What does adventure look like?
We’re about to kayak across a lake surrounded by tall granite mountains carved by ancient glaciers. We already kayaked 2 miles across the lake earlier in the morning across glassy water reflecting the peaks and trees on the water’s surface. We left our kayak on a sandy beach and hiked through forests and meadows, crossing rivers on our bare feet. It’s sunny and warm. A lovely day for June at 9000 feet above sea level.
When we return to the beach after our hike, it’s windy. 25+ mph windy. Blow sand in your face windy. We secure our gear in dry bags and the hold of the kayak, launching into 2-3’ waves and swells. Val is in the front of the kayak getting pummeled by wind and face shots of water over every swell. Luckily it’s a closed-hull ocean kayak. We paddle hard for the east side of the lake hoping to get some protection from the wind. It’s hard and we’re getting tired. We’ve already paddled 2 miles and hiked another 5 miles. We make it to the side of the lake. There’s a bit less wind. We start the long paddle back to where we launched near our campsite. By the time we return, there’s less wind and it’s getting calm. Some paddleboarders are about to head out onto the lake.
We pack up the kayak and drive 30 miles of bumpy dusty dirt forest road to a small town. We have beers and cheese curds at a brewery, celebrating our adventure and that yet again we didn’t die.
Why do we do this? Why do we kayak in a place that has “wind” in its name, knowing that it will likely be windy? Why do we ford raging cold snowmelt rivers in our bare feet? Why do we hike through muddy meadows? Why do we drive down dusty bumpy roads in search of adventure? Because it makes us happy, it makes us healthy, and it stretches us and fulfills us.
Why do we adventure? Because it makes us happy, it makes us healthy, and it stretches us and fulfills us.
Why is adventure important to us?
To us, adventure is a great armature for living a full fulfilling life - for living a life well lived. Adventure is a helpful container and structure for so many things that lead to being a joyful alive human being. And really at the end of the day, what is the purpose of life but happiness and fulfillment for yourself and the people around you in your life? And perhaps leaving the world - and your campsite - a bit better than your found it?
To us, adventure has many of the ingredients for a good life. Adventure helps us connect with nature, with other people, and with each other. It helps us to push ourselves to learn new skills and do things that are challenging and sometimes a bit scary. It helps us to be curious and discover new places, people, and ideas. Adventure helps us hold space and time for ourselves and our passions. And it helps us to learn more about ourselves - who we are, what’s interesting to us, how to work together - so that we can grow as humans. Sure some parts of the adventure aren’t always fun, but on the whole, it’s one of our favorite ways of living, connecting, and growing.
Sure some parts of the adventure aren’t always fun, but on the whole, it’s one of our favorite ways of living, connecting, and growing.
We’re Adam and Val. We’ve been adventuring together for over 20 years. We’re still exploring new types of adventure, but we’re most commonly hiking, kayaking, skiing, cooking, eating, road-tripping, overlanding, and dispersed camping in North America. We’ve lived through 100s of adventures, hiked 1000s of miles, and explored 10,000s of miles of back roads and dirt roads, all while refining what adventure means to us and how to have more fulfilling adventures.
We grew up in Pennsylvania, starting our adventures together as tent campers, hikers, and kayakers in the Mid-Atlantic area. Over the years, we moved to Colorado, getting a truck, and then a Hallmark truck camper enabling us to explore the backroads of the West.
Just like anything else you do in your life, adventure can be approached thoughtfully and intentionally. Not to get too philosophical, but generally having a strong mental model of something - how it works, why it’s important, etc - helps you to be better at doing that something. In fact, we deeply believe that being more thoughtful and intentional about adventure can help lead to more awesome adventures. We hope that sharing our whys and hows through our newsletter The Art of Adventure will help you have more and more awesome adventures in your life.
What is this newsletter about
Over the years we’ve thought a lot about why and how we adventure. We’re excited to share what we’ve learned with a broader community of adventurers through The Art of Adventure. We’ve learned a lot from other people and want to give back, sharing our knowledge and wisdom with others.
So what have we learned? What might we be talking about in the future?
- How to always be ready for an adventure even on short notice
- How to plan adventures that maximize enjoyment while minimizing planning
- How to make plans while leaving room for discovery and serendipity
- How to find places to camp even in busy places
- How to be a better communicator
- How to travel in large multi-vehicle groups
- How to choose equipment and our recommendations
- How to pack for fast findability and retrievability
- How to minimize stress when things go wrong
- How to stay safe while in remote places and risky activities
- How to learn from adventures to better prepare for what’s next
If that sounds interesting to you, sign up for updates. Periodic emails with information, wisdom, and inspiration for your next adventure!