To scale mountains, climb to great heights, discover the depths of the ocean floor. Humanity, for so many years has had an insatiable hunger to explore. Many explorers have become known for their achievements of ‘firsts’.
First solo flight around the world: 1933 Wiley Post
First man to claim attainment on the peak of Mt Everest: Sir Edmund Hillary & his Sherpa team
First man to claim arrival at the South Pole: Roald Amundsen & his team
Youngest person to sail solo nonstop around the globe: Jessica Watson.
For some, exploration and sense of adventure is never quenched, as soon as one adventure is completed, usually in this midst of the current adventure that another great feat is dreamed up.
For so many of us at this point in time we are bound by lockdown, forced to only dream of overseas travel, nights on mountains tops or time spent under the canvas of a tent.
Changing the definition
Recently I have been reading the adventures of an outdoor enthusiast who, through some life changes (work, marriage, having a baby) has swapped his expeditions across the globe (International paddling, Kayaking from Victoria – Tasmania, and running the Australian Alpine Trail a 635km hiking trail in 14 days to name a few off his list) for adventures more close to home.
His personal life choices have changed his definition of adventure & I can’t help but feel similar during our current lockdown season.
For so many of us across the world lockdown has meant restrictions on why we can leave home, when, and disruptions to normal daily activity.
Personally this restriction has forced me to re-think my definition of adventure. Quite an enthusiast for the outdoors I usually find myself: mountain bike riding, multi-day hiking, x-c skiing, kayaking and a myriad of other adventures that get me outdoors across the country.
Being restricted during this time, I still hold this adventurous spirit – but reading Beau’s thoughts on his personal adventures has helped me redefine mine during this time.
Adventure: an unusual, exciting, and possibly dangerous activity, such as a trip or experience, or the excitement produced by such an activity. (Cambridge dictionary).
How can this be redefined when in lockdown we aren’t allowed to leave our local area? This redefinition and spending time in my local area has helped me uncover some gems.
Spaces previously sped past in a car on the way to a social outing or sporting event, with time in my schedule, I have had the ability to ‘be’ in the place that I live. In doing so have found creeks, walkways, understood which birds live in which trees (including which one houses the swooping magpie!), watched animals grow through spring and experienced adventure through a different lens.
Revisiting these sites multiple times over reveals to me new adventures as the settings change through human or environmental interaction.
Shift your focus
So how do you switch from broad landscape adventure to narrowing your focus on your own backyard? Is this even possible? From the definition above, adventure can be achieved anywhere; simply finding something that is unusual, exciting, and produces excitement is finding adventure.
Many will know about the psychological term of ‘FLOW’. This term refers to trance like altered state of being with total absorption and effortless concentration. Many athletes, musicians, sculptors, creators and artists describe this state when producing work, often being absorbed by the project at hand for hours.
For some this state comes more naturally, for others, the good news is there are ways to get into the ‘flow’. Csikszentmihalyi, who coined this term more than 40 years ago, says that removing distractions to focus on a single task, that has just the right balance of difficulty to keep us intrigued and learning, helps.
This for me means putting down my phone, removing screens and distractions and giving myself permission to explore the adventure I am about to undertake with no set time frame.
Our busy world tends to bombard us with; deadlines, timeframes or expectations of places we should be, people we should be contacting or tasks that should be completed. FLOW on the otherhand is often characterized as a task that someone may be absorbed in for hours.
Giving myself permission to adventure and explore in my own backyard has helped me uncover findings such as; the way the water moves down the creek nearby my house, and changes as the water height changes, finding evidence of animals that move along the creek, and the clues they leave behind as to who they are, what they eat, and which direction they are travelling.
Whilst this time of lockdown for so many has impacted the way we interact with our worlds, it hasn’t for me dampened by adventurous spirit. I hope you’ve been inspired, as I have by others, to step outside, leave the screens behind and allow yourself a new sense of ‘adventure’ just around the corner of your house.
Kelly Thompson is the newest member of the Sports journalist team. Kelly currently plays AFL for Casey Demons in the VFLW, and practices what she preaches as a HOPE (Health, Outdoor, and Physical Education) Teacher in Melbourne’s southeast.