“the adventure of a lifetime”
I hear this all the time, and I hate it. I’m going to have a lifetime of adventure, screw your “adventure of a lifetime”. Adventure. Yes, a defining word in my life yet it’s casual use in daily conversation infuriates me. Remember, we humans hunted for sustenance not long ago, therefore I find your adventures to the grocery store hard to believe. Unless your grocery store has T-Rex in the dairy isle…mine doesn’t. Of course I’m being facetious, but our general lack of understand when it comes to what adventure is and isn’t drives me crazy.
Adventure is uncertain, often on the ragged edge of existence, it is more a reflection of ones vigor for life than a point on a map. Money does not buy adventure and It can be had anywhere, and, while anyone can experience it, very few us embrace the ethos that it breeds.
[ad-ven-cher] noun, verb,ad·ven·tured, ad·ven·tur·ing.
Adventure is a subjective, personal experience. The key words in adventure’s definition are exciting, unusual, bold, risky; these are of course subjective to the individual. Thus it’s hard to compare amongst ourselves and we need not judge who is more adventurous. And let’s not confuse exploring and adventure, though often they go hand in hand. The great explorers of past generations had new and exciting places to explore, and while it was certainly an adventure I disagree with the notion that we must be completing a worlds first to have an adventure. It’s hard to find mountain that hasn’t been climbed or a passage that hasn’t been navigated. Now many so called adventurers resort to a bizarre pissing contest of who can be the first (insert random category here). You could now be the the youngest, oldest, shortest, paraplegic, amputee, blind, Asian american person to climb Everest. The reality is you could have more adventure in your current city than paying a guide and group of sherpa’s to walk you up everest. Why?
Adventure is all encompassing, testing your mind, body and soul. Simply pushing your bodies limits is just exercise, but to experience adventure you must be challenged on all fronts. Adventure tears you down piece by piece, until nothing is left except the bare reality of your existence. When nothing is left you can truly confront your fears, physical limits, ones own mortality and use your strengths, intelligence and resourcefulness to not just sustain life but thrive in the moment. And you rebuild yourself stronger, smarter, wiser, more complete, until the next adventure. Often times when I’m on an adventure I feel like i’m battling something; the mountain, the weather, a person or city, but in reality I’m battling myself. Once I confront myself and move on everything seems to flow, my mind content, body efficient and soul full of life, leaving me with a sort of adventure high than can only be fulfilled by the next all encompassing moment.
Adventure is committing. You can’t half do it.
After a 12 hour desert motorcycle ride along the Pakistani border
Adventure requires complete confidence in oneself. I think allowing yourself to be vulnerable is essential, and without self confidence you cannot let yourself be vulnerable. Instead, if we hide behind a facade of cockiness and insecurity, we never allow ourselves to be vulnerable and embrace the uncertainly that ensues. It is a beautiful sensation when, uncertain of the next 5 minutes or 5 hours, you charge ahead, confident that whatever situation arises you can meet it with effortless grace. This also puts things in perspective, you distill the world into a simple to understand environment. “Is this something I have control over?” if yes, then make a decision, if no, live with it. When in this hyper focused mindset, we realize how trivial many decisions we make are. I, like many people, used to agonize over making the “best decision”. Should I turn right or left, do this or do that, make camp here or there. In reality our life, and adventurous pursuits, are made of millions of unimportant decisions; It makes no difference if we go right or left. Yet there are also critical life or death decisions sometimes minute, that strung together might end our existence or shape our future. The adventure mindset acts like a filter to discover what decisions we really need to spend our time on.
I don’t think adventure is something you can have….it’s something you experience, but like all experiences it’s temporary, fluid, never stagnant. It’s not something we comprehend until after it is over. For in the moment of adventure we shouldn’t have to time to acknowledge such thoughts that distract us. Adventure is not contrived, It is not guarantied or constant. It is not a singular event but a consequence on many continuous events viewed through a specific mindset that is a special human experience. Adventure is best shared with another, but often one must strike out alone to truly fulfill it. It doesn’t have a Twitter feed and the best adventures you might not share on Facebook. Words and pictures can describe it but to understand it one must experience it.
In this way, adventure could be seen as a want or need, making us unhappy when we’re not in that high. I am not a professional athlete, so I can’t maintain a life of constant extremes that a professional climber or skier could perhaps find. But I think even in their case, what was once an adventure can be mundane. Perhaps we must accept that simply jumping from one adventure to the next won’t make us happy, but instead embrace the characteristics of adventure and apply it to our lives in all aspects. An adventure state of mind, once embraced allows us experience adventure on a daily basis.
GET OUT THERE!