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Adventure: What Does It Mean To You?

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition
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I got to thinking lately about adventure. And then I started thinking about Halloween. And it clicked: Halloween is an adventure and that’s why people love it. They get to do something they don’t normally do and dress up, go to parties, or trick-or-treat. Halloween is the discovery of the unknown. When you read about a haunted house, a town ghost, or embark on the journey of watching a horror movie – you are taking yourself on an adventure. For the purpose of this blog I am talking about a happy sense of adventure – not a scared-out-of your-mind sense of excitement and fear that a creepy something really is going to get you.

Fun adventure ties into how I feel about climbing and skiing. I love the sense of newfound exploration that comes along with floating on powder, being outside, or the excitement you feel after you get to the top of a pitch. Skiing, climbing, and trekking are always taking me to new places, with new people, and pushing me to stretch my limits and develop trust in myself. So I love adventure. I seek it. While not everyone craves it, the people that do seek it, find it in multiple ways. For some, that means climbing mountains and skiing rad peaks. For others, it means trying new foods and traveling to distant lands. And often, for all of us, it means just staying at home watching The Shining – a movie that still haunts my dreams (the twin scene in the hallway anyone…)? So, you get my point. Adventure is relative. Meeting new people thrills me, and adding experiences to my bucket list has always been my jam. The question: is it yours and what does adventure mean to you?

It helps to define adventure. To me, it means an insatiable desire to keep exploring and learning new things –whether they are new places, new people, new sports or new food. It also means trying that new sandwich I’ve been eyeing or exploring a new running route near my house. Often, I hear the word “adventure” linked with adrenaline-packed sports like bungee jumping, river rafting, or zip lining high in the trees. While those can certainly be adventures, “adrenaline” is more tied in with the rush you feel during your experience as a whole. Adventure implies something new or uncharted, and is often a carefully planned experience that doesn’t always bring adrenaline with it.  Adventure is the broader act of discovery, for your team or for yourself, and all the things you explore, learn, and overcome, which truly defines your experience.

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Travel seems to be world’s most commonly adapted adventure. Because travel is naturally filled with new experiences and exploration, it is also one of life’s best teachers. When you add climbing big mountains to the mix, it becomes a travel and climbing adventure all rolled into one and now you can experience many more facets of the place you’re visiting. You begin to truly feel the sense of achievement that adventure provides you: the learning, the fun, and the openness. This ongoing openness to new experiences is the reward I personally achieve from adventure. But the fun I encounter during it, and the thrill of the ride, deserve a lot of credit.

I know this has been kind of a teaser leading into the very broad topic of adventure, but because it is a great conversation starter, and also because I like to know what makes people tick, I just thought I’d ask, what does adventure mean to you? I think I’ve got it halfway figured out for myself, but with so much more to experience, I know I am only partway there.

-Briitni

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