Finding Adventure in the Everyday
Since challenge and difficulty, the two necessary characteristics of an adventure, are relative terms, adventure will look different for each individual. However, its effects are often similar.
Adventures motivate, inspire, create new perspective, and bring about personal growth.
So to understand what adventure means to each of us individually, we can reflect on times we’ve felt these effects then reverse engineer the experiences that caused them.
We can ask...
Where is my comfort zone?
How do I normally operate in my everyday life?
What has recently challenged my preconceptions? How can I stretch, push, and test my own boundaries?
Finding answers to these questions is like searching for a knot in a muscle. We feel around, attentively and cautiously to better understand our problem. Then we apply focused and firm pressure through the pursuit of new experiences that release our restlessness and tension.
Take social anxiety for example, a common challenge that requires significant attention to overcome. Questioning ourselves, we may be able to see that our anxiety is based on our discomfort with others or our assumption that they won’t treat us well. With this knowledge, we can push ourselves. Perhaps we find a safe space where we can have structured interaction, in which simple rules guide and facilitate conversation. This could be a community pottery class or a book club where we can unite around a shared interest. Through these interactions we push ourselves to forge new friendships and better understand the range of personalities in the world, slowly increasing our social comfort.
This process of challenge and growth is an adventure. We simply must feel able and willing to find for ourselves. For a perpetual city-dweller, backpacking in the mountains may have a similar effect. We may feel challenged by a fear of the unknown, motivated to experience the natural world, inspired by a desire to connect with the environment, and improved as we learn new outdoor skills and knowledge. Conversely, for someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, it may be more of an adventure to visit a crowded city.
The underlying point is that these very different experiences can have the same effect, depending on where we, as individuals, start. We’ll readily find adventure if we remember that it’s this effect that we’re looking for, rather than any one specific activity or experience.