’s one path you can take and explore.

How about starting to be a coach for people that need you to improve themselves, become more disciplined, or achieve their career or business goals? 

You can do this both offline and online by organizing in-person and online webinars for one-on-one or multiple students at the same time. You might find this extremely rewarding which would feel great!

You could work on all this after your 9–5 job as a side hustle and then transform it into a full time business if you really enjoy it. Start slow and lean and see how it goes.

Try to think about your passions and things you excel at and put them on a list. Once your business has taken off, you can start traveling, adventuring in new cultures, testing yourself again or discovering more skills and things you want to experience.

Act now and find out your Ikigai

It’s normal to feel like you’ve lost your way or that your life lacks purpose, but there are ways to get back on track. One way is to seek out new and exciting experiences, like adventure travel. This can help refresh your perspective and give you insights about what you want out of life. If you’re feeling stuck, why not try something new? You might be surprised at what you find.

Go ahead and start putting together your Ikigai by traveling and taking on new adventures once in a while. Adventure travel will definitely help you close that circle and become a new you.

By Andrew Williams of Remote Tribe


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    Insured Nomads provides global health and safety protection for the remote worker, traveller & expat. Insurance paired with advanced tech-enabled features and solutions for health, safety, security, well-being and support.

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