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Unlock the Spirit of Adventure

What does it mean to be “adventurous?”

For some, it may be donning a wingsuit and leaping from a cliff like a colorful flying squirrel. For others, it’s more like driving a different route to and from work.

Wherever you land on the adventurous continuum, as humans, we are all adventurers at heart. Our irrepressible impulse to discover and satisfy curiosity leads us on memorable journeys, both big and small.

History speaks of civilizations discovering new destinations within a vast world of the unknown—to the heights of mountains, depths of oceans, and the poles of the planet. The collective quest of exploration—this yearning to know and to go—enabled Zhang Qian to lay the foundations for the Silk Road, the Portuguese to make inroads in finding a sea route for the spice trade, and the Romans to build the first long distance roads on a massive scale.

Philosopher George Santayana championed the unknown, writing, There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.

The spirit of adventure can be cultivated in simple day-to-day activities, and it can clearly be tapped into through travel.

In 1831, Charles Darwin answered his call of adventure by embarking on a five-year circumnavigation and became captivated by the world’s geology and biology. Today you can walk in his footsteps in the Galapagos Islands, or chart another course and view sacred sites of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism on a journey through Israel, or sample drinks at a local distillery in Scotland. Getting out of your element with travel has so many options!

Travel opens us up to the world and to possibilities. It connects us as people. We learn from others—how we are very different and fundamentally the same. Through knowing others, we can also know and discover ourselves. Novelist and nonfiction author Pico Iyer put it this way, We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.

Adventure is worthwhile, wrote Aesop, and it’s also an individual thing. In big and small ways, we can all challenge ourselves, continue learning, build relationships, and in the process, make discoveries of a new self—or perhaps simply a better route to work or home.

So what adventure is calling out to you?