What Does Adventure Mean to You?

What is "adventure"?

I look down and feel a sense of lightness like I could float away any second. The wind blows locks of hair into my face, and I squint to see through them. I see the crepuscular rays shining down upon the earth, like razor sharp reminders of how small we are, and I feel humbled.

I close my eyes and fill my lungs with the cold, crisp air. It's so quiet. I’m reminded that a few thousand feet below, millions of people hurry about their busy lives. 


 Yellowstone Lake from Avalanche Peak - ©️ Nicole Atkins

Yellowstone Lake from Avalanche Peak - ©️ Nicole Atkins

I can feel my heart pumping hard in my chest, the excitement of standing on top of the world rhythmically beating, wanting to escape, and I smile.

I lean forward, knowing that one wrong move will end my life. This realization sends a rush through me. I back away, instead opting to sit with my feet dangling over the edge as I reflect on the world below.

This is a question I’ve asked myself many times and rarely do I come up with the same answer twice.

Is adventure taking risks? Does it require trying new things? Is it staring fear in the (proverbial) face and just going for it? This article asserts that the formula for adventure is novelty + courage. Maybe. By that logic, are those with a natural openness to new experiences more adventurous?

Further, is adventure an activity, or a characteristic of an activity? Is it an innate part of our personality? Can it be learned or harnessed? Is it a mental state that’s salient or dependent on context?

Adventure is something that I crave in my life, just as much as I crave profundity, awe, variety, and love. It’s the driving force of my motivation to keep searching for new, meaningful experiences. It's the hallmark of my most memorable stories.

 Angel's Landing View - ©️ Nicole Atkins

Angel's Landing View - ©️ Nicole Atkins

Sometimes being adventurous is about taking risks and facing fears, but it doesn’t have to be. I can find adventure standing on the edge of a cliff, pebbles dropping beneath my feet.

I can find adventure frolicking through a golden meadow in the warm afternoon sun. For me, adventure is a state of mind. It’s salient. It’s something I decide to own when I go out into the world and do my thing (whatever that thing happens to be).

My adventure can be as grand as the terrifying newness of falling in love, or as simple as the first sip of a new craft beer I’ve never tried. Maybe I’m trying a new beer while sitting across the table from someone I’m falling in love with.


Adventure doesn’t even have to be one specific activity. I’ve lived entire years that I would consider an adventure and been in relationships with people that I would call adventurous.

And the greatest adventure of all? Life. The collective emotions, experiences, relationships, and lessons that make up this journey we call life. Up until the end, life will be the best damned adventure I’ve ever had.


What does adventure mean to you?