Bottom Line Up Front: Seeking adventure isn't just a rare indulgence; it's a catalyst for enriching your life and the lives of those around you. This blog explores why adventure should be a regular pursuit and how it can transform your world.
Short Story-September 11th, 2001. I was a freshman at Georgia Southern University. My focus study for my scholastic institution was fun. My college goal was to maintain the Hope scholarship. The Hope Scholarship was designed for Georgia residents going to Georgia schools. If the student had a 3.0 Grade Point Average leaving high school they qualified for the scholarship. I had to maintain this average to keep it. This meant I serious enough about school to sort of try to pass. I didn’t want my parents to be disappointed with me or have to come out of pocket to bail me out of poor life choices. Those were pretty much my college objectives. Make no mistake, I was living for the moment. From an outside glance, my life was on track. I was attending a relatively good school on scholarship and had been accepted into an aerospace engineering program which would eventually land me a great Job. I was dating a gorgeous girl named Julia. She was aggressive, funny, and fun. I was poised for a successful launch into life. On paper, I could have fooled anyone into thinking I was on a successful track. But my life felt like a mirage. On close inspection, I felt empty. I knew something was off. I felt a stir in my life. I knew I was living for myself. Each day that passed I grew myself in the wrong direction. It had been like this for a year or more. Each day I fell further off track. I was spiraling in a direction of self-fulfillment. A direction of addiction. A direction of temporary pleasure at the cost of long-term gains.
I climbed out of bed that fateful morning in a haze from the night before. Groggy from previous events I sluggishly dawned my gray tracksuit and shuffled into my slippers for class. I searched through a dirty pile of clothes on the ground to find my red Atlanta Braves beanie. I eventually found it under a stack of discarded yellow Hungry Howie pizza boxes. I stuffed my curly afro into the stretchy red hat and slung my book back over my shoulder. I was exhausted. I can’t remember the exact details of what I was doing the night before but I assure you it wasn’t studying for a calculus exam. I rushed out the door to make my class start time and walked by our dorm common area on the way to my architectural history course. As I passed by, I noticed people crowded around an old big-screen television. Curious by the out-of-place scene, I slid into the back of the room and fixed my gaze on the screen.
The news reporters looked grim-faced as they described the somber news that was unfolding. A plane, a commercial airliner had hit one of New York City’s trade towers. Whispers in the crowd were murmured to speculate about why this was happening. People stepped out of the day room to place phone calls on old-school egg-shaped Nokia phones. I remained transfixed gawking at the over-engineered projector screen trying to make sense of the information. I wondered how a pilot would be so stupid as to hit a building. “Must be in the flight path for the airport”, I thought. My brain was still in a haze from the night before. The data and situation added to the disorientation. A fellow student pulled up beside me. He leaned over in hushed respectful tones and whispered, “Did you hear that class is canceled?”. “No”, I whispered back both our eyes glued to the television. I thought “This is great, no class?” I can go back to sleep and then I’ll rally the gang and we can rage”. Just then on the screen, another plane came into view and collided with the other tower. The reality of my selfish thinking came crashing into me with a wave of guilt. People are dying and I’m considering how to leverage this terrible situation for my own benefit. I was ashamed of myself. How did I get here? How did I become this person? This self-absorbed person. This wasn’t who my parents raised me to be. I needed to change. I trudged back up to my dorm room guilt-ridden from my previous state of mind. My roommate and best friend Jud was in a similar state of mind as the information evolved into a terrorist attack. We both knew we were in the wrong place in life. Our experiences and choices in life lead us here. He exclaimed that he was going to join the ranger regiment. I nodded and concurred with his assertion. I knew that college wasn’t the place for us.
The military is what we both needed to succeed. We craved adventure. We needed discipline. Our past experiences and our past choices have led to our current circumstances. We knew that in order to positively affect the future we had to change our present circumstances. The path we were headed down was a sure shot to nowhere. We felt it in our gut. An animal instinct warning us of danger and self-mutilation. It’s being caught in a storm and feeling the need to take shelter. If we were going to succeed in life we needed to divorce ourselves from our past ventures. We both felt committed to joining up but our approaches to get there varied. We took different roads. He took the army and I was elected to the Air Force. In our own time, we took the plunge. We stepped out of our known reality and into the unknown. We did it to escape ourselves and escape our past.
That moment of choosing adventure changed my life, but it doesn't always require a drastic step. Here are some ways to recognize and create moments of adventure regularly:
Ways of Recognition:
Say Yes More: Embrace opportunities, even if they seem small or outside your comfort zone. Saying yes can lead to unexpected adventures.
Seek Novelty: Explore new places, try new foods, and engage in activities you've never done before. Novel experiences are mini-adventures.
Challenge Yourself: Set personal goals that push your limits. Whether it's running a marathon or learning a new language, challenges bring excitement.
Meet New People: Engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Every conversation can be an adventure in understanding.
Embrace Spontaneity: Don't always plan everything to the last detail. Allow room for spontaneity and serendipity in your life.
Travel and Explore: Even if it's just a weekend road trip, travel opens doors to adventure and cultural enrichment.
Give Back: Volunteer for a cause you're passionate about. Helping others can be an adventure in empathy and connection.
Learn Continuously: Expand your knowledge and skills. Each new skill learned is a small step into uncharted territory.
Document Your Journey: Keep a journal, blog, or photo album to chronicle your adventures. Reflecting on your experiences can be an adventure in itself.
Stay Curious: Cultivate a curious mindset. Ask questions, seek answers, and never stop exploring the world around you.
Remember, adventure is not just about extreme sports or daring feats; it's a mindset that invites you to embrace the unknown and find excitement in the everyday. By recognizing and creating moments of adventure regularly, you can enrich your life and the lives of those around you.