Why I live for adventure
Adventure is something I'm pretty passionate about, although this may surprise many of you. As someone fundamentally opposed to exercise (this is a girl who will forever be hounded by doctors for asthma checkups because she asked for an inhaler when she was 8 because she was overweight), who's terrified of any extremes, and who's taken a pretty safe route from childhood to adolescence, adventure seems to have hardly carved my life before now. I’ve no scars or broken bones from any wild athletic escapades (I’ve actually no scars or broken bones at all, period, apart from a chicken pox scar on my left cheek and a mole removal), I’ve had no gap-yah subtropical experiences, and all of my decisions are pre-meditated by at least 7 layers of anxious decision-making, with nothing off the cuff or as a spur of the moment. So how the hell can I make the audacious claim that I’m passionate about adventure?
Well, folks, I’m talking about adventure in a different way. Think of it as a more romanticised notion of adventure, if you’re being polite, or a more twee version if you’re not in the mood for niceties. Adventure in the sense of an unusual or exciting experience or activity – which is the dictionary definition, with the ‘typically hazardous’ clause removed. (See Exhibit A). Adventure in this way, I think, is best summed up by one of my favourite literary lines ever (trés twee, FYI, so if you get a twee twinge like I get a second hand embarrassment cringe then cover your eyes now):
It’s taking every day as the potential to be an adventurous day and hold exciting things, and making those things count.
Now I’m not going to turn this into some patronising girlboss-y spiel about carpeing the diem or saying yes to every single freelance gig you’re ever offered and drinking 8 black coffees an hour until you bleed black coffee because that’s how I got to the top or anything, but it is worth thinking about as what I call a lifestyle lens. (Lifestyle lens, noun – a way of looking at life that may or may not change your perspective or ability to see).
In moments of frustration or when I’m fedup, my ever-patient and wonderful boyfriend will ask what’s wrong, and then what we can do to make it better. Nine times out of ten, I’ll say that I want to have more adventures, closely followed by ‘I want 5 jam doughnuts’. This is usually when I’ve been really stressed with work, beating out deadlines at the typewriter (my laptop) by candlelight (by lovely lamplight) night after night after night, or when I’ve eaten absolute rubbish for days, or when I’m not feeling great and the world just seems against me. At times like this, I do lose sight of adventure, because I don’t do anything typically adventurous, hazardous or thrillseeking.
When I’m in a better mood, however, everything can—and does—seem like an adventure. I’m lucky enough to live in Zone 1 London, so adventure is quite literally on my doorstep. There’s pop-ups, exhibitions, galleries, world exclusives, markets, fairs, and parks in every single direction that I could explore. Whether I do my research (TimeOut u ma boy) or I just take a portable phone charger and head in a direction, I’m stepping out of my Normal Day. It doesn’t even have to be the uncovering of some grand immersive typically London experience either, or on the other end of the spectrum something so un-London that it’s a haven – no, it can just be that I finally trek 70 minutes to find that candyfloss-ice-cream combo I’ve seen so much online. It’s a little adventure, sure, but it is an adventure in the grand scheme of things. It’s unusual, and it’s exciting, and – TWEE ALERT TWEE ALERT – more often than not so’s the journey, not just the destination!!! Bet you’ve never heard that chestnut before!!!!
My journey method hierarchy goes a little something like this:
- Walking – because you get to experience every little bit of the journey
- Bus – because you get to see it and hear it but you miss out on the smells and the really living it
- Tube – because this is an experience in itself
- Bike – Return to Exhibit A, I am not athletic and also don’t want to die
because it’s just so bloody exciting. Many moons ago (June) I favoured a two hour commute to a 9am starting job because I got to walk through so many different neighbourhoods and see so many different things. It is an adventure in itself, sometimes, and I’m very grateful for that.
Now, I know I said I wasn’t going to turn this into a patronising spiel – and I’m still intending not to – but I am going to use it as a defence against the smirky tweeters who take the piss out of people who call going to McDonalds at 2am ‘an adventure’. You know the score – people do Thing, Thing gets popular, people taking the mickey out of people doing The thing becomes more popular than people doing the Thing itself, life is a parody. Well, people on social media claiming they wanted adventure soon became outnumbered by armies of people laughing at them for claiming they want adventure then calling a 2am McDonalds outing an adventure. Instead, I’m here to salute you.
If you see the little detours from your everyday routine as exciting, then you’ve still got a spark, and if you want to go after these detours more and more, then you’ve got magic, and that’s all you need. That’s all adventure is: something unusual, and exciting. So yes, I love adventure, and it guides my everyday. No scars to show for it, no severe South American mugging stories to show for it, no serious dip in my funds to account for it (well not for any one specific adventure, it’s more just a dull, constant low). Take pleasure in the little things, and you’ll be constantly venturing and adventuring.
P.S. Although it seems like a complete non-sequiteur and I can’t believe how millennial I sound saying it, instagram is so good for crafting adventures if you want to have some more but don’t know where to look. Follow accounts that showcase hidden or forgotten corners of your city – some of my favourites are @londonispink, @prettycitylondon & @londoncoffeeshops – or regularly keep on top of hashtags that encourage the Class 2 Adventure, such as #Petitejoys or #wandeleursparks. Alternatively, be inspired by uberspecific hashtags, such as #ihavethisthingwithwalls, #lookupmore or #ihavethisthingwithfloors (if you’re even more daring, try #selfeet, although this opens up a whoooooole other branch of adventure.) Seeing the kind of things that other people get from their daily adventures can be v v inspiring.) Whilst you're there, follow us on Instagram too!