WHY ADVENTURES MATTERS + A GIVEAWAY
I’ve had adventure on the brain for a while now. Someone made a comment to me a while back about how adventurous I was and in between the lines, her sentiment echoed louder than her words: I could never be like you.
I think I physically cringed. Not because it was an insult, but because I never want people to see me as a measuring stick for their life, their story. Plenty of people know me well enough to realize I’m more of a puddle than a measuring stick most of the time anyway.
Nonetheless, it’s been on my heart ever since. Why do we measure our sense of adventure against another’s instead of simply stepping into–and embracing–the adventure that’s right in front of us?
I was struck by this same thought again as I happened to scroll through the reviews of Love Does (a book I absolutely loved) on Goodreads. The book is full of, as Bob Goff calls them, ‘whimsical’ acts that pull from a place of love. From getting fired, to being ejected from his Jeep to meeting various heads of State around the world, these whimsical stories speak of a man who steps into the adventure that’s before him without being held up on the limitations they present. Reading his hilarious tales sparked a reminder in me that adventure is happening, it’s just waiting for us to participate, to call it adventure and then live it out.
But as I read through the reviews, one commenter noted, “The sub-title is ‘Discover a secretly incredible life in an ordinary world.’ Apparently the words ‘if you have lots of money and time’ were left off.”
At first I was irked at the guy. I loved this book–what’s wrong with you for being so short-sided?! But I suppose we’re allowed our opinions (sigh). As I thought about it more though, it sunk in: we look at others’ grand adventures–or any adventures–and before we jump into the story, we glance over at our perceived limitations and then. we. linger. We bite our nails. We think about the risks and we nibble on our thumb. We look at others living “an incredible life” and we confess to ourselves that we’ll just never be like them. We’re not like them. We don’t have enough time, enough money, enough… spirit.
Hold up. Cue the record scratch. It’s time to stop playing that track.
Can I get an ‘amen’? Oh, a Glory Hallelujah? I’ll take that too.
But seriously, adventure is not simply traveling to exotic locales or taking on daring physical feats. Sometimes it looks a lot more ordinary: like signing up for that event, inviting a neighbor you barely know out to lunch, or heaven-forbid, finally giving eggplant a chance.
While tucked in bed with a fever for the last few days, I finally had time to dig into Chris Gillebeau’s latest #1 Bestseller, The Happiness of Pursuit. I actually had been fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the book (cool, right?), but it got a bit waylaid and only reached my doorstep around the same time the book was released to the public. (Whoops.)
Anyway, he chronicles the stories of people around the world who embarked on a quest of some shape or form. Some were grand: to be the youngest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe. Some were personal: to finish off the bucket list of a wife who’d passed away. And other’s were a test of personal skills: to knit 10,000 hats and finish the MIT computer science curriculum in a single year. All of these stories were epic in their own ways. And yet all of them were simple: each person chose to see the adventure in front of them, whether they were doing it in their favorite armchair or their favorite running shoes or their favorite sailboat. Instead of saying, I don’t have enough time, money, energy (yada yada yada), they chose to step into the story and live the adventure. All of them figured out a way to make it happen. Some had to renege part way through and change plans. Others succeeded in unexpected ways. But they all stepped into the adventure. (My favorite story was actually of a lady who decided to cook a meal from every country around the world. Now that’s adventurous.)
SO WHY DOES THIS ALL MATTER ANYWAY?
- Because adventure opens our eyes to the people and the world around us. Even if you don’t leave your county, it doesn’t mean you can’t go explore. Get to know your heritage, join a new group, volunteer in an area you’re unfamiliar with. But be open to what you don’t know.
- Because you’ll always wonder what could have been. We’ve all heard the tales of death-bed regrets. Don’t let yours be that you didn’t take the opportunities that were in front of you. (Besides, sometimes, it’s the creativity involved to reach the goal that’s more fun than the goal itself anyway!)
- Because we all need to step out of our comfort zone. Honestly, at the heart of it, that’s what adventure is: taking a risk and stepping out. You might be stepping up your neighbors porch or into a battered women’s shelter or across the Saharan dessert, but whatever it looks like, take that first step out. Velcro on those tennies and go.
- Because we learn about who we are when we live adventurously. There’s nothing like a new environment, a new circumstance or a new encounter to understand who we are. And hey, if we handled the last adventure…badly…it’s a great starting point for entering the next one.
- Because life is simply more fun when you step into the adventure. The way I see it, life rolls on with all sorts of twists and turns. You can either see the fiascos (like getting stuck in a parking lot) as an adventure or as a long list of woes and predicaments. I’ll choose adventure.
So, here’s my challenge to you (even the self-proclaimed adventurous ones): stop looking at the limitations and to step into the adventure that’s in front of you, whatever it may be. It doesn’t have to be epic–or it totally can be–but make space for it. Look for it. Embrace it. Take a different route to work or try a new flavor at Baskin Robbin’s this weekend. Say ‘yes’ to that thing you’ve been on the fence about. Or better yet, say ‘no’. Be brave.
By the way, I had decided a while back to bite the bullet and enlist in the Nester’s 31 Day challenge this year; for the entire month of October, I’m committing to writing every day on one topic. [Gulp] Since it seems I have so much to say about this topic, I decided to write about, you guessed it, adventure.
Now, I had big plans to scratch out all of my topics in advance, plan a few posts ahead. And then I embarked on the…adventure of contracting some horrendous Mexican stomach virus and I really could have cared less about plans. So I’m tying the giveaway below in with a favor: I need some input from you on the next 31 Days and would love to hear about your favorite adventures; your hold-ups, fears and hesitations around adventure; or your favorite tips for living an adventure-filled life.
Ok, now for the GIVEAWAY (I know, you stuck around this long!). So along with that advance copy of The Happiness of Pursuit, I was also given an additional copy to share with you! Horray! It’s a great read. Details on how to win a copy for yourself are below.