It's cold and dark. It's raining. I'm standing in a puddle of mud cooking dinner at 9 pm. I just drove down a dirt road. A long dirt road, not quite able to tell what awaited me if I should happen to get too close to the edge of the drop-off. I didn’t really know what I'll find at the end of this road. I eventually found a small campsite off the side of the road. I hang up some lights so I can see in the darkness and get started on dinner, grilled cheese with tomato soup. As wait for the perfect crispy brown crust to form on our grilled cheese sandwiches, I put on another jacket and listen to the rain falling around me. I’m cold, but it’s also quiet and cozy. I’m thankful to be at camp. I’m thankful to have a warm dinner. And I’m thankful to be on another adventure with Val.
Why do I do this? Why do I drive 100s of miles to camp in the middle of nowhere? Why do I do these things - what I call adventure?
I think it's a curious question, especially considering some of the realities of adventure. From an outsider’s perspective, one might wonder if some of the people who adventure are really masochistic or just crazy. But for me, adventure is fulfilling not because of the destination or the luxury but because of the journey. In most areas of my life, I crave experiences where there's a combination of stretching myself - pushing my skills and wisdom to their edge and finding what’s on the other side of that edge. It’s an enjoyable type of struggle that can be very fulfilling. It’s in these moments of adventure that I learn about myself, expand myself, and recharge myself. And for me, it’s often in community with traveling companions. It's how relationships with both one's self and other people are formed.
Adventure can come in many forms. It can be driving down a challenging 4x4 road. It can be summiting a tall peak. It can be baking a cake in the wilderness. It can be repairing a tire. It can be challenging my beliefs by having a conversation with a friend around a campfire. It can be asking someone to go on an adventure or being open to the possibility of a new lifelong friendship. Adventure is a place to learn about yourself and other people, what you are capable of doing, who you are, and perhaps who you are becoming.
It's in these moments of adventure, newness, and challenge that we know ourselves better and are truly alive. Life is lived. It's a verb. Adventure is one form of actively living life.
See you out there,