Why We All Need Adventure In Our Lives

adventure1Tick, tick, tick…I glanced up at the slowest clock in the world with hands that seemed to be moving in reverse as I sat in front of my computer, enduring the suffering that only other office workers can understand.  My eyes glazed over as I tried to concentrate on the spread-sheet in front of me and my mind wandered, not for the first time, to my motivation for enduring the 9-to-5 suffocation and the pay check it provides.

Antarctica.

In less than three months I will be living a dream as I enjoy a pint at one of the most remote pubs in the world at Port Stanley after photographing the rugged Falkland Islands, feel outnumbered in the penguin colonies of South Georgia, endure the sea sickness that is unavoidable as I cross the notorious Drake Passage and set foot on my 7th continent, Antarctica.

It was most likely the tedium of my office day that caused my daydreaming to morph into a crazy decision, but as I started to pack my bag in my head I added a swimsuit to my packing list.  I had not only decided, within seconds, to partake in the Polar Plunge, but I had eliminated the possibility of changing my mind by announcing to the world that I would be jumping into the icy cold, sub-zero Antarctic to raise money for charity.

This moment of madness created a rush of adrenalin in me that had me almost jumping out of my chair shouting “yes, bring it on”.

I felt like the most adventurous person in the world.

A few hours later during my lunch break, my cyber surfboard brought me to the Scott 2012 website and I started to feel a little less brave, compared to the quartet of modern day adventurers who are planning to attempt Captain Scott’s unfinished expedition, the 1,800-mile return journey to the South Pole on foot.  By the time I got home, after reading on the train about Shackleton’s ill-fated Endurance voyage in 1914, my adventurous moment had been humbled into being nothing more than ordinary.

But then I started to question what being adventurous really means.

An adventure has been traditionally described as an exciting or unusual experience, exploration of the unknown, an undertaking that is bold and risky, or something that involves an element of danger with an uncertain outcome.

We may not all be adventurers in the traditional sense of the word, but we all have the ability to be adventurous.

Being adventurous is a relative term.  A polar plunge for Shackleton and his crew was an unavoidable result of rowing an open boat across the stormiest ocean in the world as they tried to stay alive.  A polar plunge for the Scott 2012 team is probably perceived as light entertainment.  A polar plunge for me is one of the most adventurous things I’ve planned to do in my life.

Whilst the adventure activities we choose to take part in may differ, they all have two things in common.

–          They take us outside our comfort zones

–          They make us feel alive

The earliest adventure I remember in my life took place two streets from my house in Broken Hill, the outback Australian town I grew up in.  My age was still in single figures and I had just learned to ride a bike.  There was a little dirt track that my brother and I used to ride to that was no more than 100 metres from our front gate.  We called it the ‘little road’.  The moment of adventure arrived the day our parents gave us permission to head out into the great unknown.  We hopped on our bikes with adrenalin running through our veins and set off… towards the ‘big road’, another 100 metres past the ‘little road’!

We had stepped outside our comfort zone, we were doing something we had never done before and we felt daring, energised and alive.

That was an adventure.

My more recent adventures have included white water rafting on the Nile, jumping from a 50 metre cliff on a gorge swing in Zambia, trekking to Tigers Nest Monastery in Bhutan, walking with lions in Africa, trekking towards mountain gorillas in Rwanda, paragliding for the first time off a cliff near Sucre in Bolivia, facing my fear of horse riding in Tupiza, turning left instead of right whilst cycling in Myanmar, riding an elephant bare-back in Laos, trekking amongst hill-tribes in Sapa, exploring the Hoh Chi Minh Trail on a motorbike, steering a snow mobile across a glacier in Iceland, eating tarantula in Cambodia, taking a hot air balloon ride across the Serengeti and trying to cross the road in Hoh Chi Minh City.

I certainly won’t go down in history as an adventurer and braver souls will face and defeat greater challenges than my little escapades provided.

But being adventurous has enriched my life. It has made me feel alive.

You don’t need to go travelling to be adventurous, you don’t need to risk your life and you don’t need to give up your job for a six month expedition – leave that to the true adventurers out there like the Scott 2012 team.

But challenge yourself to find something that meets two criteria:

–          takes you outside your comfort zone

–          something you haven’t done before

It may be running a marathon, it may be travelling to a developing country, it may be learning to surf, it may be trying spicy food for the first time, it may be bungy jumping, or it may simply be taking a different path home from the bus stop.

Why?

Everyone needs a little adventure in their lives.  Being adventurous creates adrenalin, it energises the soul and it makes us a feel alive.

Because after all – life is for living!

Are you adventurous? What adventures have you experienced?

 

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

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PHOTO GALLERY: Deer in Richmond Park, London