When I stayed in Saint Paul I put up a Craigslist ad offering my skills as a professional adventurer.
I didn’t do this for money, just to get answers. The word “adventurer” is really tilted by games, movies and… well, mostly games.
What would real people ask a real adventurer to do?
At first the results were underwhelming: crickets, then spam.
But eventually I did get one (apparently serious) response. It went like this:
If you are truly looking for an adventure and if you claim to teach people “martial arts,” then come meet me in a park west of downtown Minneapolis and fight me. If you win, I will let you stay with me and feed you for a week. If I win I just get the pleasure of beating up a “martial arts instructor.” I’m a big guy and a veteran Marine so you probably won’t do this. No rules, just wear pants and MMA gloves if you want, I won’t need them. Anything goes, we fight until someone taps out or gets knocked out.
TM was referring to a line in my original ad. Mostly I left the meaning of adventurer ambiguous, but I added: “I’m also happy to tutor individuals or groups in skills such as outdoor survival, martial arts, and travel.” I thought that was a pretty uncontroversial line.
Unfortunately, I had also specified in my ad that the offer was for “one week only.” By the time TM decided to send me this challenge, I was already back on the road and moving south. As much as I love angry Marines, I don’t bike 100+ miles to see them.
But I didn’t leave him hanging.
What’s the right response to a challenge like this? Any decent martial artist would politely turn it down, and not out of fear: the whole idea is just creepy. Two men fighting (with no rules!) in a public park where children play is neither legal nor advisable.
For a priest, the challenge is an eminently human moment of contact with a man in great pain. I responded honestly:
I have to admit the offer intrigues me. Unfortunately, as stated in the ad, I was only in the Cities one week…
If I wasn’t moving on, I would make you a counter proposal. The counter proposal would be that we should first spend a night talking over food and drinks and then, if you still want to fight, we could fight the next day. I would be interested to see how a veteran Marine fights. And I’d be even more interested in just talking with the guy who has the guts to make an offer like this.
Maybe we’ll get a chance some day.
I believe this honors the spirit of adventure: a sincere interest in his challenge, and a deeper interest in getting to know him and making friends with the bold-hearted.
TM has not replied further.
Was this a good response? Was it the right response for a professional adventurer?