I often forget how important it is to go back to first principles when it comes to taking people on adventures, and when embarking on my own adventures in the outdoors. Over the years I’ve taken on some challenging personal adventures in different parts of the world, on foot, in my kayak, on surf trips and with an ice axe in my hand. By the measure of some at the extreme end of the adventure spectrum, my missions would be seen as reasonably tame, and by others at the other end (including my mother) I’d be called a crazy man.
To me, it’s not the activity or destination that we pursue that defines adventure – it’s the decision we make to embark into the slightly unknown and to step outside our comfort zone (even just a little) that defines it for us. Often it’s as simple as deciding to go left as opposed to right. It’s the satisfaction we gain and the results of our “adventure decisions” (I just made that up) that fulfil us, and are so so important to the human condition. Without these decisions, Hillary would never have reached the summit of Everest, Armstrong would never have set foot on the moon, and the Wright brothers would never have introduced us to aviation. We dream of these adventures when we’re children, and it’s important for us to keep our childish adventurous dreams alive into adulthood and right throughout our lives.
I was reminded of this last weekend when I took my two daughters, Mischa and Lucy (aged 5 and 7) on their first sea kayaking adventure. Rabbit Island sits a mere 500 metres offshore from the coast of Mount Maunganui beach where we live. To me it’s close, as I regularly paddle around it, but to a 5 and 7 year old it was miles away, but armed with the optimism that only a 5 and 7 year old can possess, the challenge was set and they were good to go. Pushing out from shore we made our way into the “open ocean” and made it to Rabbit Island in 20 minutes where we landed and had lunch and explored for the afternoon. Through the eyes of the kids I was reminded of how grand this excursion was for them and seeing it through their eyes was just as satisfying as any adventure I’ve embarked on in my lifetime.
All they had to do was decide to accept the challenge. To them it was a big decision, and they’ll no doubt make many others like it in their lives – big and small. I wonder what those decisions will be. What challenge will you decide to accept?
– Phil Boorman, Co Founder, Active Adventures