In light of recent emails I’ve received, I’ve felt it appropriate to share this blog post with you all in hopes to continue to inspire you. Enjoy!
Recently I was in the grocery store and overheard a woman directing her 10-or-so year old son to the breakfast isle to pick his favorite cereal. “An adventure!” he declared with a fist aimed toward the sky as he took of around the next corner. “Really?” I wanted to say. “You should get out more kid.” But then I thought, “Who am I to define what an adventure means to this kid.” I ditched my groceries and pulled into a coffee shop and wrote the following:
“What is that itch inside of us that longs for adventure? And what is it about adventure that makes us feel so…alive? Is it the excitement? The challenge? The unknown? I guess the real question we need to ask ourselves is, what does adventure mean to me?”
My goal in this post is to not define adventure for you, but to cause you to think about what adventure means in your own life. These are just thought on paper. Questions I’ve been asking myself lately. Questions like: What characteristics need to be present for a truly defined adventure? Does adventure mean taking a trip? Does it have to be fun and exciting? Does it have to be risky, dangerous, lawful? Is an adventure exclusive to traveling somewhere, and if so, does it have to be to a place that is new or unfamiliar? Must a true adventure challenge you or can it be easy? It’s true, a truly great adventure seems to have most of these great qualities, but do these qualities define what it means to have an adventure?
I have a few thoughts.
What Adventure is NOT:
Adventure has nothing to do with fun or excitement:
Sure, some adventures can be a ton of fun and super exciting, but I would argue that a true adventure is not depended on whether or not there is a smile on your face or if there is a release of endorphins to your brain. Last year, I made the choice to live out of my car instead of dealing with the financial obligations of paying rent. I remember the moment when I finished packing my car and sat in the drivers seat and closed the door for the first time, to begin this little “Adventure” of mine. As I sat there, in the seat of my Toyota Prius, still, I remember feeling a variety of emotions and sensations. Of course there was a large part of me that got excited because I knew I was going to at least have a little fun. But even if I didn’t, that is not what my trip was about. For me, it was something much more. Fun and excitement were just possible bi-products of a much greater goal.
An adventure does NOT have to be a new experience:
Contrary to popular belief, an adventure does not have to be something new. Yes, I will agree newness is great. Newness is exciting. But newness is not synonymous with excitement number one, and number two, and perhaps most importantly, newness wears off. Like any new car or new toy, or game or thing or place, the excitement associated with the “new” dissipates over time and most often the thing that once occupied the majority of our time, thoughts, energy and temporary affection is forgotten and replaced in time with something else. This, sadly, is the culture we live in. We are always wanting more and more. We want the next biggest and best thing. We become bored and the desire for more stimulus is only deepened with each passing “new” thing we aquire or place we visit. Case in point, newness does not define an adventure. You do! Regardless if you are experiencing something for the first time or for the thirteenth, it is your choice what and how you do and choose to spend your time. Not every experience is the same every single time. Tell that to your second kid! Much has to do with who you choose to adventure with.
Adventure is not about the Travel:
We like to think adventure is synonymous with travel also. Why? Because social media platforms like Instagram do a really good job of convincing us that traveling across the world, climbing a big mountain, experiencing some remote place is where the real adventure lies. That may be true, but one thing is certain, travel itself is not a requirement for adventure. I was having a conversation this week with some friends of mine who recently got married and are strongly considering trying for a baby. For anyone familiar with having a baby, they know that this experience and process is nothing less of an big and risky undertaking. An adventure of a lifetime one could say. But travel? Traveling back and forth to the hospital maybe.
What Adventure IS!
Adventure may not be defined by travel, but it is defined by the Journey!
First and foremost I think an adventure needs to be a journey. But not necessarily a physically one. You don’t in fact need to travel anywhere to be on a journey. Journeys can be emotional, spiritual, intellectual, personal. If I have learned anything in my 27 years on this earth it is this: Where I go, ultimately means nothing in my story. It’s the people I meet along the way. And I don’t think I need to state the obvious, but I will. You don’t have to cross state lines to meet new people. The truth is, people travel for lots of reasons. We travel to expose ourselves to the experiences of new places, new perspectives, and new world views. Some do it just to escape. But for those of you who feel you have to get out to experience this, or I guess more importantly, for those of you who feel they are missing something because they are not out gallivanting the globe, don’t worry! The meaningful life and adventure your heart seems to longs for, can be attained right where you are. And It doesn’t have to be right NOW. Listen, by all means I want you to travel, I want you to experience new places and people. I want you to learn about life outside your town or city or country. But what I don’t want is you to feel that if you don’t travel, or don’t have the means to travel right now, you are missing something that is required to feed and sooth your soul. As I mentioned in a previous post. Travel will not help you find yourself, all it will do is help you realize who you were back home.
A real adventure involves at least a small level of risk.
This, I think is the kicker. Good stories and a good adventures involve risk. A leap of faith. Or at least a step into the unknown and unfamiliar. The unknown is inherent IN the risk. It’s why it’s considered a risk, because you don’t know the outcome. This can be scary because all of us to some extent fear failing. Failing and falling are apart of life and something we need to experience at some point in order to move forward. Its how we learn, its how we grow, it’s how we toughen-up when life throws us a curvball. And when that same curveball hits us in the kneecaps and sends us to the ground. I like the way Thomas Edison says it. “I didn’t fail, I just came up with 1,000 ways to do it wrong.” I like that. But I also know that sometimes we fall and it hurts. I’ve never known a kid learning to ride a bike to not fall at least once. You are going to fall! It’s bound to happen. But that can’t stop you from setting your eyes on whatever it is you want to do in life, and be willing to suck it up, brush off your bruised knees, and try again! Don’t be afraid of risk. Big risks equal big rewards. Adventure thrives on risk, like oxygen to a fire. Go for it!
A true Adventure needs Challenge.
I want you to think about every good story you have ever read or watched. What does it have in common with all other great stories? I’ll tell you. It has a character who wants something and has to overcome a challenge to get what he wants! Think about it, every good movie or book has this very important element. If life is a story and you are a character, the question you must ask yourself is, “What do you want?” And better question: “What are you willing to do to get it?” I think every good adventure needs to challenge you in some way. Very much like risk, It’s how we grow, its how you learn, and it’s all apart of your journey. Challenges in our lives need to be embraced not pushed away. But you know what I love about challenges? They can be fun! That is with the right state of mind. What if you started thinking about the challenges in your life not as stumbling blocks, but stepping stones to where you want to be! Let that sink in. Read it again.
It’s all about how you look at it. When I made the choice to live out of my car, it was paramount I viewed my setbacks with that stepping stone perspective, or else I’m not sure I would have ever made it. Truth: Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment after completing something big, especially after setbacks. The excitement, the rush, remembering the struggle, the strategy, the new found confidence! Wait, was I just describing an adventure? See what I mean?
So now I ask you this: What’s your current adventure? What story are you telling? What challenges are you currently going through? Whatever it is, I encourage you to Find it. Embrace it. And call it what it is – an Adventure. And scream it outloud with your first held high like the boy in the grocery store, unashamed! Whether that is moving to a new place, starting a new job, getting married, having a kid, roadtripping across the country, buying a home, starting college, building a garden, volunteering with a new organization, trying a new church, or whatever it may be. I want you to think of your life as a whole, as one big adventure, not a bunch of individual ones comprising of a life. And remember, not every moment in that adventure needs to be a mountaintop experience. What you do along the way, no matter what it is or how you go about it, rest assured it is part of your individual unique story and journey that makes you, you! Live the life you dream and don’t live with regrets and don’t be afraid to fail!
Go for it. I believe in you!
Happy Adventure yall!