How Do You Define Adventure & What Does it Feel Like?

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“What do you like to do on holiday?” When asked the question for a to a trip to Trinidad & Tobago, I instantly imagined myself + good book + beach. Then I said, “Anything,” because it was also true – and sounded a lot better.

Does this mean that wandering through English literature is any less awesome than swimming up a remote jungle gorge? Or that it’s not truly bad-ass/brave (insert dramatic adjective here) if a helmet and possible death aren’t involved?

Who says exploration can’t take place in a thousand different ways, and that we can like all – or only 100 – of them? No one else can decide our limitations, or the extremes we’re capable of reaching.

So, what is Adventure?

Sometimes, we use adventures to defy our age. Parasailing in New Zealand.

As always, I asked my friends for wisdom. They (and a few other famous explorers) tackled this big A-word with the same spirit they’d tackle a 134 meter bungy jump…

How do we define it?

adventure rappelling Trinidad

The phrase “outside my comfort zone” comes up almost universally. Samantha says this brings a feeling of freedom. For George Elliot, the unfamiliar physical activity is merely an action – the real adventure is within us.

To embrace new-ness requires a change in something: scene, attitude, companions or mood. That’s why Caitlin recognizes marriage and parenthood as perfect examples of this. It’s “…never knowing how you will be tested.”

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

adventure travel parenthood camping

It can be an adventure sharing favorite experiences with new people. Camping at Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.

How do we describe it?

adventure culture Myanmar

Adventure can be J.K. Rowling’s “flighty temptress,” or the “uncomfortable things” that make Tolkien’s Hobbit late for dinner. Kelly describes it as butterflies in her stomach; butterflies that Jess says start the moment you start thinking about what lies ahead.

Her husband, Micah, likens it to a perfect photograph you see and then strive to recreate – with yourself in it.

“Adventure is synonymous with exploring!” April exclaims. To Bear Grylls, it’s the bonds we create with other people.

Maybe that’s a wedding, a new job in a foreign country, running a marathon; as Bruce points out, it’s anything we’ve never previously considered doing before, and do for no one but ourselves.

“Adventures do occur, but not punctually.” – E.M. Forster

Adventure isn’t just about high places and fast movement. Hiking near Wineglass Bay, Tasmania.

adventure travel hiking Tasmania

Adventure isn’t just about high places and fast movement. Hiking near Wineglass Bay, Tasmania.

How do we handle it?

adventure travel bungy jumping New Zealand

It’s always easier to talk about something than to act on it. So what happens when we feel those fluttery wings in our belly, or notice a challenge staring us down? What can we do to make sure Adventure remains a capital-A friend for life?

If you’re a Star Trek crew member like Leonard Nimoy, you “let the chips fall where they may.” If ‘yes’ is a key word, like it is for Courtney, you walk out the door with an open mind for anything that lies ahead.

“Adventure is going out and finding views and experiences and people you may only ever read about,” declares Trevor. And he doesn’t just mean off-the-beaten-path, but backyard style, too.

No matter how you embrace an unfamiliar opportunity, just be sure to let it shape you. Or as Judy says, “…become a better version of you.”

So, you see, they’re always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back. – Norman Rockwell

adventure travel beach jump Tonga

Adventure is a week without electricity or running water, but plenty of coconuts, on Uoleva island, Tonga

What does adventure look and feel like to you?


Rappelling photo courtesy of Courtenay Rooks, Paria Springs Tours, Trinidad. 

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