Enough with the Adventures already
July 10, 2013 by Steven D. Brewer
I enjoyed reading Theodora Goss' Adventuress. It resonated with me because I've had those feelings. And, in pursuing them, I've had some remarkable adventures in my lifetime. But I've found that as I've gotten older, my appetite for adventures has dulled. As Bilbo Baggins famously said, "I […] have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!"
I have been there. Photographing rattlesnakes while doing lizard thermoregulation research in the desert in Los Alamos. Spending a semester in Madrid as an undergraduate. Being on the road with two wheels, bicycling camping across Michigan. A year on the road in the car doing science assemblies in schools between LA, Phoenix, Reno and everywhere in between. Traveling via Esperanto to Germany, Slovakia, Brazil, and Denmark. I've had some amazing adventures.
Amazing things have happened along the way. Like my first time watching the sunset behind palm trees and ocean on Catalina Island. Like the terrifying visit to the Armenian restaurant that was probably a front for some terrorist organization. Or the burro that tried to stick its head into the window of the car. Or when my wife tried to let that huge dog in the car. Being chased by communists for taking a picture in Spain. Learning that 14 buses had been attacked and burned by insurgents in Brazil just before boarding the bus back to São Paulo. Having to spend an extra night in São Paulo when my flight didn't go, wondering if the bankrupt Varig airline would actually honor my ticket and fly me home the next day.
Adventures are stressful. I remember the first morning in Slovakia where I didn't speak a word of Slovakian (I eventually learned one word: "pivo") and finding it so stressful that after 20 minutes of walking around, I had to go back to my room and hide. At first, I would try to muscle through these episodes and keep trying to go out and experience whatever there was to experience. Little by little, though, I realized that I wasn't having fun. I began to give myself license while on adventures to take an evening off and just watch TV in my room or stay somewhere that I felt comfortable. But more recently, I've begun to decide that I'm just not really cut out for adventures.
I find that I like my comforts. I like my own house. I like my air conditioned bedroom with my soft bed and pillows. I like being someplace where I know the rules — where people aren't constantly laughing at you or mocking you for all your clumsy faux pas… Where you know which street to avoid and which café has the best latté…
Of course, life itself is an adventure. Exploring limits as a child and becoming an adult… Pursuing an education and a mate… Building a career and a life. Having children and trying to raise them… I can't say that I want the adventure to be over. But lately I'm finding plenty of adventure close to home without needing to put myself out to find more. Maybe sunsets are more beautiful in Budapest, but they can be very pretty here, if you just take the time to look.
And whenever that's not enough, there's also this cool thing called "The Internet"…