When the airplane my husband and I were traveling on to Haiti suddenly aborted the landing upon touch down on the small island, it was a moment of epiphany for me. Even while still in the air, the plane rocking violently, lights going off and on, and not knowing whether I would live or die, I had this defiant thought: I would rather die doing what I was meant to do than sit on the sidelines of life wasting away, not truly living at all.
And make no mistake: I am no daredevil. Risk is not my middle name. And adventure is something I never associated with my personality. I’m an introvert by nature and prefer to have all my ducks in a row.
That transitional word, however, brought transition itself to first, my own thinking and secondly, to my actual living. Why? Because the older I got, the more I realized that I wasn’t truly living; I was just existing.
And here’s the thing beneath the thing: anything out of the ordinary can be classified as an adventure. I don’t have to climb Mount Everest to call it an adventure. Therefore, adventure can be a daily thing. All I really need is the willingness to try new things.
Some characteristics of adventure include action, challenge, thrill, mystery, uncertainty, and excitement. When I think of these words linked to adventure, I am reminded of the words passionately spoken by the woman playing Amelia Earhart in the movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: “I smell adventure, and damn it, I want in!”
So do I. I hope you do too. Because what I’ve come to discover is that there are benefits to embracing adventure. Here are just seven:
I’ve discovered experientially that nature excursions can reduce stress levels within moments of heading outdoors. Whatever adventure I’m on, I always return with a more positive mood, refreshed, and reenergized.
Adventure requires a measure of healthy risk-taking, which increases your self-awareness and trains you to face life head-on. As you get out of your comfort zone, you begin to develop determination and learn to “do it afraid.” Start with mini-challenges or dive right in.
Sparks creative thinking
When you challenge yourself in new ways, your problem-solving skills are sharpened. Adventure often requires that you see things from a different perspective, which sparks curiosity. A desire to succeed leads to creative thinking as you examine various possibilities.
Provides natural exercise
I’m just going to say it: I loathe traditional exercise. But take me somewhere I love or have never been and suddenly I’m on a hiking adventure and getting exercise naturally without even thinking about it. Adventure provides exercise the fun way!
Learn new skills
Adventuring is an amazing way to expand your skill set. Learning new skills is healthy for the body, mind, and soul. Challenge the status quo at least once a week by trying something you’ve never done before.
Refreshes your soul
Adventure is like soul food; we truly were never meant to live without it. Adventure refreshes the soul by invigorating the mind, giving you a mental boost. When we are adventuring outdoors, the natural beauty brings us to a state of awe and wonder, releasing the endorphins that we all need for optimal health.
Trying what you’ve never tried before brings deep satisfaction. It brings a sense of personal accomplishment and improves self-esteem. The greater the challenge, the greater the victory. Added bonus: resilience. The confidence gained while on an adventure enables us to bounce back better from life’s inevitable setbacks.
Every new adventure keeps life interesting. Dare to test and challenge yourself. Take a leap into the unknown…there’s nothing more exciting than a good old-fashioned adventure.
Things I’ve experienced on my adventures:
*A baby killdeer finding protection beneath its mother, who then proceeded to gently sit down on her little one until it could no longer be seen.
*An eagle soaring at the lake with its “catch of the day” grasped firmly with its talons.
*A dolphin swimming near our boat at Chincoteague Island.
*A female mallard duck with all 12 of her little babies waddling across the road as we were on our way to our next adventure.
*Razor rental riding in Tennessee and spotting several black bears on our ride.
*The abject poverty and the breathtaking beauty of Haiti on the same day.
*Peace amid uncertainty, a love for life, and a desire for more adventure.