I learned to adventure from my dad. He taught me to keep a life-long sense of adventure, but he never said a word to me about it. He lived it.
Daddy was no Sir Richard Shackleton or Indiana Jones. He wasn’t into any type of bodily discomfort—or risking his life. His explorations didn’t take him too far astray from soft beds and hot showers.
He was an adventurer nonetheless.
In my “Learning to Adventure from Daddy” article for YourLifeIsATrip.com, I remembered how Daddy’s adventuresome spirit impressed me while I was an intern in Germany. Part of moving me from Köln (Cologne) to Homburg-Saar involved renting a manual-transmission BMW and teaching me to drive as he took in the castles, fortresses, and vineyards along the Rhine River.
Recently, a group of friends challenged me to tell them what I learned—not what Daddy taught me. They asked me how I’ve adopted that sense of adventure in my own life. Those stories, they said, are part of my Daddy’s story.
At first, I was stumped. It’s hard to think of my suburban life as blazing an adventurous trail.
I’m the opposite of an adrenaline junkie. I get excited about things like sighting a new bird or finding new ancestor information. I avoid roller coasters and haunted houses. I can’t even watch The Walking Dead without someone to tell me what happen while I run out of the room.
After stammering for a minute, I came up with, “Well, I held a boa constrictor once.” Then, “I did ride a high-wire bicycle.” (That got respect.)
Later, in bed, instead of sleeping, I wondered. What does it mean to have a sense of adventure? Is it high ropes and zip lines (yes, I have done those), or is it something more cerebral?
Yes, I learned to adventure from Daddy
It’s taken some processing to conclude that I do apply the lessons Daddy taught. Not blazing that proverbial trail, perhaps, but far from wallowing in complacency. Adventure starts with dispensing with expectations. Preparing to simply see what happens. I believe it can be as uncomplicated as taking a new route home or turning off the TV to go outside and drink in the night sky.
I did learn from Daddy’s example. At 54, for instance, I still play soccer, a sport I adopted at 40. I take on new challenges—like writing, blogging, and speaking. I take on new friends, opening my heart.
And last summer, I adventured while traveling with my 21-year-old son, who was interning in Holland. Our itinerary even included traveling down that same Rhein-Strasse in a rental car with a manual transmission.
At first, I was hesitant about traveling with my son. Would I be disappointed if it was less fun than I had traveling with my parents? What if he didn’t enjoy traveling with me? Finally, I decided that it didn’t matter. I’d just see what happened.
Of course, we had a wonderful trip.
I think Daddy would be proud. We added some nice chapters to the family story of taking life on as a big adventure.