“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature,
nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits
in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” – Helen Keller.
When I first read this quote years ago it changed my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but it sewed a seed in my mind that would later help convince me to start my own adventures in travelling.
Seeds of adventure
As a kid I played a lot of video games, my favorite genre of game was a classic RPG (role playing game) where in most cases the game’s hero would be living a normal life in a town, when something unexpected would happen causing him to set out on a quest around the world. He would encounter people, places and experiences beyond his wildest imagination while hoping to fulfill his goal. The best parts about these games were the carefully crafted and vastly intriguing stories that would completely pull me into the experience. Whether I was rescuing a princess from a castle, fighting a dragon on the top of a mountain, exploring a floating village in the sky, or visiting another world, it was always interesting, my own real life felt dull in comparison.
In my early teens I grew a little depressed. Why wasn’t real life like the adventures in the games I had played? Why was I stuck going to school every day, learning about things I didn’t care about (like French class, ugh!) Why doesn’t anything truly interesting ever happen? I distinctly remember a particular night while listening to POD – Youth of the Nation. The line in the song: “There’s got to be more to life than this. There’s got to be more to everything I thought exists!” seemed to really ring true for me.
After that I lived a pretty sheltered life, I got stuck in my comfort zone and was afraid to break out of it. It wasn’t until years later that I read the quote at the top that I decided once and for all that my life would be an adventure.
The adventure mindset
I think the best mindset to have to live a life full of adventure, it to actually see your life as if it was an rpg / adventure video game. This might sound a little delusional at first, but stick with me.
Let’s look at the benefits of thinking of life in this way. How do you play adventure games?
- Being social:
In a game you aren’t afraid to talk to everyone, it’s often useful to talk to everyone you meet to see if they can help you on your quest.
- Trying new things:
You usually try every new experience you encounter, it’s just a game so why not join the local festival, or challenge the fastest hover-boarder in town to a race?
- Achieving your goals:
You aren’t afraid to go for things you want. If you see a cool new sword you want to acquire you’ll go for it, even if it means working hard in other areas of the game.
- Living stress free:
You don’t take things too seriously. You don’t get stressed out when you reached a locked door, or when you run out of arrows, you just go find the key or get new arrows. It’s all fun.
- Not believing in failure:
Failures are unimportant. If you lose at the current boss battle, you just go out to gain more experience, level up and try again. There’s never a need to give up, or a feeling of being a failure.
- Enjoying every step of the journey:
RPG games aren’t about the end result. It’s about enjoying every level and every quest along the way. You focus on living in the present moment rather than waiting for a future happiness.
- Living your values:
When you play a game you aren’t afraid to do what you believe in, even if it goes against the opinions of the other characters. You are in control of your character not anyone else.
- Living fearlessly:
When was the last time you were too afraid to approach the beautiful woman in a game out of fear of rejection, or afraid to stand up to the bully harassing your friend?
Each one of these traits in how you play the game can be applied to make your own life more rich and full of adventure.
One might say that if life is like a game, there’s nothing stopping someone from living in irresponsible or destructive ways. This is because in most games consequences for your actions are usually short lived and you can always hit the reset button if you need to so it’s okay to do stupid things. As long as you keep in mind that in this real life game you only have 1 life, the consequences for any wrong actions are clear and there is no reset button, you won’t live in a stupid way.
I like to take the game analogy a step further in my own life. I personally believe we have an immortal soul that exists outside our current reality and we are merely inhabiting this body for the duration of our lives. In this way it’s as if my soul is the real player, who can not be harmed by the game world, and my physical body is the game character. When my life here is over the game will end and the real me will be able to move on having learned and grown through the fascinating game called human life.
Bringing adventure into your life
I want to bring the topic back to life really being an adventure or nothing. I feel that there’s no middle path, if you aren’t excited, challenged, or intrigued in at least a small way on a given day, then the day might as well not have existed because it was stagnant, it was nothing. The less adventure you have in a single day the less life you lived in that day, the opposite is also true.
After returning from my trip to Thailand, my life again felt a little devoid of adventure. I still did lots of things, saw lots of friends, started learning how to play the guitar but eventually the feeling of emptiness from lack of adventure grew a bit too loud to ignore, so I decided to go tree planting in northern Ontario. The tree planting job turned out to be a bit of a disaster but I was treated to a really cool adventure that was a 24 hours drive away from my home. I met a bunch of interesting people, had really unique experiences, suffered a lot do to the intense work and cold night, had a lot of fun in the weird local towns, and overall had a time I’d never forget. Like I said it ended up being a bit of a disaster and it only lasted 2 weeks… but even though the experience had negative parts I still felt like I had lived more in those 2 weeks than the months before and after the experience.
Obviously the best way to bring adventure into your life is to actually go on an adventure. When I left for china for a year it really did feel like the beginning of an RPG game. It was time for me to embark on my quest, I gathered supplies, said my goodbyes, and left my home town on a journey where I really had no idea what to expect. Now I’m not a hero but I did still have a quest, which is important for any adventure.
My quest of course was personal development.
People aren’t always in the position to travel however, and you don’t have to leave your country for your life to be an adventure. Plan a small road trip with some friends, go somewhere you’ve never been. Go on a bar hopping adventure across down, pick a starting location an ending one and have at least one drink in every bar along the way. While you’re out somewhere have a contest to see who can get the most high fives from strangers! Be spontaneous, avoid the usual places! Set little missions for yourself. Next time at your restaurant order something you’ve never eaten before, take a different route home from work, walk until you get lost and have to ask for directions. Get a video camera and some friends and make a silly little comedy about whatever pops into your head, do something a little dangerous or risky like pool hopping!
Depending on who you are your idea of an adventure will vary but even setting small social challenges like talking to x number of new stranger per day can be a refreshing adventure.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing, ensure you bring at least a little bit of adventure into your daily routine to make every day count.
Let me know in the comments some ways you spice up your life with adventure!