I love adventure, but every time I try to plan one out, it comes up short and I leave disappointed. Planning is the enemy of adventure. True adventure involves discovery, which can only be unplanned.
We think that by picking the right activities we can optimize enjoyment. Sounds like we would try to computerize life. Life is in spontaneity, life is in serendipity. There’s nothing we can substitute for striking out and seeing what plans emerge with each passing moment. Following those tunes us into the rhythm of life.
Here’s an example: Cecilia and I went to Monterey for a three day trip. I looked forward to it as an escape from the routine of daily life, a mini-travel experience, an adventure to kickstart and feed my imagination. The first two days, we had a bunch of ideas about what to do, activities we’d heard would be fun; plans. They were nice, but they weren’t particularly exciting, and they weren’t tinged with the euphoria and awe that comes with seeing more of the world. Then on the third day, we decided simply to drive up the coast with no plans and stop wherever we felt like stopping. This was by far the best day of the trip. It left us both on an adventure and romance high. We stopped in Santa Cruz and went on a roller coaster. We watched sea lions and otters. We stopped in a random diner in a random beach town with a population of 400. We explored a secret tunnel that led from the beach, under the highway, to the woods.
It was the third day that we felt most alive. Plans can be good if you have a good reason to know exactly what you want to do. But if you want adventure, plans can be like an iron cage that keeps you from it.
Adventure is discovery. Everyone is an adventure junkie. The question is can we let go of the idea that we know best? Maybe we don’t need to know. Maybe we just need to put ourselves in the river of life and let it sweep us away.