This article is from Edition 03: What is Adventure?
James Wight
Written by James Wight
Published on 11th August 2020
4 min read
This month we played with what adventure means in numerous ways. One of the most playful asked adventurers in the community to complete and riff on four unfinished sentences. The first sentence was ‘To me adventure is…’

Bex Band, Founder, Love Her Wild

To me adventure is... something that loosely combines a personal challenge with predominantly being outdoors. I have a very broad idea of what adventure might mean because I think that’s the beauty of the word. It’s very subjective and completely up to the individual to determine! One person’s idea of what constitutes as an adventure can be completely different from another. So if you believe what you are doing is adventurous then that’s good enough for me, although some will, unfortunately, argue otherwise.

Genevieve Brown, The Antarctic Aruban

To me adventure is… venturing out into my puke zone; pushing myself to do things or go places and have experiences that scare and excite me at the same time. 

I find that often when we picture adventures we tend to focus on the part of the story when the goal has been achieved. We forget that the road to achieving that goal is paved with peaks and troughs and that it takes passion, determination, discipline, dedication and tenacity to reach the pinnacle. Preparing for my expedition has taught me to cherish and embrace the mundane tasks, obstacles and failure and I have grown so much because of that.

Genevieve Brown training for her 2020 Antarctic expedition in London

Ruth Allen, Outdoor & Ecopsychotherapist

To me adventure is… doing unexpected things that perhaps you never thought you would, or could, do. It is living creatively in your decisions and choices and expanding yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. I still strongly associate it with how we use our minds and bodies outside in the rest of nature - adventure in the classic sense – but I also experience adventure as a way of being.

In a world where so many discoveries have been made, so many Firsts have been done, and people are getting more and more niche in their adventure records, I think the frontiers of personal adventure is not where we go externally but where we go internally. This opens the realm of adventure to anyone and everyone, no longer making it the preserve of the most financially and time affluent. For a long time, adventure has been defined by a colonial and patriarchal system, that privileges a furthest, fastest approach.

An approach of ‘conquering’ nature without questioning access, rights, attitude etc. It is often competitive by its nature to Do It First. Many have continued to buy into this adventure archetype over the decades and still today. I suspect many women have experienced that this is the only way to be seen in the ‘adventure sector’. But I have always found this notion of adventure problematic and growing ever more so as we learn more about the impact of this type of approach on the planet.

For me, adventure is a mindset and an approach to the world that considers all angles, is respectful of the rest of nature and preferably has a net positive impact. What right do any of us have to adventure at the expense of others? A core part of adventure to my mind now is what it opens up for others as well. 

'Adventure is a mindset and an approach to the world that considers all angles, is respectful of the rest of nature and preferably has a net positive impact.'

Erin Monahan, Founder of Terra Incognita Media

To me, the word “adventure” carries a heavy association with white supremacist, patriarchal, colonialism. I associate “adventure” with words like “wander,” “travelling,” and “exploring,” which are often used in ahistorical contexts or frames. Jolie Varela of Indigenous Women Hike has helped me to see this in a major way.

In mainstream outdoor/environmental/adventure narratives I would love to see more folks talking about their unique position in society and their privileges that afford and allow them to access those types of experiences, as well as acknowledge who’s Indigenous land they’re visiting. Acknowledging is just a small part too. It’s important to discuss how we’re actively working to divest from colonial concepts/language/beliefs that inform our actions so that we can work towards a truly equitable world rooted in Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty. It’s important to divest from white supremacy in this way everyday.

Alastair Humphreys, Adventurer, Blogger, Author, Speaker, and Filmmaker.

To me adventure is… curiosity, newness, surprise and risk of failure. This applies whether I'm in the mountains or in my shed planning a new creative idea.

Alastair Humphreys circumnavigates the M25 during one of his early 'microadventures'.

James Dyer, Expedition Leader, Adventurer, Explorer, Educator

To me adventure is... exciting, being outdoors, peaceful, scary, fulfilling, journeys, pushing my performance.


Absar Khan, Co-Founder, TACTACK

To me adventure is... a way of life. It's a mindset. It's the m.o. an appetite. It's a vibration. Frequency. Applicable in any moment.


Naveed, Boots and Beards

To me adventure is... when you are experiencing something you normally do not do or are doing it for the first time.


Chris Burkard, Photographer and Artist

To me adventure is… being open to exploring new and at times uncomfortable situations in my everyday life. It doesn't always mean jumping on a plane to some far-flung location… it can happen in your own backyard. 

Photo: Chris Burkard

Dwayne Fields, TV Presenter, Adventurer, Explorer and Naturalist

To me adventure is... freedom! Being in a four-dimensional environment where you can choose to go either left or right, up that mountain, down that valley, into that cave or out to sea, there's nothing like it and it's how I remember feeling when I was a kid. It was a time for me when the world was full of possibilities and there were no limits to what I believed I would achieve. Now I get to share that feeling with other people either through my talks or out in nature and it feels great. That's what adventure means to me.

Lola Akinmade Åkerström, award-winning Nigerian photographer and travel writer

To me adventure is… about challenging yourself holistically. It signifies any act or experience that pushes you to physically, mentally, and emotionally see the world in a new way. Adventure can be as grand as a trekking expedition to the South Pole or as subtle as experiencing a homestay in a remote village. Adventure to me means confronting and owning your vulnerabilities in a way that connects you with others and the greater world around you. To explore beyond your mental boundaries. To challenge your physicality. To open your heart to serendipity and awe—even in the smallest of interactions that take you outside your bubbles of comfort.  

Meet @LolaAkinmade on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and find out more about her newly launched academy here.

Lola Akinmade Åkerström