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The Beauty of Failed Adventures

Updated: Feb 9

For those of us who didn't grow up with outdoor recreation and adventure sports, it's not just intimidating to get started, but can be extra difficult to keep going. There can be a steep leaning curve to climbing, snowboarding, surfing, backpacking, and more. When the BIPOC (and other underrepresented communities) say there are barriers to outdoor access, this also includes the social, physical, and mental barriers.

One common challenge is the pressure to excel and quickly grasp the activities. Social media, movies, and short films often showcase only the highlights, fostering unrealistic expectations. However, there's been a rise in the portrayal of "weekend warriors" and safer outdoor options, which provide more accessible avenues for enjoyment.

Despite these trends, there remains a significant gap in representation. Where are the narratives that capture the setbacks and failures inherent in the learning process? It's crucial to spotlight the difficulties, the falls, the fatigue, and the moments of doubt—this authenticity not only reflects reality but also aids in retention efforts and encourages more individuals to embrace the learning curve.

Let's take the example of a trip to Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park.

Our plan was to hike in and fish at Sandbeach Lakes in late May. We expected some ice and snow based on photos from the previous year and recent reviews on All Trails, and felt confident that the snow and ice would be manageable. Regardless, just a mile into the hike, we found ourselves in knee-deep snow. After struggling to get up the trail, moving at probably .5mph, we settled for a quick lunch at a small bridge about 1/2 a mile further, and turned back.

Maybe it's not the most exciting adventure at face value, but how do you flip this around to create a better, relatable, and attention grabbing story?

Instead of viewing this as a failed adventure, I embraced it as an opportunity to share the realities of spontaneous adventures - regardless of the original plan, you can still make the best of what's around you. It shows a willingness to be vulnerable and share both successes and failures.

So, how can this perspective be integrated into marketing efforts?

Engage with content creators, athletes, and ambassadors across various skill levels, sports, and backgrounds. Develop intentional narratives that highlight the struggles of starting and mastering a new sport. Diversifying adventure marketing entails acknowledging different ability levels, thereby fostering connections with burgeoning athletes. Emphasize that failed adventures are part of the journey, and that resilience can lead to meaningful experiences, even in the face of setbacks.


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