“Let’s go on an adventure!”
“I need a bit of adventure in my life”
“You should be more adventurous”
You’ve probably used these phrases or heard them from others. They might conjure up images of an Indiana Jones-esk character(?) walking through dense jungles. Or maybe someone in a tuxedo jumping off a plane. It may remind you of the travel blogger you follow on Instagram who takes photos in faraway deserts and oceans. Do a quick Google search and you can find endless articles on how to be a more adventurous person. But what is adventure? How should we define it?
Not everyone finds the same activity exciting, risky, or adventurous. It’s indeed a subjective matter, unique to each of us, our life conditions & our experiences. For example, a tourist, born and raised in London, might find a several-day hike to be the most adventurous journey of her life. A good example of such a hike is the legendary biannual migration of the Bakhtiari nomads (Kooch). But for the nomads, it’s just ordinary life. Following their ancestors, they have been making this journey twice a year for centuries.
Searching Dictionary.com, you will find the definition of “adventure” as an exciting or very unusual experience. It also states that it can be a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome. Exciting, unusual, risky. These are all very subjective ways of describing experiences.
Adventure is Getting Out of Comfort Zone
Then maybe a more practical, inclusive definition would be to say that adventure is what pushes us out of our comfort zones. Your comfort zone is neither positive nor negative, but simply a collection of settings in which you are most at ease or you feel the most comfortable. However, there are benefits to temporarily breaking free from the boundaries of this zone and challenging yourself. By challenging yourself, you will get a sense of empowerment, a sense of will & control over your own life. You do things you never thought you were capable of doing and you get out of your way to help yourself grow. This and the new setting around you can make you feel alive, inject some energy into you after years of doing the same routine day in and day out. The change from the ordinary can suddenly give you a new perspective, teaching you valuable life lessons.
Even after you return to your previous, familiar activities, chances are you have pushed the limits of what used to be your comfort zone. Because, You have made yourself more adaptable to new situations and have as a result reduced the anxiety you used to have when stepping out of this zone.
You will be more open to taking risks, risks that help you learn more and grow as a human being. Since many of us don’t take many risks due to being afraid of failure, we block our own development by feeding this fear. Also, researchers say that the little bit of stress caused by temporarily stepping away from what we are comfortable doing is actually a healthy type of stress. This state allows us to be more creative and perform at our peak.
So What to Do to Become More Adventurous?
Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you that the only way you’ll get these benefits is if you do a trip around the world in 80 days. You can and you should start small, say from your home. Tonight, instead of having dinner in your usual spot, plan a picnic and enjoy your meal in a park surrounded by unknown people in a less known place.
Tomorrow, after work, go explore a part of town you’ve never been to or go to a restaurant from a part of the world you don’t know anything about. Sign up for a sport or a dance class you’ve never tried. And yes, you can start planning that dream trip of yours. So even if you don’t have the financial means yet, just planning it may teach you so much about the history, culture, and people of the place you plan to visit. And, you can never have too much knowledge! So go explore! And I hope to see you on top of the Zagros mountains one day 😉