Author Topic: What really is Adventure?  (Read 20939 times)

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Offline PAdkins

What really is Adventure?
« on: June 10, 2004, 08:53:58 pm »
Everyone has a different view on what adventure is. Whether you are a desk jockey on a first-time ride to the grocery store to carry back your weekly staples or a world traveler who gets the bug to bike Siberia in the winter, you understand the idea of the unknown. The unknown is what adventure is all about. Adventure is not knowing what will come up next. Preparing for adventure is difficult. How can you know what to bring for the unknown? Every adventure seems to inspire another. You just keep building on what you learned the last time. Some steps are bigger than others.

What do you forum members think? What makes adventure so darn fun? Does adventure always involve risk? Does adventure imply danger? Does adventure mean going beyond your comfort zone? Is it a spiritual experience? Let's explore what adventure means to people from around the globe and from all walks of life.

Paul Adkins
Adventure Cycling Association

This message was edited by Webmaster on 6-16-04 @ 3:11 PM
Paul Adkins
Adventure Cycling Association


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What really is Adventure?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2004, 02:56:16 am »

I can say that I do not equate adventure with risk or danger...beyond the slight but omnipresent chance that I'll be run over by a dump truck. Also, the thought of "adventure" cycling thru a third world country holds no interest with me.

With respects to Lance Armstrong, it really is about the bike. I've logged many thousands of touring miles over the years...all of them in North America. The one aspect that sticks in my mind is the actual, physical act of cycling. I simply love to ride my bicycle. Self-contained touring has provided the freedom to ride long in and day out.

I don't feel that comfort, by default, is a deterrent to adventure. After a long ride, I'd be quite content with a warm shower, a pizza and a beer. The feeling of adventure is more internalized with me...if that makes any sense.


Offline JayH

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2004, 11:29:02 am »
Adventure does not always equate risk, but just the fact of living by the moment.  I have an old shirt from The North Face company that has a view of some mountain range with the words below it "Never stop exploring".  I really like it because that is what life is to me. We are put on this world for such a short time, that there are always someplace to go, some people to meet, and go explore. That, in a nutshell is adventure to me.  Adventure is enjoying the best and the worst of life and being able to deal with both. Living in NYC could be adventure to folks from the country or vice versa. Cycling the Karakorum could be an adventure.  Going to the mall can be an adventure (to some! :)) Everybody has his or her adventure and that is one of the appeal.

Nice thread!  :)


Offline dombrosk

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2004, 04:26:42 pm »
Nice question!  I suspect that many people are pondering what they might say in response.
For me, it's not primarily about danger and discomfort, although I can appreciate how risk can be alluring for some folks.  Me, I don't even like roller coasters...  :)
When I think about adventures, I remember hiking out onto a point in Newfoundland following an old cart track- coming upon a beached iceberg bigger than a house, of biking up WA-20 in the early morning with no idea of how far up the pass was, of walking into a high school classroom full of 9th graders at age 46 on my first day on the job as a teacher, of waking up this morning and wondering what's going to happen today.
For me, adventure is a sense of openness, a willingness to be fully connected to life, an invitation to be surprised by what comes next.
And somehow, adventure seems to always be part of every ride, every time I get on my bike!

Offline bloom1naz

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2004, 03:17:51 pm »
Adventure is . . .

. . .spending over a grand on a bicycle when my car only cost $600.00.

. . .meeting a bunch of strangers from some cycling club for my first club ride and being welcomed like an old friend.

. . . having my first flat tire (on a road bike) and trying to figure out how to get air into a stupid presta valve.

. . . walking my bike back home because I'm too stupid to figure out this stupid valve.

. . . planning my first point to point solo century.

. . . living vicariously through the journals of others who have attempted trans am rides.

. . . having something to daydream about that matters to and depends upon no one but me :  the next ride.

Offline EarthSurfer

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2004, 11:17:50 pm »
I always like the concise definition: Adventure - an undertaking in which the outcome is uncertain.  I think I first heard this definition from Sir Chris Bonnington, the mountaineer.  

Still, that definition fails to capture some of the essence of the experience.  Adventure is associated with "adrenaline moments" -- whether the cause is physical danger or uncertainty.    

Finally, there is an element of adventure that calls one to live at a different level.  I don't quite know how to describe this.  When I am at the beginning of an "adventure" there is an element of faith that the myriad of challenges I will face can be handled.  The singleness of purpose deliniates the world into two categories: helps and hindrances.  (Ok, I admit I came from a fundamentalist Christian background.)


Offline cidhandyman

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2004, 03:45:21 am »
This is a good question.  I ponder the thought of where I should go next and how to best prepare myself for the inevitable challenges I will face out on the road.  Being an african american bicyclist I am viewed a little differently.  I see other cyclists and I admire the welcome feelings they give one another. Often times I seek the same welcome but it isnt always there.  Cycling for me is a catalyst for change.  It shows others who arent distinctly aware of our presence in cycling that we too enjoy getting out, conquering hills and meeting new people in the great outdoors.  I look forward to seeing things on my bike.  It gets much better mileage than my truck and all of my stress just fades away with each passing hill.  I do my best thinking while pedaling.  I tend to liken bicycling with self discovery.  If you allow your mind to release while you pedal you will be that much more free when you hang it up for the night.  Adventure is about allowing yourself to discover more in this world without the predestined confines of work, home and your common social networks.  When was the last time you took in a sunset across town and looked down to discover you got there under your own power without burning any fuel?  A slower pace is what we need nowadays.  It will lengthen your life considerably.  Just slow down and relish the savory aspect of bicycling and you to will know what adventure is.

May everyone keep cycling and discovering more at each turn in the road.


Keep pedaling

Julian H.

Offline cmalley

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2004, 03:51:37 am »
My working definition of "Adventure" comes from the man
himself, Willie Wier. From his Nov/Dec 2000 column in
Adventure Cyclist magazine: "Adventures are many, many
things... but they are never planned. Trips are planned.
Adventure is what happens when the plan takes a detour." (see the article)
Add to that this footnote: "...attitude is the difference between
an ordeal and an adventure", from Lisa Fronc of Bare Naked

So for me, adventure is postive experience caused by a
deviation from the expected to the unexpected.

This message was edited by Webmaster on 8-11-04 @ 12:16 PM

Offline WillieWeir

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2004, 08:26:34 pm »
Paul Adkins emailed me awhile ago and mentioned that the question "What is adventure?" was being discussed in the Adventure Cycling Forum. That inspired me to have that question be the topic of my August column in Adventure Cyclist magazine. If you aren't a member (and you should be) and don't get the magazine, below is the link to my column.

Do you agree with my views? Disagree?  

This forum is a chance for members and other adventure cyclists (who rarely get to meet one another) to share views, thoughts, opinions, and dreams.

Let's hear them! And thanks for taking the time to participate.

--Willie Weir

This message was edited by WillieWeir on 8-12-04 @ 4:32 PM
Willie Weir
Adventure Travel Writer & Speaker

Offline rootchopper

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2004, 01:55:08 pm »
Willie hit the nail on the head when he said adventure is when you go out of your comfort zone.  I commute by bike over 100 times a year, but last night's ride was an adventure.  At 4 I checked the doppler radar on my computer and saw an immense storm approaching. My wife offered me a ride home but I turned her down. Waiting it out was pointless, so I took off into the maelstrom.

I had to stop 4 times because I couldn't see!  As I passed through Old Town Alexandria, the bright lights of TV crews blinded me as they filmed the crews sandbagging the storefronts near the Potomac River.  Streets and the Mount Vernon Trail were overflowing with water.  Creeks were way over their banks.  And thunder and lightning added to the drama.

After well over 90 minutes (it normally takes me only 65 to ride home) of doing battle with the elements, I arrived home to find nearly a foot of water in my backyard.  

Ordinarily I really like my commute (worss I'm sure you don;t hear everyday) but last night was a blast.  When I finally finished wiping down my bike, I realized that I was exhausted.  

Next week I'm riding across upstate New York.  I can't shape this feeling of excitement and trepidation.  I feel another adventure coming on.

Offline Dan&Linda

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2004, 02:07:51 pm »
Bilbo Baggins, when about to be invited on an Adventure by Gandalf, said it best:  "We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures.  Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner!"

We got a late start out of Charlottesville.  Partly because we were exhausted by the climbs coming into town, and party by the 4 AM knock on our motel room door, "Can I come in and hide from the police?"
The climb up to the Blue Ridge Parkway was a struggle.  We had 70 pounds of stuff on our tandem, and weren't used to hills, let alone mountains.  And we forgot about June Curry's place -- don't ask how.

We had driven that part of the Parkway before, but 8% grades on a bicycle are different.  We crawled up each hill.  It didn't help that the restaurant at the junction of the Parkway and US 250 was closed, and Pepsi can carry you only so far.  

By 10 PM, we were still miles from our intended goal for that day, the Tye River Campground on the way down to Vesuvius.  We rode on by the light of the almost full moon, with Jupiter and Venus bright.  Steve ("Bones") and Andrea came by, twice, insisted on helping us find a place to camp, and helped us pitch the tent in their car's headlights.  Except for a few drunken kids and a very persistent whippoorwill, we slept.

Yes, that's adventure.  "Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner!"  

Dan Vinson

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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What really is Adventure?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2004, 05:17:11 am »
Adventure is not knowing what's around the next bend, but proceeding on, regardless. I think some supported trips can be adventurous, such as those offered by Western Spirit, or some of the Adventure Cycling self-supporting trips. Even with two guides, two interpreters, and two militia (police) officers riding with us, riding in Karelia (NW Russia) was the greatest adventure I've ever ridden, but riding alone in the Chippewa or Superior National Forest, even on familiar trails can becom an adventure, epecially when I see a wolf watching me, or a bear walking on the trail I need to go down. Every ride can be an adventure. How you deal with it is the key.

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol-MN
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery

Offline flynnster

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2004, 12:37:00 am »
Adventure is feeling a sense of freedom in your heart that
makes you feel a sense electricity all over your body.  
Echoes of doing something  unsafe, new, and not knowing
what's around the corner come to my mind.   Being alone
always helps that adventurous feeling ring out through your
body.  I remember hiking the appalachian trail and getting my
wallet stolen leaving the group of guys I hiked with and
hichhiking and hiking from Vermont back to Jersey and back,
that felt exciting and bizarre at the same time.  What does not
make me think of adventure are words like "Catering, cold
beer or anything for that matter that gives a sense of safety.
"Many men cannot see the open Road"  Led Zep...   It is our
job to show them!!!

Offline burleyrider

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2004, 05:01:14 pm »
I do not think Adventure can be bound by words. It is a feeling, an
impulse, a trail. I think it is different things to different people. Around
here, riding in traffic at all is an adventure that tests nerves' endurance.

Really though adventure is discovering. Discovering the self's limits on
emotional and physical planes.



Offline MrBent

What really is Adventure?
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2004, 12:38:00 am »
The uncertainty of the outcome is a part of adventure.  The degree of the uncertainty dictates the magnitude of the adventure: more uncertainty equals more adventure.  Uncertainty exists on a broad spectrum, ranging from "What's around that corner?" to "Christ! I'm gonna die!"  I'm an adrenaline junkie from way back--mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing--and I've had plenty of pretty deep adventures.  I'd have to agree with Willie on this one: the most meaningful adventures come when we are outside our comfort zones.  When I crossed the Mojave desert on a solo tour and saw a sign, "Next Services 72 Miles," THAT was outside my comfort zone.  But as we all do, I checked my water supplies and put one pedal in front of another and let the wild landscape unfurl under my wheels.

Ride on...

Scott--a different one!