Why is adventure so important?

One thing adventure allows us to do is turn off the noise and really listen.

I feel more alive on adventures. Why? Well, maybe it’s because the minutiae of the everyday fades into the background for a moment and I can focus on one thing. If the adventure is a physical one like climbing a rock face, I am singularly focused on my next hold and nothing else. If it’s a traveling adventure, I am away from home and all of the everyday responsibilities. Maybe I feel more alive because I have more time just to be when I’m not managing my life and that of my family.

I get back in touch with myself. I’m not sure how or why this happens. Is it that we return to our child-self? Are we more like we were then because that’s how we used to go through the world – less encumbered by the emotional labour adults are engaged in? As a child, I remember asking my mother from the back seat of our car one day what she was thinking about. She said she was thinking about what to make for dinner. I thought to myself, “Adults think about such boring stuff!” I was right. Maybe when that falls away on a trip or even just the quiet of a morning swim, the more interesting thoughts have a chance to rise to the surface.

Perhaps adventure can be a form of active meditation we use to quiet the nose and listen to what’s important.

What do you get out of adventure in your life?

The work in blossoming

It sounds so inevitable. For flowers, and for some rare people, perhaps it is. For me, and I suspect the vast majority, staying in the bud is what’s inevitable. The bud is so much safer than the peril of blossoming – being exposed takes so much work.

I see plenty of people around me who will never leave the bud. One of colleagues is turning 60 next month. He is a lovely, gentle man with a wry sense of humor. Over the past two years I’ve shared an office with him. I’ve come to understand what he loves. He loves rare wines, good food, music and detective novels. He has a deep attachment to Italy where his father was born. But all of these things only make fleeting appearances in his life, they are not what his life is about. He’s not living in Italy on a vineyard where he longs to be. He is lives in Melbourne, working in a public servant job he is increasingly annoyed by during the day buying an occasional bottle of rare wine he’ll drink a glass of on the weekend. He is living a small version of his life. It’s like he is sitting on a bus looking longingly out the window at the person he knows he should be – as the bus drives away.

My colleague inspires me. I look at him and know that if I don’t take the risks I need to the live the life I want to, I’ll be deeply sad, trapped in a small life. It becomes crystal clear that the risk to remain tight in the bud is more painful than the risk it takes to blossom.

Pulse check on your spirit of adventure

As you head into this weekend, think about where you really are in your life. Not all the boxes you’ve ticked, but where you truly are. This poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer might get your thoughts going in the right direction.

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

How to navigate the low adventure days

Today was a low adventure day. Woke up and felt I had my head in the clouds. Went to my normal office job, which is ho hum.

How do we navigate the low adventure days? Today, I just got through, but what I should have done, is taken maybe 20 minutes to find some time to write in my journal and remind myself about all the adventures that are out there waiting for me – to keep it current in my mind and keep my energy heading in that direction.

Today was more about buckling down, getting the day job done and then coming home to the side hustle. Yes, the side hustle; my get away car. I am putting all of my spare moments into creating a business that I will use to free myself and my family of the geographical and time restrictions we currently have. It’s not that I don’t want to work hard. I quite like it if it is something I enjoy. I just want to be able to do it on my own terms.

So today’s adventure was an internal one – mustering the energy and the determination to stick with getting the side hustle off the ground. At the moment I’ve hit a low point. I’m frustrated and feel like I’ll never get there. But this is where the adventurous spirit comes in. Adventure isn’t just about thrill seeking and joy riding. There is a good measure of perseverance in every adventure. Right now I’m focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, like the time I climbed Cotopaxi and felt the effects of altitude like led in my legs. I got there in the end, but that’s a story for another time…