Adventure is a word thrown around a great deal these days, from travel journeys to sexual experiences to culinary pursuits. In the age of Instagram and travel blogging, the term has reached viral climax. Motivational quotes, stories, headlines and even personal descriptions are filled with the phrase (adventurer has become a relatively popular title in the social media world). Everyone, it appears, is going on an adventure. What does adventure mean though?
The Oxford dictionary defines it as; “An unusual and exciting or daring experience.”
Would you agree? Is an adventure solely a pursuit that represents danger and the unknown? This is my take..
What adventure means to me..
The pursuit of expanding your own boundaries, pushing past your comfort zone if you will. I don’t believe an adventure has to be unusual (to you) or even necessarily what most would consider exciting. I do believe though, ti has to arouse a sense of excitement within you, along with a healthy does of fear and even apprehension. Daring would probably fit pretty well. It has to involve taking risks to some degree. You can’t push your own boundaries in the absence of risk, the two go hand in hand.
I would also define an adventure as a sustained pursuit, not a brief moment of excitement. I wouldn’t for instance, classify skydiving necessarily as an adventure. The act itself is too fleeting and outside of your own control. You don’t really do anything.. you’re strapped to an other person and pushed out of a plane. While that may provide a thrill, I don’t think it constitutes an act of expanding your own boundaries.. despite what you may think, there’s very little risk. Perhaps I just don’t really enjoy skydiving that much..
Nor would I classify trying a new dish or wandering through the streets of Berlin as an adventure. Now if you were to take a trip through India trying unique and regional culinary experiences Ala Anthony Bordain (note: read Kitchen Confidential if you get the chance), that, could make the cut. It’s a true experience; sucking the marrow out of life and throwing yourself wholeheartedly into a journey, with no safety net. Now THAT, is an adventure.
An adventure is also entirely relative/subjective. What constitutes an adventure for Mike Horn or Jimmy Chin, will likely be well beyond current scope of you or me (at least for now). While we may never circumnavigate the globe using nothing but human-power, that doesn’t mean we can’t experience adventure for ourselves. Backpacking through India for the first time is more of an adventure to me than hiking the well worn trails to some of the worlds most visited destinations and taking spectacular photos. Give me a blurred selfie at a rural Chinese opium den any day.
To go on an adventure is often thought as seeing/doing something new. I don’t necessarily agree. To me that’s an exploration and there is a difference between the two.
To adventure is not necessarily to explore, just an adventurer is not an explorer. The days of exploration here on Earth (on land at least) are practically over. Ranulph Fiennes credits himself with being the last true explorer and he is mostly correct. As satellite imaging and other mapping/imaging technology has been developed, the pursuit of the unknown is no longer possible. I’m truly saddened by that fact; nothing would excite me so much as traveling to new lands, completely oblivious to the landscape, the flora and the fauna you may encounter.
But so be it. There are still many adventures to be had. That is certainly a blessing. Plus there’s always Mars..
This quote sums up what I find in adventure;
“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.”
I go on adventures to find out what I’m capable of. To put myself in a place where I’m unsure what the outcome will be. To arouse that sense of excitement that only comes with a hint of fear and danger. At present, that entails mostly physical pursuits. I want to find my limits, and I’m nowhere near there yet. I will continue to push the boundaries until I find them, or perhaps go beyond them. That is what adventure means to me.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I asked a few member of the Blogging world what adventure meant to them. This is what they had to say..
John from Capable Men
“Does any creature on this Earth seek adventure like the human? Adventurers have an inherent desire to regularly seek the horizon’s of one’s own existence with a curious open mind. Adventure to me is an intrinsic choice to meet new challenges and explore new territory, simply to enhance one’s own experience with the short amount of time we have on this planet. Hostile mountains, glorious fjords, enchanting valleys and golden deserts all over the world have witnessed great tales of adversity, love and sorrow. Each adventure is truly unique and is a tale no man has ever witnessed before you. And only by crossing into the unknown will you discover what the elements have in store for you.”
Monika from Island Awakening (@islandawakening)
“Adventure means forgetting expectations and limits of the self. To feel so alive in joy and getting that thrill of seeing something new; usually in nature… Adventure is meeting new friends in the most unexpected places. Adventure is a time to be in the moment because I love it when my eyes widen to mesmerizing views or realizations. Adventure is so much more than a word but a feeling. It is making me smile right now on what awaits.”
Jake from Adventure Embassy
“For me, adventure is that intersection of challenge and reward. An adventure should stretch you, push you, and make you do something new. But it should reward your effort; whether with a new experience, a new skill, or just a sense of inner satisfaction. That’s why adventure is personal though; what challenges and rewards one person may be very different to what challenges and rewards another. The point is to keep seeking out those challenges and enjoying the pay-off.”
So to answer the question of what does adventure mean?
Well, that’s entirely up to you. Just make sure it pushes you, engages you and provides a greater connection to the world around you. Then you’ll truly be on an adventure..