Years back I was constantly struggling to find adventure. I had recently gotten back from a seven week stint in Vermont. During that time I was camping in the back country mostly in Mount Elmore State Park. I would spend a forty hour work week maintaining the various hiking trails in the park.
There, my coworkers and I spent our free time chasing raccoons, making fires, cooking and eating meals together, connecting with one another. At the end of the seven weeks we said goodbye and a fellow camper and I set off on a road trip eager to avoid the boring life waiting for us at home. Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, Massachusetts, Hunter Mountain and then finally back home. When I got home, I could not find myself stimulated in any way.
Shortly after, I started dating this woman. What is important about her is not that we dated or that we have since broken up. What is important is a gift she gave me once. For Christmas I received something called, “John’s Adventure Book.” The whole idea behind the gift was to remind me that, life is made up of many adventures. Not just the ones that take you to the mountains, the woods, or across the sea. She saw my struggle and gave me permission to see everyday as an adventure.
Everyday can’t be wonderful. Not everyday can strike awe into your heart and change the way you perceive the world. If that was the case, the extraordinary would quickly become ordinary, and more quickly–boring. If there is something that adventure is not, it’s not boring. Boring is the opposite of happiness. Because if you are bored you are not engaged. If you are bored. You are not adventuring enough.
Everyday adventure is simple. Adventure is doing something new. Adventure is trying a new restaurant with friends. Adventure is asking that person out. Adventuring is taking a walk around a new part of the neighborhood. There are an infinite number of adventures waiting within ten minutes of you. My everyday adventure has recently included getting involved in obstacle course races, and performing at an open mic.
What have you done recently that was different and spooky? Maybe you took a dance class. Perhaps you tried a new recipe. Or you read a book by a new author. This is all part of your everyday adventure. Over time these little choices add up to create memories that last, sometimes surprisingly long.
I remember one specific summer night. My friends and I got together to cook s’mores. We do this all the time. Why is this memory special? Because we did something adventurous. Instead of buying Hershey’s Chocolate bar, we bought Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Cadbury Fruit and Nuts, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate. We had the idea to make gourmet s’mores. We never did it again, but we had a great adventure while we did. Seems silly? I disagree.
I disagree because we only have so many pages in the Adventure Book called long term memory. My book consists of hiking to a secluded waterfall in Ghana, putting my feet in the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, climbing hills in search of fossils by my grandfather and, of course, making gourmet s’mores. Undoubtedly the first few are adventurous, so why not the last? People explore to make memories and to experience things. If its memory lasted, is it not an adventure?
I try my best to fill my Adventure Book with tales of the everyday adventure. Tales of the day to day with flare. Who knows which of these little extravaganzas will turn into the thing I remember years from now. I guarantee I do not remember every tiny detail about my time in Ghana or every moment at the Grand Canyon. But I remember gourmet s’mores.
So tell me, what small adventures have you made recently?
John Latona Jr., The Boy with the Bear