Essays and Interviews: Adventure as Happiness

Essays and Interviews: Adventure as Happiness
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Essays and Interviews: Adventure as Happiness

I have always loved adventure.  It is what makes me happy.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t look out and want to see the world.  To see what else is out there.  When I was young growing up in Australia, my Mum and Dad took me on lots of trips.  We camped out in tents, in a tiny caravan, in Army flats (my Dad was in the Australian Army back then), and we loved it.  Every chance we got we would be on the road to somewhere, whether to a riverside camp or to see the Big Banana in Coffs Harbor or Fraser Island off the Queensland coast.

Later in high school I joined up with the bushwalking group.  We went on bush walks around Victoria and twice to Tasmania.  Some of the bush walks we went on included hiking around Wilson’s Promontory and the Cradle Mountain track in Tasmania and the Southwest Cape of Tasmania.  After high school and university I went to New Zealand and worked at Mount Cook National Park at the Hermitage in the Southern Alps then later at the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington.  Working at the Hermitage and looking out over Mount Cook I met two Canadian geologists named Andy and Sandy.  We did some hiking together around the park and then about a year later I went to Canada to see them there and did some traveling with them and later on my own.  (Perhaps in other posts I will give more details about some of these trips and what I learned and experienced).  After that I traveled around the United States.

Over the years I noticed that I was happiest when outside, when learning new things, when experiencing the world.  Whether the “world” is the beach near where I live now, in San Diego, California, or hiking the trails of Zion or Bryce Canyon National Parks, it’s still a world outside myself.  When I was younger I wondered what I was seeking.  What was I looking for?  I think I was looking for my place in the world.  Today, I realize that the journey and the challenge of life is what matters.  And for me, being outside and experiencing the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, the smell of mountain trees or the salt of the ocean is what life is about along with my family and friends and people I meet along the way.  Life is not about things or materials possessions but rather the experiences one has and the integrity of the life we lead.  Sure, we all like to have nice things.  And it is not a bad thing to have technology or the latest surfboard or an iPhone or whatever it is.  We just have to keep perspective on what is the most important thing in life and what brings us happiness.  Money and things are simply tools that allow us to enjoy life.  But they are not what is most important.

Adventure can make us happy because it always brings something new to the senses and provides a release and a joy and a challenge.  We are outside ourselves when we have an adventure.  Adventure doesn’t have to be a 365 day round the world trip.  It can be simply taking your camera or paint brush to the beach or taking a walk somewhere near where you live.  Adventure as happiness is something we all need.  Take a chance, take your life outside and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.  It will make you happier.  It surely works for me.

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