Why Do We Seek Adventure?

When you’re safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you¹re having an adventure you wish you were safe at home.
— Thornton Wilder

Many of us can probably remember seeking adventure as a child, but how many have actually stopped to ask why? Maybe we seek adventure because we're bored of our everyday lives that our economic status has afforded us. Our daily lives are hardly exciting, especially when compared to the lives of early homo sapiens. We come from an ancestry of hunter-gatherers. Both hunting, and gathering involve roaming away from home, and exploring new places in search for food.

Now, in the 21st century, we have diminished our risk to the point where it is almost imperceivable. Our choices no longer involve life or death scenarios. Mostly everything in our daily lives is predictable and within our control. When we exercise at a gym, we are never in any immediate danger. We're not running from saber-tooth tigers as our ancestors once did. We also do not need to migrate from one forest to another in pursuit of food. We simply go to the grocery store. The only real danger we have to fear now, is other people.

We are mammals that have evolved from ancestors that relied heavily on their adapted physiological responses to stress, those same responses are hard-wired into us. We all have a natural urge for specific neurotransmitters that are involved either in our pleasure response, or fight-or-flight response. These include epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, among others. In a way, the thirst for adventure is hard-wired into our very genetic code, and into our very physiological processes.

There is something so simple about adventuring, yet so profound. You always start from point A to get to point B, and no matter how exhausting or excruciating adventure may feel, we always push ourselves to make it to point B, no matter what. That sense of satisfaction and achievement is unlike any other, knowing you climbed the peak and made it back. This pressure to push yourself out of your comfort zone brings you to face yourself, and forces you to reflect on your life and where you fit into the big picture.

Some seek adventure, but not all find it so alluring. Some merely want to survive, others want to feel ALIVE.  Adventure for some isn't a thrill-seeking endeavor, but more of a philosophy to live by. Knowing that you have taken the road less traveled, and that you have broken the barriers of your comfort-zone are at the root of the human experience people often seek. Those that seek to find meaning not within the confines of society's rules, but instead under the majestic beauty that this world has to offer.

Adventuring is essentially an existential undertaking. It has been part of our existence for almost the entire history of our species, and is hard-wired into our nervous system. Adventure is also an existential endeavor in the sense that it forces us to delve into the deepest and most troubling aspects of our lives. And mostly so, adventure is existential in the sense that you don't just go, you have to experience it. 

Life is an adventure, for those who truly seek the essence of the full human experience. Whatever your reason for seeking adventure, hold on to it, and never let it go.

I will leave you with an excerpt from Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild.

"Don't settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.
You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.
My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances."

Gilberto Quiroz is a 24 years old who lives in Palmdale, CA but has sought adventure for as long as he can remember. He works in the solar industry and is an amateur photographer, climber, hiker, camper and explorer. He absolutely love nature and you can find more of his work on his website.