One of the many reasons to travel is the search for adventures. Traveling, indeed, has always been something special. It always was – and in parts still is – exciting, mythical, and shrouded in legend. This is particularly true for the time when traveling still was a necessity and when journeys were arduous, especially those crossing borders – long before passport controls and simple visa regulations, long before the invention of the airplane or the automobile.
The time just before the industrialization saw an increasing acceptance of pleasure-driven travel among the well-situated and the aristocratic. But still it required quite some courage – and in some cases an armed bodyguard – to leave the known behind and start for an unknown place. There is a great stack of literature of that time in which traveling is the focal point. You could fill libraries with adventure stories of the early travelers.
Today, traveling has become much more relaxed. Whenever we desire to go to faraway worlds, we can book a holiday. We are lured by the sun, by the offer of relaxation, or by foreign cultures and people. And every time we board a train or plane, we still hear the call of adventure.
Hiking in Himalaya or skydiving above the Great Barrier Reef?
So what is adventure? Does adventure mean to cross snowy Alaska in springtime all by yourself on the tracks of the Klondike gold diggers? Does it mean to conquer the Himalayan mountains or to cross the African continent on a bike? Is adventure tantamount to skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef? Or to camping in the company of bears in the wild?
A whole bunch of tour operators and destinations lure their guests with the promise of adventure and still do not meet their customers’ expectations. Because their expectations cannot be reached. They believe that they will be served adventure on a silver plate. But that can never work out.
Adventure always comes unexpectedly and never in a foreseeable shape. Adventure is what happens if you do not search for it, meaning that it will not come along your path if you go out chasing for it. An adventure will not happen if you pay enormous amounts of money to climb Mount Everest regardless of your deficient physical fitness. It will not happen if you jump out of a flying plane just to cross that item off your bucket list. And it certainly will not happen if you travel into the wilderness with your tent and the bears just won’t show up.
The journey is the adventure
Adventure is the unexpected and the unexpected is adventure. Sometimes it is so inconspicuous that you just won’t notice it until it is over. Adventure is a spontaneous bicycle tour through a remote little town in the middle of nowhere – where tourists usually do not show up and where people hurry to help you if your chain comes off. Adventure is the car ride on a deserted street when you have no idea where you will end up when the day ends. We need to cherish the little adventures for they are the ones that are really unforgettable. Although I have to admit that I really want to do a skydive sometime…
Adventure pushes us to our limits. Whenever we meet it, we do meet it with respect because it is in the nature of adventure that its outcome is unpredictable. To really experience adventure, we have to venture out of our comfort zones. And set out for our next journey.