What is Adventure?

Adventure

What springs to mind when you hear the word adventure? What is adventure?

My thoughts immediately turn to an image of a pale, slender gentleman, walking through an alien jungle with little protection from the sun other than his floppy hat. To ward off the ferocious animals he might encounter, he has a rifle and behind him, his team follow tentatively. Each member clutching a rifle as if their life depends upon it.

I think this is a warped merging of a song my dad used to sing about Dr Livingstone and a character from a movie. The hunter in Jumanji.

Next I think of mountains, vast forests, great oceans, and immense expanses of ice. Inhospitable environments. Unconquered by man.

Next come the names. Colombus, Cook, Raleigh, Scott, Magellan, Shackleton. I don’t even know what exactly all of these incredible people did.

Adventure, at first impression, strikes me as something unobtainable and so impressive that only a sacred few can hope to achieve it. Then I think again. What does adventure mean? What is an adventure? As a loose definition, an adventure is an exciting and unusual activity. Typically it involves some element of risk, but this is not an essential quality of an adventure. Thus, when applying this definition, anyone can have an adventure. All that you have to do is do something a little bit different. A little bit exciting.

Alastair Humpheries inspired me with his stories of cycling around the world. This is a wonderful adventure (and gigantic; it took four years). When I read his website, he talked of microadventures. He has had a series of microadventures involving swimming the Thames and walking the entire M25. Not the typical adventure one might say. But definitely an adventure. He has excited me.

You do not need to travel far to have an adventure. You can have a nanoadventure (even smaller than a microadventure) by simply doing something new and exciting in the place that you live at a time when you aren’t working. When living in Korea, I spent weekends hiking mountains. Living in France, I skied unexplored back slopes. In university, I used to walk and cycle without direction. These aren’t adventures that people will talk about and remember through history. But in my own little world, they were memorable, exciting, and new. I am happier for having done them, rather than sitting at home watching television and wasting time with activities that I will not remember. So try getting up and doing something new.

Here is my next picoadventure (even smaller than a nanoadventure). I am going to Istanbul and I am going to live there for a bit. I will stay with my family for Christmas and then I will go. When I am there, I will cycle the islands that lie midway between Asia and Europe, and I will attempt to brew my own wine.

Is that an amazing adventure? No. But I’ll enjoy it. You can have an adventure anywhere, anytime. All you have to do, is something different.

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