What does adventure have to do with any of it?


Suddenly everyone’s talking about adventure. The word is no longer reserved for grueling treks across forbidding landscapes. Today, adventure is used to refer to anything from starting a business, changing jobs, self-publishing a book or taking up yoga!

My guess is that we’re all feeling stuck. On the one hand, we live comfortable lives, most of us not having to worry where our next meal will come from. On the other hand, we’re feeling painted into a corner by the constant quest to do more, and do it more efficiently, with precious little time left over for things that might give our lives some semblance of meaning. On the third hand —if we had a third hand, and boy, do we need one!— we’re distracted by our to-do lists, social media accounts, email and on-demand entertainment, which seem to exhaust any spare time we do have.

The idea of adventure is like a tempting RESET button, a trigger to set you off on a new direction where you can find your headspace and hear your own voice again.

But what exactly is adventure? And is it always good for you? What if you're not an adventurous type?

I suppose not everyone has room for adventure, and some people find their inner voice and headspace through some other means —yoga, perhaps. If you're one of them, it could be that what I have to say isn't for you. But it just might be the exact thing you need to get you out of whatever rut you’re in.

When the idea of small adventures first blipped across my radar screen, it created one of those aha! moments. And when I actually started going on local adventures, I didn't want to stop. I wanted a life that would allow for more such adventures, indeed -- a life that was lived like an adventure.

Here’s my take on adventures:

Don’t take adventure as a metaphor or a state of mind, take it literally. Actually get out of your routine and do something daring. Small adventures, anywhere from a few hours to an overnight, call on you to do something unexpected, unconventional, different and challenging or downright difficult. But —unlike epic adventures — they don’t require you to check out of your regular life for long periods of time.

A weekly (or twice, or three times a month) adventure will:

  1. Give you a break. A small vacation during the workweek, a break in the routine, a time to catch your breath and catch your thoughts.

  2. Get you out of the box. You're doing something different, and it makes you ask what else could you be doing differently.

  3. Get you thinking. With your to-do list entirely out of reach, you can let your thoughts wander to places they normally don't have time to go.

  4. Get you focused. No multitasking when you're hauling your ass up a hill, paddling around fallen branches or biking down a winding singletrack.

  5. Get you quiet. In the silence, you find your way.

  6. Give you balls. You tried this, you survived. What else can you try that won't kill you?