A Sense of Adventure
an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.
Someone once said to me: "You're not adventurous". Admittedly, the words stung.
After replaying them over and over again in my mind I eventually got to thinking: "What exactly does adventure mean?" An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity (as per Dictionary.com). Well, I thought, remove the typically hazardous part and I've certainly done things that have been unusual and exciting - there was that time I was fortunate enough to explore the ruins of Xunantunich practically by myself, the day I snorkeled among the absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful coral reef on the coast of Roatan, and the short but cherished time I was able to spend in one of the most remote places I've ever been visited, Greenland. Sure, I'm adventurous.
Or am I?
Since I started this website three years ago, I've discovered that in the world of travel blogging, and even in the travel industry itself, the word "adventure" has been marketed and exploited beyond belief. Splashed across magazine spreads, added to blog posts, and pinned to your Travel Pinterest board, you'll find the call to adventure seemingly everywhere.
I can't pinpoint when this started happening, but somehow the idea of an adventure has become synonymous with just packing your bags one day and going somewhere to do anything, which is an incredibly romantic notion of travel that much of the industry capitalizes on. A blog post about simply going for a walk down some cobblestone streets in Italy and discovering a fantastic gelato place has become an "adventure". As a writer I'm guilty of describing some of my own travel experiences in this way. I'm sure if you look hard enough (or not that hard, actually) you'll find examples of this type of language in several articles here on Sidetracked.
As a traveler and travel blogger, I always considered myself to be adventurous. Sure, I've never been the type to go bungee jumping or trek to Everest base camp, but I often feel a sense of adventure, especially when I first arrive in a new destination. But after some thought, I've come to the conclusion that the real adventurers - the true adventurers if you will - are the mountaineers conquering never before climbed peaks, researchers going to the bottom of the ocean, astronauts heading out for a mission into space. To me, real adventure is setting out into the unknown.
As for the rest of us? We're just incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to travel. So perhaps we can give the word "adventure" some rest for a while. I certainly will try here on Sidetracked. What do you think?