My Generation's Obsession With Adventure

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What is it about millenials that makes us crave adventure?

Almost every time I get on one of my social media feeds, I see people saying something about craving adventure or sharing pictures of recent places they’ve explored or talking about wanderlust. There’s a “Darling, let’s be adventurers” pin on Pinterest that I’m convinced everyone I know has pinned to their boards by now.

It’s not surprising to me, and I feel it too. I’ve always included “Adventurer” in every bio I’ve written about myself. I want to be that kind of person and I make every effort to be whenever I get a chance.

The dictionary definition of adventure is an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

What is it about adventure that attracts us?

Is it the excitement of new places, new things, new sights and sounds? Is it the risk, the danger, the unknowns? Is it the break in our routine with something out of the ordinary?

I think it’s all of that and more. I think our generation grew up right on the cusp of so many new technologies and culture shifts that have now consumed our society. When we were kids, we played outside after school until dinnertime, we climbed trees and carved our names into the bark, we cannonballed into the neighbor’s pool for hours on end. We used our imaginations and we didn’t own devices and our lives were full of pure, simple fun.

And then we grew up a little and at some point in junior high or high school, we got our first cell phones. Our families, if they didn’t have it already, got cable TV and Tivo and DVRs, and we spent our evenings glued to the screen. We got laptops, we got iPhones, we got iPads and Kindles and we got obsessed.

I think somewhere along the way, technology stole our sense of wonder, curiosity, and adventure. 

We started living more in virtual worlds than in the world outside our front doors. We started following people on Twitter and Instagram more than we followed paths into the woods.

Technology changed us.

But, for our generation, for the ones whose early years of life were free from it all, I sense a trend of pushing back and disconnecting. I think we crave the simplicity of our childhoods and I think we know the best way to get that back is to get outside, go somewhere new and have an adventure. 

We know that real life isn’t found through a screen and technology won’t satisfy us or truly make us feel alive, so we go back to what we know is true. We know real connection comes when we are present and engage. We know fresh air makes us feel better. We know we are happier, less stressed, healthier humans when we move our bodies. So we seek adventure.

Yes, adventure has risks. It can be hazardous. And we like that, because so much of our lives can be monotonous and boring and predictable, and it’s thrilling to break away from that and put yourself at the mercy of the world around you.

Adventures are unusual and exciting. They break the pattern of normalcy of our now adult, mature, real-world lives and remind us what it’s like to have the freedom and fun of a kid again.

We trade our work shoes for our Nikes or our Chacos or hiking boots and we leave footprints in the mud, step on crunchy leaves, splash in puddles and rivers, climb mountains, traipse through fields and meadows, and we come alive. We shed our blazers and business attire for tshirts and ripped jeans and we feel the sun beat down on our skin and the wind whip through our hair, and we come alive. We get outside of buildings, rooms and walls and find wide open spaces, great stretches of untouched land, hidden corners of our cities and counties, and we come alive.

We crave adventure because we crave life that is real and untouched, simple and spontaneous, fun and free.

We crave adventure because we are hungry for simplicity and authenticity. We crave adventure because we are sick of routines and normalcy and are excited by the unusual, the unknown, the unpredictable.

It’s how we get back to our roots, get back to our truest selves, and connect with what grounds us again. That’s what we’re craving. That’s what adventure satisfies in us. That's what's attractive about adventure.