Reflections & Updates

Adventure: What does it mean to have an Adventure? and What does it Give Us?

What does it mean to have an adventure? There are stories of individuals that go on these marvelous trips around the world that we call adventures. There are also times when we go on extended trips that we consider to be very exciting. Then you have people like me who are interested in the idea of adventure therapy where we create challenges and invoke risk types of experiences so that individuals are able to learn and grow from these experiences. But that leaves the question what is adventure? The dictionary talks about adventure in the following way:

Adventure: noun exciting or very unusual experience.

2.participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises:

the spirit of adventure.

3.a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertainoutcome.

4.a commercial or financial speculation of any kind; venture

verb(usedwithobject), adventured, adventuring.


7.totakethechanceof;dare. venture to say or utter:to adventure an opinion.

The definition that stands out to me is “participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.” Something exciting that is risky and can contain some hazards. The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and other great fantasy stories contain these journeys. The challenge I believe we face everyday is determining whether we are living our own adventure the way we would like to. Adventure is not only in my opinion a journey that is risky and having uncertain outcomes but they also create some of the greatest learning experiences that you can think of. For example, in a recent TED Talk Fabien Cousteau elaborated on what adventures can mean for us. “In 1963, Jacques Cousteau lived for 30 days in an underwater laboratory positioned on the floor of the Red Sea, and set a world record in the process. This summer, his grandson Fabien Cousteau broke that record. Cousteau the younger lived for 31 days aboard the Aquarius, an underwater research laboratory nine miles off the coast of Florida.” (If you are interested in his talk see the embedded video below)

When thinking about Fabien Cousteau’s adventure we can break it down into a couple of parts. He had a need to learn more about his environment, he acted on that need, he went on an adventure, and he learned from the experience. This cycle is something that we go through every single day in our lives. Sometimes however our adventures are merely going from home to work and back home again. This monotony changes the adventure into a structured non-risky experience. When we include a comfortable amount of risk into our experiences we are able to learn a lot about ourselves. This can come from taking karate lessons, yoga classes, going on a hiking trip, exploring a museum, helping feed the hungry at soup kitchen, etc.

No matter the experience if we are able to go outside ourselves and focus on an experience that can challenge us, renew us, and help direct us to a new lesson then we are able to gain something priceless and very valuable: knowledge. What is your next adventure? Will you go on a hiking trip? Will you help those in need? What comfortable risk will you take in order to learn more about yourself?

The next question after the adventure is: What are you going to do with that knowledge?


Adventure. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved November 26, 2014, from website:

Cousteau, F. (October 2014). “What I learned from spending 31 days underwater”. Retrieved November 26, 2014, from website:


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