I've been thinking about Adventure quite a bit lately (as you see in my blog a couple weeks ago - you can read it here), probably because I'm going on a travel Adventure (my favorite kind) in a couple of weeks. I'm going back to Sweden for a visit. This type of adventure contains all the elements that I think are necessary for the Adventure equation. Of course the beautiful thing about Adventure is that we all have different lists of what feels adventurous to us. Let's take a little peek into the concept and see what we find...
It's fun to hear from different people what they think is adventurous. For some, it's all about testing their bodies - runs, hikes, bike rides, surfing, etc. Or it can be about traveling to exotic places or maybe doing (crazy, at least in my mind) things like sky diving or bungee jumping. No matter what kind of Adventure you choose and whether it is big or small, it's really the Spirit that accompanies the concept that we can learn a lot from. So, take a moment and think back to the last good adventure you had. Maybe it was earlier today, last week or last year. What about that adventure made it so good, would you say? What are some of the elements that were present that made it really feel like an adventure?
In general, one of the most fundamental things about Adventure, is that it brings an element of excitement with it. Whether it's something dare-devil like or perhaps an everyday unknown for us, it still feels exciting. There's that feeling of new-ness and/or possibility. What will happen if I do this?, you might think. There might be uncertainty, which can feel scary AND exciting at the same time. And there can also be an air of playfulness around it--that feeling of play that we sometimes forget about in our daily lives.
One part of the spirit of big adventures is the feeling of testing our limits. It could be argued that the more you are testing your limits, the more adventurous it feels. I remember when I went to Sweden in 2002. I'd lived there before, but never on my own. I decided I wanted to try that and to try teaching Business English (also a new thing for me). I had a temporary place to live (for a couple weeks) and I had some ideas for work, but nothing concrete or stable at all. So I went off - figuring it would all work out & if it didn't, then I'd just go back home to California.
For some people, going off to another country with 2 suitcases is very brave. For me, mostly it just felt adventurous. It did bring up the feeling of testing my limits in some ways. In this case, it was the limits of living with the unknown - having a general idea of the work I wanted and just knowing that things would fall into place in terms of somewhere to live and a job that I liked. It did work out. And there were plenty of smaller adventures along the way. For me, this period of my life was full of the adventure spirit - excitement, new-ness, exploration, learning & growth.
So, now over to you...what are some of your favorite types of adventures? Is it time for a new big adventure in your life? Perhaps you'd like to start a list of some of the adventures you'd like to experience at some point in your life. Go ahead...start that list right now.
I must admit that I've had a recurring pattern of shaking my life up in big ways when it comes to moving around. That's another part of adventure - it stirs the pot and gets us to experience new things or doing an old thing in a new way. And this is something that you can do in very small ways to add a bit of adventure into your life on a more regular basis. Maybe this means just taking a trip into a neighboring city for absolutely no reason but to see what interesting thing you might find. Maybe it's trying a food that is something you would usually never eat. Or perhaps it's learning something new - taking a class that feels like a stretch for you.
Adventure is also a perfect way to bring a little life to an old routine as well. Now, don't get me wrong....I'm a big fan of those trusty routines. But we all know that sometimes the routines can feel stagnant and perhaps even a little stale. Looking for ways to shake things up a little in small, even playful, ways can be the perfect way to bring in new energy to those every day habits. Again, now it's your turn. Can you see that certain routines or part of your life might benefit from a little change? How might you shift things just a bit and bring in that adventurous spirit to this area of your life?
The last part of adventure that I wanted to introduce here is that it can not only help us stretch ourselves in terms of the things we do, but also in terms of who we think we are. Sometimes, it's not just routines that become stagnant, but our definitions of ourselves can also stay the same. The thing is, we are always changing and evolving. And tapping into adventure, can help us see that very concretely. I remember years and years ago, I had decided I wasn't a runner. I also decided at one point that I wasn't very creative. I had lots of definitions for myself that put limits on the things I did and the person I was.
When I began to tap into adventure a bit more, things loosened up a lot. I could see these little projects, the new routines for what they were. They were just small adventures in my life - me trying new things, testing the limits, stirring the pot - and with this attitude, came a whole new freedom. When I finally started running not because I was a runner, but because I just wanted to try something new, I did it in a way that brought me joy and a feeling of satisfaction to my body. When I do something creative not because I'm creative but because it feels like a playful adventure, it fills me up and brings in a sense of freedom and excitement. These 'adventures' help me define and constantly re-define who I am.
So, I hope this little look into adventure has inspired you to explore the concept for yourself. What does it feel like? Where is it lacking in your life? Are you in need of a big adventure or some small ones or both? What could you do today to bring in a little adventurous energy into your life? Whatever YOUR answers are to these questions, I invite you to experiment with adventure this month and see what gems you find!