Adventure: Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be

Adventure is weird and complicated. Like ordering a martini for the first time or Thai food, it’s not easy. It’s sexy, sure. We escape the familiar in favor of the unknown. We leave our friends and family behind. We buy maps (or iPhones) and plot new courses.

My wife and I have only five days left of our six-month stay in California. From here, we’ll pack up and drive to Idaho for a few weeks and then drive, finally, to Rochester, New York, where we’ll settle.

The idea of living in three states in one year sounded fun, initially. A couple of fair-skinned gypsies in a Prius-charriot awaiting adventure—that was us.

All I’ve ever wanted was adventure, and truth be told, I’ve had my fair share.

I’ve back-packed through Ireland; I’ve driven to the Grand Canyon on a whim; I’ve rode through a carwash on a razor scooter… Adventure is in my blood.

Is adventure good for blood?

Fake Adventures

I grew up idolizing movies like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and The Mummy where characters traveled to the ends of the Earth, or universe, to conduct business. I’d watch TV shows like The X-Files and swoon. The monster-of-the-week storyline, on the search in a new area, fascinated me (and still does).

But it’s all fake. It’s exciting, but truth be told, if I met a new monster every week and I’d be dead by now. I’d be digesting in some mutant’s stomach and that’d be an awkward funeral.

Then there is the whole social media thing. All the fake adventurers. I recently read an article about the “Instagram Envy Effect,” which, really, is just how it sounds. Instagram captures everybody’s good moments, new moments. The rest of us watch and wish we could have those moments. Really, it’s all just fake. We post the interesting moments and leave the rest hidden, like reality TV.

I bring the Instagram article up because social media—as well as movies, music, and books—teach us some falsehoods about adventure. They tell us adventure has no downside. That it’s all just fun all the time and YOLO and pose!!!

Warning: Adventure is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Here are some tips to make sure you never, ever have an adventure.

Issue number 1:

You’re basically always packing. I’m not sure how you feel about packing, but I’m not a big fan.

Issue number 2:

Friendships are rare. It’s hard to get close to people when you’re always on the go. It’s not like the comic books where the hero has all the friends. The real-life hero, the traveler, is awkward at parties, unable to connect—not sure if he even wants to.

Issue number 3:

It gets harder and harder to leave. Maybe I’m getting older, maybe the traveler’s heart is just failing to pump like it used to, I don’t know. Maybe a six-month vacation wasn’t a very good idea. All I know, is that it’s getting harder to leave.

My friends, my family, my town. Sometimes, adventure just kind of sucks.

The memories are worth it, and that’s what I’m holding on to, for now.

the gang 043

What are your thoughts on adventure?



  1. Jajajaja after reading this those thoughts dropped dead…lol Actually , I love adventures but like you indicated is does not always turn out the way you would like it to be

  2. I’d be happy not to have to move again. But I enjoy low-key adventures, like my trips to Colombia and job assignments that take me to different US cities and El Salvador and Santiago de Chile.

  3. I’m glad I read this.

    I’m planning my own adventure, which you can figure out through my blog, but having insight into actually doing this type of thing is great! I am not planning on doing this completely alone, due to friends that are willing to help. And the help from friends is where I’m starting. The connections are a bit thin in some places, so I don’t expect to keep everyone until the end. But if I do, all the better.

  4. I love what Chesterton had to say on this: “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” But you’re so right, sometimes the slow road is the most rewarding!

  5. ok, this is in danger of turning into a mutual appreciation society, but this is another great post. I always talk to folks at weddings about the adventure of marriage, and to young Christians about the adventure of faith- but try to ensure that they know I’m including the rubbishy, dull, frustrating bits of real adventures as well as the photo opportunity stuff. I remember reading Lord of the Rings as a kid and getting frustrated by the long descriptive passages of getting lost in marshes or waiting for battles… but I know that they were really important in helping me to understand the reality of adventure- Its not always as exciting as you’d like it to be, but it is worth doing.

    1. Great comment! “…try to ensure that they know I’m including the rubbishy, dull, frustrating bits of real adventures as well as the photo opportunity stuff.” So true.

  6. I function well in my comfort zone. Leaving it has always freaked me out. Grew up in one town, in the same house for 20 years! I’m moving to Seattle from the Central Valley of California and I’m pretty much freaking out. Maybe I just need a little adventure.

  7. I love the “that’d be an awkward funeral” part. Cracked me up. As far as adventure goes.. I traveled a lot growing up but I’ve been in st louis for 6 years and I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin. I just need to go somewhere ANYWHERE soon. I have to talk my hubby into it though. I’m working on it. =]

    1. I think I’m the same way. I really do love traveling and I love adventure; it’d just be nice to have a more stable home base to come back to. If I go a few months without a getaway I get a little antsy. Thanks for the comment!

      1. My mom wasn’t into stable home bases when I was growing up. We moved to a new house or even a new state every few months. Just on a whim. This is the longest I’ve ever lived in one place and it’s starting to wear on me. My husband lived in the same house since he was a baby so he’s not into moving just to go somewhere. I’m working on him though lol

  8. I like adventures, but I’ll usually accept and even expect setbacks. As for not sharing all the down moments…well I am candid enough already to definitely bring balance my ups and downs on my random adventures.

  9. Great post, once again.

    Having an adventure is a little like riding on a roller coaster. And, as I tell people, as someone with Bipolar, I ready to get off the ride for awhile.

    On a separate note, I recently ate at a Vegetarian Thai restaurant. My uncle ordered the “Mushroom Hot Pot.” When it arrived, he wasn’t sure what was in it, so he called the waitress over.

    He’d point to an item and ask, “Is that some sort of vegetable?”
    “Yes,” assured the waitress, “Tofu.”
    “Okay,” he replied. “How about this?”
    “Yes, vegetable. Tofu. All vegetables.”

    Keep up the good writing.

  10. Great post again, Kevin. I feel the same way on just a week vacation! It’s great to get away and have a change of pace, but by the end of the week I’m ready to be back home. Praying your journey goes well!

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