- What is meant by adventurer?
- The (Unlikely Sounding) Solution:
- What comes next?
What is meant by adventurer?
When we think of the term ‘Adventurer’ we often attribute it to the identities and professions of the great pioneers that came before.
Explorers, warriors, leaders, philosophers, astronauts, scientists and their ilk, whom, in the face of uncertainty, braved and overcame outstanding odds, and in doing so etched their names into the pages of history – immortalising their triumphs for eternity.
When contemplating the ‘adventurer spirit’, that seemingly ethereal supply of desire for focussed determination, the tendency is to believe it emerges only within the context of more challenging times.
This isn’t entirely a misguided notion. As human civilisations have developed, our expanded understanding of science and our environment have allowed us to forge new technologies and solutions to a wide berth of problems that have historically plagued us – as such, we’ve eliminated much of the unnecessary risk from our day-to-day existence.
While improving the levels of comfort and convenience in our lives will generally be met with open arms – there will always be that inherently human drive to push out past the parameters of what is ‘safe’, ‘known’ and for want of a better word, ‘normal’.
The Path To Adventure Is One Of Integrity…
While some adventurous activities and dispositions were indeed more celebrated / encouraged at certain points in history – such as the international race to summit Mt Everest, first map the Arctic, or land a man on the moon; we mustn’t forget that many of the greatest achievements born from the efforts of brave, curious adventurers came into being from plain old, risk taking.
Historically, the drive towards and not away from danger, has seen many adventurers not only have to contemplate with gambling their lives against the unpredictable forces and whims of mother nature in the pursuit of their answers and truths – but has often put them at odds with unsympathetic audiences of the same period; those of whom were not ready to entertain such findings.
In spite of possessing the foresight that seizing the adventurer torch could lead to persecution from others, (such as from religious zealots) and would likely single them out for ridicule; at best – outcast from the very communities they wished to positively contribute to, at worst – lead to imprisonment or execution; answer the call, they did.
The Adventurer Spirit – Active or Dormant, it is always present within us all…
Therefore, in this sense, the adventurer spirit is not confined by the presence or absence of ‘the right conditions’ or the nurture provided from a specific ‘historical era’ or ‘movement’.
Personally, I see the concept of ‘the adventurer’ as the source. A free moving, fluid identity imprinted on each of us, even if in a dormant state.
It would be difficult to argue that as vessels (with varying individual capacities for harnessing/nurturing that essence) – that we have altogether lost this spirit in spite of a lower calling to embrace it in our modern world of convenience. Why? Because it is woven within the very fabric that forms our human psyche and the DNA that is responsible for our evolution as a species.
Whether it is our impulse to stretch out beyond our physical surroundings, to build up a better picture of the world around us, or to forge new alliances with those we encounter along the way – the fundamental aspect of this deeply human condition is inscribed in our spirit to enrich our understanding, to advance civilisation, to push past our individual limitations and to reconnect with what makes us, well…us.
Adventurer Spirit – A Force Multiplier?
But when we consider the plethora of avenues and routes that this ‘adventurer spirit’ may take, we should be reminded that it is also a great equaliser. While it can individually distinguish us from the pack, it can also be the quality that bridges divide, unifying us with others.
‘Adventurer acts’, those of pushing past the confines of the ‘norm’ often inspire others as much as they create a sense of awe. This form of enhanced connection is what many mountaineers/hikers/nomads/warriors experience as they interact with those that they encounter during their travels.
It is this inspirational quality that I believe is there to raise our capability as a species. During the early days of mankind’s existence, seeing/reading/hearing of an individual do something previously deemed impossible trail-blazed the way for others to try.
This is how we managed to map our planet, develop life-saving medicine, chart the stars etc. and it is how we will likely reach and populate other planets in the future.
The Obstacles In The Way…
We currently live in a world where that desire to push past our own personal limitations gets easily muted. In developed nations, our campaign of convenience has seen us successfully divorce ourselves from nature, from agriculture and, in our urban dwellings, from one another.
The wonders of the internet and its spin-off spawn technologies such as social media have tricked us into believing we are experiencing the world first-hand when, in reality, it is a lens that masks and dulls our senses. All too often our seemingly most meaningful travel destinations arrive to us by scrolling, swiping and typing to interact with a world that is curated for us.
I mention this because it is one of the main forces that inhibits our adventurer spirit. By pretending that we are indeed witnessing and sensing the real world around us – it satiates our appetite for adventure.
We watch a film, read a blog, are invited to comment on something we have seldom encountered for ourselves directly, and are encouraged to speak about it with authority if we wish to be taken seriously. Asking questions and admitting that we lack the information to make a definitive call on something has become perceived as weakness.
Sadly, we no longer feel the lack of having not caught up with friends or family because some part of us is kept up-to-date through social media of their activities – thereby rendering true 1:1 contact, unnecessary – and in the same fashion we have found ourselves annexed from the world.
The (Unlikely Sounding) Solution:
As part of a modern, developed society, we cannot realistically remove ourselves from all technological progress, no matter how much we may wish to from time to time. Those of us longing for an off-grid life would unlikely be willing to sacrifice all of the 20th/21st century time-saving solutions that make our day-to-day chores easier and more efficient.
Few people would be willing to become cave dwellers again simply to reconnect with the land.
So, a solution which ignores all that we have come to enjoy as the fruits of previous labours and the result of adventurous risks undertaken by our forefathers would be both ill-advised and disingenuous.
While the saying “There’s no such thing as free cheese in a mouse trap” is true, perhaps we can use the lure of the ‘cheese’ to motivate us to tap into the adventurer mindset and better reconnect with the world around us.
It doesn’t have to be as grand a task as trying to map uncharted ground (though the challenge of finding uncharted territory in today’s world may prove to be one of the most taxing endeavours).
One extremely powerful drive that we all possess is that of self-preservation. Our adventurer traits are after all, largely derived from our desire to survive, with our technological ingenuity and problem-solving, the offspring from our urge to thrive.
Therefore, if we take a compelling (even negative), existing modern drive and re-purpose that as the delivery vehicle to create a bridge between our demotivated state, and our itch to put into effect our call to adventure – we might just stand to gain by giving ourselves the fighting chance to satisfy such cravings; in a way that makes sense within the context of today’s world.
Combining The Practical With The Ambitious:
So let us use the primal draw to ‘survive’ and marry that with ‘consumerism’ as its delivery method (the cheese) – albeit this time, with a discerning eye that can ‘read between the lines’ ignoring the PR, the false claims and hyperbole along the way.
By doing so, we can combine the best of both worlds; fusing the drive to consume with the desire to educate, inform – becoming better at recognising true value, the skills required to craft and via this appreciation and knowledge, better reconnect with the manufacture processes involved, sparking the push to reduce the need to waste and in turn, dialling down the world’s response to create meaningless, resource-heavy products that detract rather than add value to our lives.
If we do this, we can reshape our consumer world – while at the same time stoking the flames for and reintroducing adventure back into our lives.
What comes next?
In the weeks to come I shall be introducing some fresh content that is ‘Adventurer’ specific.
From survival gear guides, to recommended reading lists, digital content producers that are putting out worthy information to whet your adventurous appetite, preparedness tips and tricks to make you more resilient to shifting political, economic and global forces, communication hacks to allow you to better improve the odds of forming valued connections with others as well as identifying new skills as well as the reanimation of almost forgotten ones – to meet new challenges on the horizon.
Hope you’re in this for the long haul? There’s lots to cover and plenty to be excited about!