Adventure Seeking For The Non-Adventurous
Ah, the adventurous spirit. I had always planned to hike up a remote mountain. I had dreams of skydiving. I marveled at people who traveled to a third world country and supported themselves with odd jobs.
After forty-seven years on earth, I have to admit that I am not one of those adventurous people. Enough pretending. I won’t even participate in an overnight camping trip (unless I can sleep in a hotel).
I took, what I consider, an adventurous step yesterday. I went to my favorite lunch place and changed up my routine. I got my usual salad and asked for the dressing mixed in instead of on the side. My heart actually skipped a beat as I made this request.
“That’s enough!” My outburst caught the salad-preparer off guard. She flashed one of those guilty smiles at me.
“I can scrape some of it off,” she said.
She removed a good portion of the excess dressing, and all was right in the world. Never again will I get the dressing mixed in, I thought.
No matter how hard I try or what kind of delusional thinking I employ, I will never be one of those super adventurous people I have come to envy. I prefer well thought out and methodical to spontaneous and haphazard. Perhaps I’m in desperate need for a Tony Robbins seminar? I don’t know.
I can honestly write that I’ve done almost nothing I would consider adventurous. I’ve hiked through mountains, but always on a trail. I’ve traveled but always kept to relatively safe places. I’ve switched careers, out of necessity not out of a desire to try something new.
I may not seek adventure in the traditional manner that our culture defines, but that’s because we take a narrow view of the definition.
Despite my lack of travel, risky physical activity and cautious food rituals, I do my fair share of exploration.
I write every day. I write to explore new ideas, revisit old ones and learn something new about myself, other people and the world. There is an adventure in this exercise. Self-discovery is an adventure even if it’s just you and your laptop (and a cup of steaming hot coffee with a tablespoon of cocoa powder).
If you’re one of those people who lack adventure, and you’ve forced yourself to be adventurous, try a different approach. Instead of climbing a mountain, pull out a notepad and discover yourself. Instead of fitting yourself into society’s definition of the adventure seeker, redefine the meaning of adventure on your terms.
What does adventure mean to you? I’ve decided that it does not involve climbing a mountain, traveling to third world countries or moving to a foreign country. Adventure to me means satisfying my curiosity, seeing the world from different perspectives and understanding why people act the way they do. Adventure is all about discovery. You can do that by observing the world around you or by climbing Kilimanjaro. There are no rules. The choice is yours.
This famous quote seems to contradict my assertion.
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. — Saint Augustine
The implication is that if you don’t travel, you do not really experience life. There might be some truth to that. But here’s what it misses. Most people don’t live their days as active observers. They don’t document their lives. They don’t examine their experiences and look for the significance or meaning. They live and experience but forget and miss the learning opportunities available.
What’s Your Definition Of Adventure?
Here’s what it means to me.
Adventure is a curiosity that stems from a desire to explore, discover and experience the unknown.
I don’t need to travel to a foreign land or jump out of an airplane to experience that.
If you need a method that works, try this one.
- Observe life. Pay attention to experiences, events and the world around you. Be curious about everything.
- Document it. If you don’t, you’ll forget.
- Ask yourself what each observation means, what you learned from it, what it proved or disproved about life, love, work, relationships or any other subject that interests you.
- Explore the topic by writing about it. This satisfies your curiosity.
- Publish it to the world. Experience the unknown.