By AdventureWomen owner, Erica Landerson
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘adventure’ as “an exciting or remarkable experience” – a novel incident or accounts of marvelous things. I like the sound of that.
We each do things in our lives that are comfortable and easy and that define the way we live. Altering those default patterns is really hard and requires initiative and creativity. So why shouldn’t we remain in our comfort zone?
Because by stepping outside our zone, finding contrast to our own lives, and having an adventure is how we can learn about ourselves. New and different environments, cultures, and people can teach us things we were once blind to.
Is an adventure risky? Yes. Is it scary? Absolutely. But will it also be amazing, empowering, and broaden your mind? Guaranteed!
I met my husband, Daniel, this way. It was novel, exciting, and completely scary. In short: it was an adventure. It was 2010 when I went to Switzerland to compete for eight revered spots to climb an unnamed and unclimbed peak in Pakistan. There, I met up with 15 other youth from around the world, all quite culturally different from myself. German, Australian, French, Singaporean, Indian, and many others were all trying to be selected for a grueling trip up the Baltoro Glacier.
One guy was particularly competitive with me and I wasn’t particularly fond of him in the beginning. We were competitors in Switzerland, but then we were both chosen to be on the team of eight, and we became teammates.
Off the eight of us went, landing in Islamabad and up to Askole, the gateway to the Baltoro Glacier and the majestic mountains. For a few weeks we hiked up the Baltoro Glacier, conducting glacier measurements, monitoring our metabolism using equipment from the Mayo Clinic, and successfully summiting an unnamed and unclimbed peak just over 20,000 feet.
We were eight Westerners amongst hundreds of Pakistani porters and guides who safeguarded us during some grueling hikes in the freezing weather. I had time to get to know “that German” who was competitive and who was culturally different from me. It was the breaking of stereotypes and generalizations about difference that opened my eyes to what a great person he was. My life from that point on was going to lead me in directions I could never have imagined, but I am so grateful for it and if I had the chance, I would do it all again.
Fast forward: I married “that German” and now we have two children, have traveled the world together, met new people, took risks, and have had some pretty marvelous experiences.
The adventure is still ongoing, it is often scary, and many steps were taken outside of my familiar ‘zone’ into the unknown. Meeting Daniel and getting to know him and his culture has given me a greater view of myself and of my way of life.
Every step into a journey or adventure invites an opening. What will you find? Where is it taking you? It is okay not to know what is coming around the next corner. It is even necessary. Go and find out. I look forward to hearing your stories.
We each have our customs, habits, socializations and routines that define the way in which we live. It is comfortable and easy and what we default to. Altering it, however, requires initiative, effort and creativity. This is why it is tempting to remain within our familiar and comfortable ‘zone’. So why shouldn’t we?
Because it is through the contrast provided by new and different environments, cultures, and people that we can learn about ourselves and reflect on who we are. It challenges the perpetually reinforcing cycle of our values, thoughts and accustomed ways.