One of the most common ways to describe an expedition is “going into the wild,” which implies some amount of risk. But what happens when technology and society offer a more sustainable, safe way?
“i need an adventure in my life” is a phrase that many people use to describe their lives. However, not everyone has the time or money for an adventure and some people are just looking for something new.
Note from the editor: This is a guest article by Chris Hutcheson.
Get up. Get ready to go to work. Work. Return to your home. Dinner. Sleep. Repeat.
Get up. Get ready to go to work. Work. Return to your home. Dinner. Sleep. Repeat.
Get up. Get ready to go to work. Work. Head H…… it’s time to go. Is this the best there is?
What happened to savoring every moment? Where is the exciting adventure we fantasized about as children? Many of us have lost our youthful sense of adventure, and as true men, we should work hard to reclaim it. We discover ourselves in actual adventure, not just the cheap sensation of adrenaline. Adventure is one of the most important aspects of a complete existence that is often overlooked in today’s culture. Manliness is defined by having tremendous experiences and being able to tell stories about them. The issue is that, in this era of technological change, we have written off adventure and discovery as things of the past, no longer essential due to our newfound, ever-evolving powers. True exploration, in the sense of finding new things, is now mostly the domain of astronauts and deep sea divers, but adventure is open to anyone. What we must recognize is that for the typical man, it is not the discovery of new things that is significant, but rather the comprehension of ourselves, which we frequently get via tremendous adventure. For some insight into the underlying logic behind it, it would be wise to turn to an old pro in the art of adventure.
Sir Wilfred Thesiger (1910-2003), an English explorer most known for his experiences in Africa and the Middle East and for adopting the nomadic tribes with whom he sometimes resided, gained renowned as the first man to traverse the Rub’ al Khali, or “The Empty Quarter.” The Empty Quarter is one of the world’s biggest sand deserts, covering a substantial chunk of the Arabian Peninsula’s southern half. It covers 250,000 square miles of the most dangerous terrain on the planet, with sand dunes that reach heights of over 1000 feet and summer temperatures exceeding 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Thesiger set out to traverse this vast expanse, intending to draw a map of the area along the way. Between 1946 and 1949, he crossed the immense unknown of the Empty Quarter not once, but twice. He wrote the following about the first time he drank water without having to limit it upon his return:
“For years, the Empty Quarter had symbolized to me the desert’s last, impossible task… Others would be unconcerned with my travels. It would just generate an erroneous map that no one would ever use. It had been a one-of-a-kind event, with the prize being a glass of clear, practically tasteless water. That was enough for me.”
For Thesiger, and many other explorers before and after him, the reward was the journey itself, and the experience acquired from it was more valuable than any memorial. Later, he would write:
“Exploration was a personal endeavor for me.” I didn’t travel to the Arabian Desert to gather flora or draw a map; both of these things happened by chance. I felt deep down that writing or even talking about my trips would taint the accomplishment. I went there to find tranquility in the arduousness of desert journey and the companionship of desert peoples… It is the trip, not the destination, that counts, and the more difficult the path, the more rewarding the journey.”
Adventure, Thesiger understood, brought more benefits for a man than most other things in life. Not in a monetary sense, but in the great joy of putting your eyes on something and achieving it.
Clearly, adventure isn’t what it once was. Everest has been climbed more times than you can count, a motorway is being built across the Sahara, and you can see the Amazon’s secrets through satellite directly from your laptop. Does this, however, imply that exploring is a lost art? Hardly. The hunger for adventure, as seen by the testimony of a great explorer like Thesiger, is not fueled by a desire to map out new countries or find new species; these are secondary goals. Our desire for adventure is a natural part of who we are. It is our innate urge to learn more by direct experience, to push the boundaries of our own strength and endurance, and to uncover our own self in the process.
It is not simple to make the decision to live an exciting lifestyle. When you’ve been doing the same thing for years, it’s tough to break away from the monotony of everyday life. You may easily build a list of reasons why you shouldn’t go on that weekend whitewater rafting adventure, fly to a strange nation, or schedule your first SCUBA session. I’m unable to leave work, I shouldn’t spend the money, who will look after the children, and so on. The only way to disrupt the habit is to just do it. Remember George Mallory’s comments, who is famous for attempting the first climb of Everest:
“All we get out of this trip is pure delight.” After all, pleasure is the ultimate goal of life. We don’t exist only to eat and earn money. To survive, we must eat and earn money. That is what life is about and what it implies.”
Perhaps it is time for males to rediscover the sense of adventure that motivated people before us to traverse seas and enormous swaths of uncharted territory with no guarantee of survival. We must reintroduce danger into our lives. If we are to fully embrace the adventurous life, we must summon the courage to seize our own existence and push it to the brink of possibility, knowing well well that the future contains no guarantees of safety, success, or happiness, and that a complete life is not given, but seized.
- Find the closest whitewater and join a rafting adventure. For a full day of river action, most rafting tours are relatively affordable.
- Off the main path, visit the closest national park. You never know what type of experience you’ll find, such as discovering a secret cave or waterfall, since it’s usually free or near to it.
- Skydive. It’s likely that it’s already on your to-do list.
- SCUBA diving is a kind of scuba diving. Although the equipment is not inexpensive, renting is always a possibility, and certification is often for life.
- Take a road trip and wait until you’re far away from home to settle on your destination. Just bring a little piece of everything with you and see where the road leads you.
- Ascend a mountain. An adventure does not have to be as difficult as climbing Everest. Few things compare to the sense of achievement you receive when you gaze down from the summit on the world below.
- Find a nearby ranch that offers trail rides and leases horses. This is something that many horse ranches provide as an additional source of revenue, and it can be very pleasurable. Because trail rides are normally led, beginner riders don’t have to worry about losing control if Mr. Ed decides he’s had enough of hauling them about.
- Become a surfer. Many beaches provide low-cost board rentals. Start small and think about taking some classes. On your first day out, or perhaps your first year out, you certainly don’t want to go to Hawaii’s North Shore alone.
- Go on a camping trip. It’s a lovely feeling to make a fire out of wood you’ve gathered and then cook a meal over it.
- Hang-glide. There’s no need to worry about the trade winds transporting you to Timbuktu since the first few flights are with an instructor.
- Consider taking up mountain biking. After deducting the one-time cost of the bike and other required equipment, this is virtually a no-cost excursion that can be done at any time. Several state and national parks provide mountain bike-only paths of different degrees of difficulty.
- Snowboarding is a skill that can be learned. The equipment may be rented, similar to surfing. There are trees in the path, so it’s not like surfing.
- Immerse yourself in a different country’s culture. This is something that everyone should think about. You never know how much perspective you acquire by stepping outside of your comfort zone in a foreign nation until you have had the opportunity to do so.
- Bike throughout the United States. What better way to tour the United States of America than on your faithful horse, cruising the country’s highways and back roads?
- Make a career change. To have an adventure, you don’t have to climb a mountain. Quit your work and pursue the profession you’ve always wanted. If you need to, return to school. Become a commercial fisherman in Alaska, or take a break this summer to learn to combat forest fires.
Listen to our interview with adventurer Laval St. Germain on our podcast:
Seeking adventure in your life is one of the best ways to live a fulfilling life. It’s important to find what you enjoy and pursue it with vigor. Reference: how to seek adventure.
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