I thought I knew what adventure is. I didn’t have a clue.
What is adventure? Adventure is a temperature change in the furnace of the heart.
Adventure is a tremor when you look up at your fear.
It’s the cold floor beneath a child’s feet when they leave their bed at night. It’s the scrape when you climb your first rock, the dingy apartment when you go back to school.
Adventure is an orientation, not an act.
It’s wanting what you don’t want, it’s eyes wide shut, it’s trembling and stumbling forward although you’d rather leave.
There is a Spirit, its name is Adventure.
This spirit grips the heart. You feel it there during, or just after, certain difficult experiences. Like a Vodou saint it rides you, its presence is undeniable. You find yourself shaking and you wonder what you did.
There’s no way I just did that!
How is this spirit called? What draws it into being? I don’t know, I’m just an adventurer. There’s no prescription for adventure. More like a recipe book, a wizard’s secret tome. The secret isn’t in the pages, the secret comes from trial.
The more I study adventure the more I see that I can never describe it.
Here is what I’ve learned.
- Your adventures count. They matter. The adventures you’ve had are yours forever.
- The value of adventure is post-active. Adventures are frightening in the moment, but they become your most treasured experiences looking back.
- If you make a willful choice to challenge your boundaries—whatever those boundaries are—you are likely to have an adventure.
- Adventure never happens without risk. What counts as risk? It depends on you.
- Adventure will overwhelm you. When it hits you will be scared, you will shake, you will want to run back. This is part of what you need.
- Your adventures may be different from mine. It’s okay. Adventure on, my friends.
When you have one adventure you will have more. Adventures are part of a larger narrative we put on our lives. They push us toward bigger adventures. A seemingly small adventure can be momentous. Or the first step in a greater unknown.
I thought I knew what adventure is. I didn’t have a clue. I looked at my adventures, and I identified “adventure.” But Adventure is much more than the six or ten things I’ve done, more than the things any scared human does. It’s that greater human drive to explore, challenge and, yes, even walk with fear.