In the modern world, adventure or adventure sports can be viewed as somewhat controversial.
Most people like to watch or read about this sort of stuff as a form of entertainment; biking, climbing or even racing on TV. Adventure documentaries or programmes that show far flung corners of the world that they would otherwise never see. There is no denying it’s entertaining to watch. People see it and think it would be fun to do these things or go and see these magnificent wonders. With that said, I still stand by it is controversial, just by nature.
I say this because some people think that it just doesn’t have any real value.
I get it, these armchair adventures can think it is a little bit of hedonism and sure it looks amazing, but they also hold the view, ‘Is it really necessary and what good is it really to the rest of the world?’
Well, let’s look at it this way…
Think of your favourite band, you go to their concert and the musicians up on the stage they give it their all, they have to! They are trying to entertain, providing you with a musical experience and hopefully make some memories. But who in their right mind would approach their favourite band afterwards and say, ‘Why are you wasting your time on this? Get a real job!’ Why not? Because the value of the music is, entertainment. The people up on the stage are doing what they love and are passionate about. Through which, they are able to provide an enriching life experience to their audience. Adventuring is much the same only its story is told through tales, books and sometimes film.
Now I digress for just one minute, let’s think of a normal working class twenty-five to thirty something year old who is working the corporate job, this person is starting to notice they are getting a little soft around the middle and the 9-5 grind is just wearing them down. Lots of stress and they are starting to question, ‘Am I really going to be doing this for the rest of my life?’. Then this person gets home each night and flops themselves in front of the television, maybe opens a beer or two. Then it’s back to work the next day, sure they make a bunch of money, but this goes on and on and on. Until a couple of years later they feel devalued and are even softer around the middle.
“The entire global population has chronic health issues. Huge challenges face both the developed and developing world.”
Now anecdote a side, we know there is good evidence to show the entire global population has chronic health issues. Huge challenges face both the developed and developing world with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and lots of different types of stress induced illnesses. So, think for a minute, if this person continues down this path; continues to gain weight, becomes more and more lethargic and sedentary. Then one or more of these chronic conditions is what this person is suddenly susceptible to.
But what if that person is now inspired by adventure. Whether that’s a documentary film, an adventure sport event or even by reading this blog! Inspired to shake it up a little bit and do something different because life has become so routine and so mundane. It doesn’t have to be record breaking, maybe it’s something as simple as grabbing a tarp and a cheap sleeping bag then hiking into the woods at the weekend to spend the night.
“It doesn’t have to be record breaking, maybe it’s something simple.”
Now, at the time, when they are in the woods, it’s a completely different experience. It might be pretty uncomfortable, it might be good or bad, but the ground is hard and they even get a little wet. Maybe they get too cold or too hot, they are relentlessly swatting away flies and they generally leave with a pretty mixed picture of ‘What the hell is all this about?’.
However, I guarantee you, the next week when they are back sitting in the office. That person starts remembering the experiences they had over the weekend and suddenly start to realise – that was different. That was something special compared to the same old routine I have been doing for years. These memories then begin to call to that person: ‘Lets go do it again! Next time lets go bigger!’ Then next time, they do. They buy a backpack and go for a longer trip over larger distances. Maybe they start climbing mountains or take up mountain biking; adopting anything new and adventurous that they begin to love.
What happens now is this adventure feeds their enthusiasm. It feeds their joy and makes them feel better about life. They become more productive at the office and the work that they do with also having something to look forward to, the next trip, the next adventure. It is now that this person really starts to notice the benefits, and the true value of adventure.
- It begins to provide stress relief
- Physical health begins to accelerate
- Spiritual growth rises like never before
And as they continue down this path, they begin to meet other people that also love the adventure that they are involved with and this person gets a sense of community. This community is very important, fundamental to us as humans, and it is what is so often missing in our world today. We have social community ’social networks’ giving us various ways to stay in touch. As long as it can be done through a glass screen of some sort. But the act of actually spending time, real time, with people experiencing things that are common interests is a very valuable and powerful thing that enriches lives.
So, let us think for a minute the path this person might have been on. A path of lethargy and obesity, perhaps diabetes or heart disease. At first, it’s just a bad example for the kids, but then later in life they become less and less able to care for themselves. Suddenly we are at a crossroads and life has now turned into the kids taking care of them because their health has deteriorated so badly. The flip side of this, healthy parents raise healthy children. Whereas people that don’t teach their kids the value of being physically active, see their kids much more likely to follow the course of an unhealthy lifestyle as well. The end result of which we have generations of people who are, worldwide, struggling with health from early adulthood to the end of their lives.
Well this is where it all fits in. The power of Adventure, it’s a great excuse to get out and move, to use our bodies strengthening them and encouraging health. If you take up something, even as simple as backpacking or hiking, maybe something more serious like mountaineering then you are going to want to be in better condition for the activity you choose, just because you can enjoy it far more. It will be the motivation that helps you to exercise when you are not pursuing your adventure. Perhaps your new hobbies will even encourage you to eat better or drink less alcohol. Throw away the cigarettes, whatever it is, the adventures sports that you love, the activity that gets you fired up and enthusiastic will encourage you to adopt a healthier lifestyle all across the board and generally help you to make better life decisions.
Now let us think for another minute, you’ve got that same person who now adopts a healthier lifestyle, gets more and more physically fit, with this increasing fitness comes more and more fun! This then has a knock-on effect making them feel better about life, giving them the courage to try more different things and experience life at its fullest. This enthusiasm is then contagious. The people around them and the children in their life are going to want to be a part. Now we are in a position where the kids are being active and falling in love with some sort of a sport or adventure that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives; developing the desire to be healthier and stronger. This doesn’t just have physical health benefits but boosts all aspects of health providing stress relief, with both spiritual and mental health gain. All of a sudden, this small decision in one person’s life passes on from generation to generation!
The true value of adventure, it never has to stop!