“Let’s go on an adventure!” “I need a bit of adventure in my life” “You should be more adventurous”
It’s very likely that you’ve used these phrases or heard them from those around you. They might conjure up images of a Indiana Jones-esk character walking through dense jungles or someone in a tuxedo jumping off a plane. It may remind you of the travel blogger you follow on Instagram who takes photos in far away deserts and oceans. Do a quick Google search and you can find endless articles on how to be more adventurous. But how do we define an adventure?
Dictionary.com will give you the definition that an adventure is 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 our experiences.
Not everyone finds the same activity exciting or risky. This subjective perspective applies to how we each define adventure; it’s unique to us and our own exposure. For example, a tourist, born and raised in London, might find a several day hike following the legendary migration path of the Bakhtiari nomads to be the most adventurous journey she has ever embarked on but for the nomadic family it’s just ordinary life. They, along with their ancestors, have been making this journey twice a year for centuries.
Then maybe a more practical definition would be to say that adventure is what pushes us out of our comfort zones. Your comfort zone is neither positive or negative, but simply the collection of settings in which you are most at ease. 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. You are doing things you never thought you were capable of and here you are doing it! 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: a new perspective that can teach you valuable life lessons.
Even after you’ve returned to your familiar activities, chances are you have pushed the limits of what used to be your comfort zone. You have made yourself more adaptable to new situations and reduce the anxiety you used to have when stepping out of this zone. You will be more open to taking risks, risks that help you grow as a human being. Many of us don’t take these risks because we are so afraid of failure and block our own development with this fear. Researchers also 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.
Now don’t worry, I’m not telling you the only way you’ll get these benefits is if you do a trip around the world in 80 days. You can start right at home. Tonight, instead of having dinner in your usual spot, make a picnic and enjoy it in a park surrounded by the beautiful outdoors.
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 dance class you’ve never tried. And yes, you can start planning that dream trip of yours. 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. You can never have too much knowledge!
So go explore! I’ll see you soon on top of the Zagros mountains 😉