I love a great adventure. And I’m not just talking about travel. Why is it we often make adventure synonymous with travel? Where does that leave folks who don’t care for travel? A no adventure life? I don’t think so. Instead we can use the elements of travel that are adventurous to apply to any area of our lives. Then we can have a life full of adventure and not just when we travel.

Often when I mention having 6 kids, I will make the distinction that 2 are biological and we have adopted 4. The reason is simple. Adopting 4 kids from foster care is an adventure. I’ve moved overseas, I spent a grueling month stuck in South East Asia, I’ve travel through 27 countries, I’ve had a tent collapse in a snow storm, and been camping during a flash flood. Nothing has been more of an adventure than those adoptions. There are 100’s of kinds of adventures if you look through the right lenses. The trick is finding the “choose your own adventure” that resonates with you.

Here are the 4 basic elements in any great adventure

1. Not everyone does it

Adventures happen on paths not often frequented. The directions aren’t that clear, and the path not so smooth. But we are compelled to go anyways. Deep in us, this path resonates. None of our friends are coming with us. But we are going. We aren’t 100% sure how it will look. It’s not the path of least resistance. But the path of least resistance isn’t really where we want to go. We have caught a glimpse of something different, so we start chasing it down.

2. Challenging and Difficult

Part of the adventure comes from the challenge. This will require a lot from us to pull it off. It’s won’t be easy. At times it will push us to our limits. We will come to the end of our rope. And in that challenge we learn what we are made of. What we are capable of.

3. Bravery

True adventures carry risk. Therefore they require bravery. It might not go as planned. It won’t be a smooth, clean trajectory. In every great adventure, there are moments that things can go wrong.

In the same manner that we can remove the adventure out of travel and make it just a “vacation,” we can infuse adventure into the rest of our life.

4. Reward

There is reward for true adventure. Walking that seldom trod path, facing the challenges, acting with bravery, and then coming out the other side. We are changed by it. We become a better version of ourselves. We have paid for life lessons only available to those who walk that path. The reward is that we are richer for it. Our life is richer.

A 7 night cruise to Alaska might be a wonderful  vacation, but it’s not an adventure.

Take your life in a direction few others go.

Build or create something unique.

Learn something.

Maybe your adventure is learning German and walking into a German pub and refusing to speak anything other than the German you learned. That hits all 4 points.

Maybe you will radically change the direction of your life like The Minimalist did. Bucking the expectations and norms to carve out something entirely different.

Maybe you will build something truly special.

I love all adventures. Big and small.

Hiking with 5 little kids is an adventure. 1. Not everyone does it. (You should see the shock on people’s faces!) 2. It can be challenging and difficult. 3. It takes bravery. (Because something WILL go wrong.) 4. And there is reward. We are better for it. The kids are better for it. We faced the challenges and are rewarded in the end. Even strangers cheer us on!

Learning how to remodel our properties has been an adventure. With each new project we hit all 4. I still get butterflies and anxiety when we try something new! We could just pay someone else to do this, but there is no adventure in that!

Even writing has been an adventure for me. Because I want to write about 1. Things that not everyone else is talking about. 2. Things that can be challenging and difficult to find the right words for. 3. I want to say things that carry risk and require bravery. And, 4. If I can muster those things, I know there is reward. I will write things that are more true and honest and meaningful to me. And hopefully more helpful for you. If I can share things that honestly resonate with me, they might resonate with you. Sometimes it’s so challenging, I have to come back to it a dozen times before I find the right words. Sometimes it takes so much bravery, I reread Brene Brown before I can hit publish. Sometimes I feel a little nauseous because I’ve stripped away the layers of pretense that keep me feeling safe and secure. It’s adventure.

I want a life full of great adventures. Big adventures. Small adventures. My goal isn’t to finish my time here by taking the easiest and smoothest path possible. Instead, I want to carve out the path that resonates for me. The one that feels the most true. The most meaningful.

For Conversation:

What is your adventure?

Any ways you seek out the less smooth path?

Paying off debt, saving and learning frugal habits is it’s own adventure. What ways has that added some adventure to your life?