Why Do We Seek Adventure?

Who am I to talk?

I posed the following to the American Adventurist community:

If adventure is a sliding scale of “looking for trouble/challenges/obstacles,” why do you seek it out? In other words, if the journey is the destination, why would you set a course for such a challenging destination?

This is a sampling of what they had to say. It was all awesome. These are our people. Adventurists like us.

NOTE: All images used on this post are stock photos from Pixabay selected to give you an idea what kind of photography we’re after for your article submissions. (Yes. This is your adventure magazine. You are invited to pitch us stories. Ping us for more information.)

Hard to say why

Malamute: It’s hard to say why. It just seems a compulsion at times—a natural draw. For others, they don’t understand why some seek adventure. I don’t know if I can really describe the why part for me.

Why don’t you?

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Jesse: There are so many reasons.

Both Debbie and I grew up in the small logging town of Colville,WA. Her father ran a logging company and she would often go out with him on jobs while growing up, spending a lot of time exploring the outdoors. My father, on the other hand, was a forester working for the state in the same town, then in his retirement as an interpretive guide for several national parks over the years. While I didn’t go out with him on the job, we did spend a lot of time outdoors hiking and camping. Through our fathers we both learned a love of the outdoors and adventure.

Fast forward 30 years after leaving town, we both work in the tech industry and spend our weekdays driving desks, our kids have all moved out, and we live in suburbia. So now we spend our weekends and vacations seeking both the outdoor adventures we had as kids and at the same time seeing the places we’ve always dreamed of. Not only outdoors, but most of it.

Growing up, I would often mention how I wanted to go somewhere or do something. My father would simply respond with “So, why don’t you?” With that question, the unobtainable became plans, then became attainable, then became action, then became reality.

I guess it all boils down to escape, adventure, exploration, inspiration, and curiosity.

International bribery & corruption

view of a small town, church

Phoenix: I work in international bribery and corruption. My day job is dry, my family life is fairly active, but not too many surprises. I realize I should thank God and my wife for the lack of surprises in this category.

I live in a 21st century Mayberry. Yes we actually have annual block parties. If I don’t put some challenges in my life, I’m not challenged. Who wants to live a life that doesn’t involve learning new things, having experiences outside the norm, or stretching your capabilities? All of these things help to make my life fuller, and better prepared to handle surprises.

The pure sense of living

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Buckwilk: There was a time when life was an adventure every day. Early man lived a serious adventure just in order to survive. For me, that adrenaline rush has been an important part of my life. When undertaking a risk my senses peak, my attention heightens, my brain fires. I can feel the blood in my veins, the call on my body. A big part of adventure is fear and all that entails. Facing and overcoming fear is an absolute blast. Very little in life compares.

I remember the first time I jumped from a slick, took fire, buried my face as far as it would go in the mud. Prayed that if I got out of this alive I would… Maybe you know the drill? The pure sense of living, of breathing, of surviving made my life exciting. Lived it for 5 tours in C.A. Chased that feeling ever since.

Found it on big walls in Yosemite, waves on the north shore, cliff jumping at Squaw Valley. Hang gliding the face at Heavenly Valley, diving out of airplanes, driving most every trail in the Sierra with some of the best folks ever. Wheels under and one in front of you, friends and family along, adventure shared, what’s not to love?



RoamingRobertsons: In a word, escape.

I get plenty of interaction everyday with a wide variety of people but many are self-centered jackholes. I look for adventure for relaxation and to escape the jackholes. Think of the obstacles as barriers for those people. The more obstacles, whether physical barrier or something as simple as cellular service, the more likely I am to find peace.

It also appears much of the good stuff to see takes some effort to get to it. As a result, when I encounter people, they tend to be like-minded, reasonable people seeking the same thing as I and appreciating the same things as I. Thus, whether I am alone or at an organized event of like-minded individuals, I can escape nonetheless.

Overcoming obstacles


4x4x4doors: For the same reasons one plays a board game.

There is self-satisfaction in confronting the obstacle, analyzing the alternatives and finding one that allows you to get to the next piece of the adventure with the knowledge of the latest challenge overcome. Unlike a RPG, you’re dealing with real life-sized playing pieces and characters.

What if?

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Dean: For the sake of the new. Exploring new places. Seeing new things. Accumulating new experiences. Meeting new people. Developing new skills. None of those things can happen from the safety of home.

We live in a commercially driven consumeristic society that is hell bent on the accumulation of monetary wealth. Maybe it’s the philosopher or the poet inside me, but I think there’s more to life than stuff and that the measure of a man has nothing to do with the size of his bank account. Consequently too many people become rooted in their location and question the sanity of those without roots. I’ve lived in a lot of places, that variety has added to the breadth and depth of my experiences and knowledge. It’s shaped me into who I am. The more I travel the more I grow. I’m not lost, I’m exploring. I’m discovering. I’m discovering just as much about myself as I am the world around me.

Far too often we sit and wonder ‘what if?’ I got tired of that. I realized I was growing more uncomfortable with my complacency (see above) than I was fearing the unknown. I decided that I wanted to seek out those ‘what if’ moments and answer them. What lies down that dusty old road? Let’s find out. What if I take a month long trip down the coast? Let’s find out. What lies just over that horizon…

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It’s personal

Dave: I think adventure means different things to different people. It’s personal.

For me, I love extremes of terrain and climate and weather. I love a physical challenge (thus my military career) as well as an intellectual challenge. I flog my truck across vast landscapes challenging it and myself as I search out new places – and revisit old ones again and again because they speak to me. And when it sucks because the terrain is rough or there is weather, I feel alive.

Adventure is sharing these challenges with friends and seeing the light in their eyes as they see these places for the first time, when I see that they too feel the passion, the mania, that I have for these extremes of clime and place.

Adventure is many things to me. A new trail, a new vista, a hidden oasis. Something as improbable as finding Koi fish in a hidden pond near Death Valley where they should not be, or millions of flowers in a barren desert.

Adventure is a feeling. It’s an addiction. It’s when you zig when you should have zagged only to find out that you’ve just stumbled upon the perfect campsite or viewpoint and now your entire schedule and the weekend’s priorities have been rearranged because this new place requires it. It requires you to stay, to grok all that it is, to linger and drink it in. To abide.

Adventure is getting hammered by an unexpected storm and saying to yourself in a panic “Oh shit, we’re not prepared,” and then jury-rigging a way to get through it with a smile, looking back on the hilarity of your predicament and the way everyone came together with pride.

Adventure happens. Seek it. Embrace it. Because when you’re not having any adventures, life has no flavor. The ensuing ennui is unbearable, driving us up and out there once more to get our fix.

That’s what Adventure means to me.

It’s all been said


TheCelt: It’s all been said. It’s all that’s been said in the post[s] above.

I don’t really like a lot of people A-holes, jerks, you get the point. I’ve grown up as a military kid going here and there, and I’ve grown very tired and sick of the city life. I want to be far away from it. The time we (son & me) spend in the mountains is pure it’s uncluttered with the noise. It’s pure bliss I can see my boy is in his elements out in the woods. My adventure is family time as I work out of town most of the time, weeks and months at a time home every weekend it’s time for my family.

Time is running out

RAX: You only have so many years. Why not see everything you can in that time?

McDowra: To experience a freedom that most never will have a clue about.

Team Balls Out: New places and the great escape!

Chase the horizon


RoamingTimber: To escape, to run for the horizon, to see the vast expanses, the open spaces, the places where the earth still rules man, where survival rests on my own skills, where life exists in each moment as it happens, where the air is pure, the water cold and clear, to live.

“What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.” – George Mallory 1922

goin camping: I just want to see what’s over that hill or around that corner.

Kevin probably said it best

Kevin: Because it is there.

See all the responses in the original thread on American Adventurist forums.

Ten Lessons Overlanding has Taught Us

1. Experience over build.

With all overlanders, the thing that allows us to pursue our endeavors and dreams is our rig. Some are simple, and some are lavish, beautiful, and built to the nines. One thing overlanding has taught us is that those spending their time and money on the rig tend to have less of both for the adventure itself. Overlanding has taught us that, when building an overland rig, never lose sight of what is important; something functional that will support the adventure ahead.

2. Appreciate the moment.

Sometimes in the rush of life we lose sight of the moment. We tend to not be able to separate work and play. This can sometimes let us lose focus of enjoying the moment, enjoying the journey. Take your time, take a breath, and stop to enjoy the scenery.

3. Patience.

You may have heard the phrase “Slow is steady, steady is key.” We have learned to not only apply this to driving trails—so we do not damage our equipment—but to life as well. Taking our time and enjoying the subtle nuances we encounter every day is something I have learned to do over the years. Stop and enjoy that sunset outside of your office or home. It may be that bit of beauty that makes your day.


4. Roll with the punches.

Things don’t always go as planned. We learned this lesson the hard way on a trip to South Dakota in 2015—after spending the most miserable night of our lives in the backcountry next to our stuck rig. We failed to “roll with the punches” and enjoy the amazing scenery we were totally immersed in. Never let a less than ideal situation dictate your attitude.

5. Don’t let fear hold you back.

Sometimes the fear of planning a trip or getting out into the wild can cause you to scale down or not venture into the unknown. Allowing fear to infect you is counterproductive to the adventurist mindset. Now, don’t go blindly and unprepared into the middle of a situation you are uncomfortable with “in the name of adventure,” but simply push yourself out of your comfort zone and experience something new.

6. Preparation is key.

Always be prepared. Being prepared will allow you to relax and enjoy your time on your adventure. Whether it be emergency meals for when your stove stops working, extra fuel for when you get a “little turned around,” or recovery gear for when you inevitably get stuck—having the ability to adapt to each situation will allow you to enjoy yourself no matter what happens.


7. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Let each place you have the privilege of visiting only be compared to itself. Each place is going to be totally different. Don’t allow past experiences with other destinations to cloud your opinion of a new place. Once you start doing that you will lose sight of what is important—enjoying the moment.

8. Be passionate!

Allow your passion to be seen in everything you do. Get involved in the community! Don’t let people tell you what you are doing is dumb or a waste of time. Apply this logic to every aspect of your life! Live with passion and share that passion with everyone you meet. You never know when someone may be influenced to try something new due to infectious passion.

9. The greatest adventures are the ones close to home.

We all know of the trips around the world or to a far off destination. This can sometimes overwhelm the adventure seeker, thinking that they have to visit some amazingly lavish destination for some absurd amount of time. You don’t have to travel around the world to have an adventure. Some of the best trips can be within your own state or right out your back door.


10. Respect your destination like your home.

Always respect the destination you choose to visit as if it were your home. After all it is someone or something’s home. It’s the oldest idea in the game and one of the most preached—pack in what you pack out. While I agree with that statement, what life and overlanding has shown me is that not everyone follows these lessons. My philosophy is simply this, “leave every place you visit better because you were there.” This directly translates into everyday life. If we all left the places we visit every day better off than when we got there this world would be a better place.