What Is Adventure and What Does It Mean to Be Adventurous
Adventure is a word that is so often used, but does anyone REALLY know what it means?
What is adventure? What does it mean to be adventurous?
Heck, our blog name even has the word adventure in it! Does it always have to entail jumping off airplanes or diving through shipwrecks (both of which we’ve actually done)? Sure, by those standards you could say Tom and I are adventurous travelers.
We love going off to the unknown to experience something new. If we were standing by a waterfall and someone tells Tom to jump, without blinking an eye, he would. Our bucket list consists of cage diving with great white sharks, trekking through the Amazon Jungle, and bungee jumping off a bridge.
But, is that really what adventure is?
I turned to my trusty friend Google and it gave me the definition of;
“Engaging in an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.”
Sure, that covered all our bases, but to us, adventure means so much more. Yes, we realize that our idea of adventure may be completely different from the person sitting next to us.
We might find that eating strange Filipino street food (like fried bugs and animal innards) is adventurous to us, but to the average local person, eating those is part of their everyday life.
Although somewhat perplexing, I realized that it was part of the beauty of adventure. It is the fact that each person has a different opinion of what adventure is.
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Adventure is about…
going out of your comfort zone to open yourself up to the experiences and beauty that life gives you, no matter what path you choose to go on.
Adventure is all about taking each experience, regardless if you know the outcome or not and facing it head-on. It is about seeing the world from a different perspective, even if you’ve seen it a million times before.
It is choosing to see the beauty from the ordinary and finding ways on how to do it differently.
Editor’s Note: Check out the Best Adventure Quotes of all time if you have a minute!
So just because we are jumping off 200m high gorges, bathing elephant and climbing volcanoes, does it mean that our adventure is better than everyone else’s? Absolutely not.
To us, adventure is stepping out of your comfort zone by doing something that you normally wouldn’t do. From helping out a random person to working up the courage to make friends with a stranger. It is about finding something that you love and pursuing it relentlessly.
Adventure is Not…
always about going away to some exotic destination, but about finding excitement in both the new and the old.
It is exploring where you are and choosing to look at it differently. It’s about going on a road trip not because you want to reach a particular destination, but because the journey there would awesome! Adventure can be found in our everyday lives. In the little things. If only you choose to see it.
Related: Best Travel Books that you should read this year.
Adventure Could Mean…
taking the selfless leap of raising a family.
Massive recognition needs to be given to people entering the roller coaster of parenthood as they take on the role of becoming a mother and father, or sometimes even both. Both my sisters are raising families of their own and there isn’t a day that goes by where I am not proud of what they are doing.
For some people, getting married and having kids may be the biggest adventure that they will ever take on, but they do it none the less. They face it with nothing but determination and selflessness in order to provide the best for their families.
Adventure Could Also Mean…
working your ass off to become successful in your job.
Whether you are building a business or making a name for yourself in your company, if that is what you want in life, why should you not view it as an adventure? Some people put their blood, sweat and tears into a job where they constantly strive to build their skills on a daily basis.
As long as you see the bigger picture and are working towards a goal, pursuing your career could be your adventure. To us, growing this blog has been an adventure in itself. It has its ups and its downs, but every day, we wake up realizing how lucky we are to be able to pursue our passions in life.
Adventure could mean spicing up your daily routine by trying out a new meal, ordering your coffee in a different way, or even something as simple as trying out a new look from time to time. In any situation, you can find different ways to be adventurous as you try something new and exciting.
Adventure is about trying out new experiences, whether you will like it or not. I must admit that even though I have jumped off planes and have done more adventurous things than anyone in my family, I often get scared. Just the thought of jumping off high places make my palms sweat and my heart race.
However, I do them anyways. Why? Because I don’t want to live my life in the safety of my comfort zone. I want to live a life that exhilarates and excites me.
At the End of the Day, Adventure is About…
seizing opportunities and taking on life with nothing but passion, enthusiasm and excitement.
Our point is that every day should be treated as an adventure. Whether you are hiking through the Sahara desert, growing an enterprise, or chasing your kids down your yard, choose to look every day with a sense of marvel and excitement.
Dare yourself to do something out of the ordinary and breakaway from your everyday routines.
This is what adventure means to us. Pursuing whatever you want out of life relentlessly and passionately. So to those that say adventure is only for those that hike through caves and trek through jungles, hear this. Adventure is a choice.
Life is a big adventure and it is up to YOU to choose how you are going to live it.
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Editor In Chief
Anna is the Editor in Chief of this blog and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She is passionate about discovering incredible food spots, good travel gear, and outdoor adventures. When she isn’t outdoors, you can find her eating her way around the world.
19 thoughts on “What Is Adventure and What Does It Mean to Be Adventurous”
Adventure is when you have no safety net…you’re thousands of miles away from rescue and completely on your own, reliant on yourself for the life and death decisions you have to make in order to survive the next five minutes. There’s a split second between absolute fear and the realization that you’re experiencing true adventure when you know that you are incredibly alive. Every cell you possess will tingle and the act of living is an amazing burst of clarity.That moment is the most electric connection to living a person can ever feel. After that….bungee jumping and ‘crazy travel’ seem no more exciting than a day at Disneyland. My first time was when handling an open cockpit trimaran in the South China Sea during a massive monsoon typhoon and lightning bolts the size of giant tree’s were crashing down all around me as 40 to 60 foot swells threatened to tear me away from the wheel in the driving rain and vicious winds. That micro-second of light created by the lightning bolts allowed me to see the deadly black chaos surrounding me. There was no calling 911 or going back to the hotel to change my shorts. I either had the balls to hang on and use all my fierce skill to survive or I could freak out and die…that’s adventure friends….and once you’ve had it…nothing else comes close. When dawn broke and the wind had subsided I saw we were surrounded by a forest of tornado’s walking across the surface of the sea…calm by comparison to what I’d been through the night before. In the distance I saw the broken wreck of a freighter that had been cracked open across an exposed reef in some previous storm…likely causing the death of all aboard. I was still a thousand miles off the north coast of Borneo and a thousand miles west of the Palawan…and my journey had just begun.
WOW!! That sounds intense..and sure as hell sounds like an adventure! Glad you made it out alive to tell the tale @jwesthardin:disqus
I like your thoughts about adventure, and I agree with you. You can make a simple day adventurous by stepping out of your ordinary routine, doing things differently or seeing life in a beautiful way. I think that, a lot of times as travelers we see travel or crazy travel experiences like jumping out of a plane in Australia as the way to be adventurous. But, you are completely right. Adventure can be having the courage to start a family or quitting your job and following your dreams, whatever those may be.
Exactly! Glad you got what we were trying to say. Thanks for reading @Fromtourist2local:disqus
I love people who tell me they are jealous of my adventures. My adventures occur because I am willing to take the chance and step out of my comfort zone. Personally, I feel that adventure is what you make of it. Some people its going somewhere new others, its extreme sports. Adventure is something you do to expand yourself.
Exactly! It doesn’t always have to mean crazy stunts or travels!
I’ve been called “adventurous” because I’ve swam with great whites, skydived, and rappelled down a mountain. But I don’t consider myself adventurous at all. I’m actually a very big chicken. But I want to experience life and live it fully, so I guess no one will ever really be able to agree on a definition.
Hahaha! I’m a big chicken too-I just work up the courage to do it..because I always think to myself that life is too short to live within the bounds of our comfort zone!
LOVE this post. “It is about seizing opportunities and taking on life with nothing but passion, enthusiasm and excitement.” YES! That’s what we’re all about and all about inspiring – whatever that opportunity or passion happens to be! Adventure can totally be applied to anything in life if it means stepping outside your comfort zone, venturing into unknown territory and finding and going for your passion no matter what that may be!! Bookmarking this to share!
Thank you @carolannandmacrae:disqus!!
Great post. Adventure means different things to different people. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hard to define, one person’s adventure may be someone else’s boring routine. That’s way its always important to keep growing, learning and challenging yourself.
I’m not sure I’d quite stretch “adventure” to everything you mention in your post, but completely agree that “adventure” is about stretching your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be exciting. In fact, I prefer safer adventures, the Christopher Robin-type adventures Nothing wrong with that.
Safe adventures are perfectly fine as well, like I said, your adventures may be someone else’s routine and vice versa! Thanks for reading!
I’m with you. An adventure is anything you want it to be, all it takes is the right frame of mind.
I am huge on seizing opportunities frequently to free myself. Adventure to me means making freeing but sometimes uncomfortable choices to create a freeing, epic, fun, fascinating, inspired life. I have circled the globe for 4 years after not taking a vacation for 22 years. I dove in Keep on inspiring!
Thanks @ryanbiddulph:disqus !! Unlike Tom I actually get quite scared before doing crazy stuff, but like you said, it is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and freeing yourself!
I have a series on my site called tales from the anti-adventurist – because for me, being adventurous means wearing white after Labor Day or taking a bike ride! But I’ve learned you don’t have to be wild to enjoy travel – it’s about pushing your own personal limits, not keeping up with the crowd. Sometimes the best adventures are quiet ones. Great post!
Love it! We will definitely check out your series! Yes, exactly. Some people think adventure has to be something big and exciting but really, it is about expanding and experiencing!
Love this! For us an adventure is also just getting out of our comfort zone and trying something new. We travel with a 5 yr old in tow, so most days everything is an adventure for him and it helps us see it as something new and exciting too!
What is an Adventure Traveler?
There’s also the much better Oxford Dictionary definition of Adventure:
- An unusual, exciting, or dangerous experience, journey, or series of events.
- Excitement and the willingness to take risks, try new ideas, etc.
Now that’s more like it!
A traveler is simply someone who travels or is on a trip. Ok. Basic stuff, right?
Let’s combine the words to get a helpful definition of Adventure Traveler.
We could say an ‘Adventure Traveler’ is someone who undertakes exciting, unusual, and possibly dangerous travels with a sense of excitement and a willingness to take risks and try new ideas.
We now have a perfect definition of an adventure traveler.
But, wait.. there’s more…
Actually, at Adventure Travelers Club, we believe the meaning is even more profound than the definition.
I’ll come back to that. Now let’s examine what is not an adventure traveler by looking at certain travel habits that are uncharacteristic of adventure travelers in general and Adventure Travelers Club Members.
Adventure Travelers do Not:
- Travel heavy with a bunch of unwieldy gear
- Travel to ‘collect countries’ as if they were bottle caps
- Spend their whole trip like drunken sailors on Spring Break
- Act obnoxiously toward local hosts
- Show insensitivity to local customs
- Prefer large groups
- Spend the majority of their journey on social media
- Damage the local ecosystem intentionally
- Expect their destination to be like their home country.
A person who wants to call themselves an Adventure Traveler must have a particular ethos or code. We receive questions about what that means, and I’ll spend a moment here to answer some of those questions.
What is an Adventure Trip?
An adventure trip can be described as a trip that stretches your comfort zone in some way, either physically or culturally. For example, you might like the physical challenge of a hike up a mountain, or the adrenaline of a white-water rafting trip, or a camping expedition. You might expand your cultural boundaries by meeting indigenous people in South America’s rainforest or the Kalahari Desert of Namibia.
Do physical adventures need to be life-threatening?
No! Absolutely not. Never ever be careless with your life! You can be safe and still have amazing adventures.
Does it have to be dangerous to be an Adventure Trip?
No. We do not encourage stupid risks here at Adventure Travelers Club. You can take some risks, and you can also do dangerous things safely. For example, sky diving is dangerous but has a low incidence of death.
We also respect that each person has their own physical challenges, limitations, and fears. You don’t need to be a mountain climber planning an Everest ascent to be an adventure traveler, in our opinion. For some people that spend most of their days in an office, getting out for a hike in the mountains could be a big adventure. And by the way, both the Everest climber and the more down-to-Earth cultural adventurer will find a place and value in being a member of Adventure Travelers Club – but that’s another discussion topic.
Keep in mind that there are physical adventures, and there are cultural adventures. Going to a new country and just walking around and observing could be an adventure. It’s more about mindset and the type of trip.
Can a family trip be an Adventure trip?
Yes, of course. Think of things like hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, etc. Or, taking a family from America or Europe to a foreign place like Japan – what an adventure! Even aspects of a trip can be considered an adventure trip. It’s not as easy to grab a backpack and go bush camping (sigh) with children. Fear not. You can still weave in adventure on a trip and start those kids off with a taste for adventure travel – it’s a taste they develop and enjoy in my experience.
What’s the biggest thing that separates Adventure Travelers from the rest?
Approach. How you approach a trip, the logistics, and how you interact with your environment. Adventure Travelers are open to new cultures, new experiences, and ‘roughing it’ if needed. Openness to cultures is essential when traveling abroad. You can learn a TON about other people, and yourself, if you open your mind.
That’s the intangible aspect of adventure trips I alluded to before.
The adventure traveler returns home — as a different person.
22 Traits Of True Adventure Travellers
Ahhhh adventure, the driving force behind our desire to experience the world in which we live. But at what point are you deemed ‘qualified’ to call yourself an adventure traveller?
What are the personality traits and lifestyle choices which inform us that you’ve crossed over into the realms of perpetual exploration?
Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings.
– John Muir
Here at Wanderlusters HQ we’ve compiled a fail safe check list of tell tales signs you are an adventure traveller.
How many apply to you?
Tell tale signs that you’re an adventure traveller
✈ The prospect of embarking on a journey without any form itinerary leaves you unfazed. Why attempt to plan when life will lead you down the correct path? One likely filled with opportunity and exploration.
✈ Your credit card statement looks like Bear Grylls’ weekly shopping list.
✈ Your parents believe that you should invest in a house, put down roots and have children. You think you’d rather invest in some sailing equipment with which to travel the world on a yacht, or super lightweight, breathable, water proof, wind proof camping gear with a built in foot spa, and live as full time as an epic adventurer.
✈ You can fashion a suitable pillow from almost anything, and you know you could sleep through a tornado, on a boat, whilst being slapped with a wet fish.
✈ You’ve mastered the art of packing light, and all of your worldly possessions fit into a 55L backpack.
✈ Wilderness camping is to you what a weekend shopping in NYC is to the Kardashian clan.
✈ Long haul flights are a blessing not a terrible bore, they give you time to recuperate and catch up on some sleep.
✈ You’ve learnt how to say ‘I’m lost, where am I on this map?’ in at least ten languages.
✈ Home has become a convenient pit stop to re stock and re fuel for your next adventure.
✈ Your family and friends no longer try and deter you when you tell them of your next great quest, they merely nod and sigh. Don’t feel deflated; those muggles have no sense of adventure…
✈ The thought of an all-inclusive resort makes you want to jump off a cliff…wearing a parachute…or perhaps a jet pack.
✈ Tourist traps are to you what kryptonite is to Superman.
✈ You tell people that there is a skilful art to reusing dirty underwear, it’s all in the rotation pattern.
✈ Your feet are the most important part of your anatomy and are groomed more often than your hair. Blisters, painful corns and battered toe nails hamper your ability to explore, bad hair simply means you might not be invited out to dinner that evening.
✈ Your bucket list is full of dare devil activities, epic road trips and endurance challenges in far flung corners of the globe.
✈ You often throw caution to the wind and lick the remains of icebergs, sample local delicacies of unknown origin, and your own home brews of unimaginable alcohol content to keep you warm while sleeping under the stars.
✈ You’ve found yourself lost in the wilderness at dusk more times than Homer Simpson has said ‘Doh’.
✈ You view a hot shower and a flushing toilet as a luxury not a necessity.
✈ While travelling you’ve never sent a postcard, bought a souvenir or taken a ‘this is me with – insert name of location – style photograph…and then posted it to Facebook.
✈ You could pack your life into a bag in less than two minutes, and would be out of the door thirty seconds later if adventure came calling.
✈ You’ve eaten more species of animal than you can count…some of them raw.
✈ And last but not least…ADVENTURE is your middle name.
So what do you think, are you a true adventure traveller?
Can you call yourself an adventure traveller or do you have a few of your own requirements that we’ve missed out?
Freelance writer and blogger Charli has lived in 11 different countries but calls the Caribbean island of Nevis home. A qualified PADI Dive Master, keen runner and culinary enthusiast. She also has a penchant for crunchy almond butter.