Forever Bound: An Adventurer’s Angst

by David King on March 18, 2013

adventure I’m a romantic, but not in the way that’s restricted to love and relationships. I’m a romantic in the most traditional sense of the word – I have a spirit for adventure, a need for excitement, and an eye for mystery. I want to see things that have never been seen, do things that have never been done, and feel things that exceed the ordinary and mundane.

I want to scrape the stratosphere with the soles of my shoes, dance with the darkness of the deepest seas; I want to climb the highest mountains and keep climbing higher, for to stop is to become complacent, and complacency doesn’t mix well with adventure. Nor does the modern world.

From what I can tell, the world has all but extinguished real opportunity for adventure. Discovery is a near relic of times past, now restricted to the endeavors of science and technology. There are too many of us, and we’re all too distracted by our gadgets and gizmos to make good on our curiosities. Of all the human emotions, our sense of adventure is by far the most repressed. Adventure has become an impracticality of sorts, a kind of social defect, at risk of being labeled escapism or defiance.

But it’s not dead. In fact, I think it’s nowhere near extinction. It has simply been silenced, muzzled by a world that appears to have all the answers – and a thousand diversions when it doesn’t.

Since I was young, I’ve wanted to go on an adventure. A real adventure. I’m not alone in my thinking, of course. I know there are others out there like me. As for everyone else? Well, they just haven’t realized it yet. I’m convinced that adventure is what we’re all searching for. At the end of the day, after all the frivolous purchases and predictable social interactions, after the back-breaking and mind-numbing labors of our comfortable and familiar routines, we’re still left feeling empty. This stuff of our daily lives simply won’t cut it. I’ve been alive for nearly 32 years, and I’m still searching for adventure. Life can be described as such, I get it, but so can a walk across the street if I play my imagination right. It’s a bit of a copout. I need something bigger. I need to stare death in the eye, to fight for my survival, and to know what it’s like to love and lose and love again. I need to abandon all of this stuff, to rid my life of possessions; to truly be of the world. My heart is bound for adventure, there’s no mistaking it.

In truth, we are both bound for adventure and bound against it, caught in a constant battle between stimulation and stability; between risk and refuge. In all its sterilized security, the modern world has separated us from our instincts and detached our minds from our souls. It has constructed concrete fences between us and nature, and it has surrounded us with distractions of the most elaborate sort – telephones and movies and video games that highjack our senses and leave us begging for more, never completely satisfied. Never fulfilled. It’s all a distraction, and its meaning and purpose are only as great as its emptiest contender. Be it in our reconnection with the natural world or in our reconnection with the deepest parts of our selves, the importance of adventure cannot be overlooked. It is where true meaning lies. And by extension, it is where true purpose is discovered. It is in real adventure that we discover ourselves.

I will have my adventure, someday. How will I find it? I’m not sure, but I know it’s out there, calling in silent screams; beckoning from the grasslands of the Serengeti, or from the jungles of Peru; or perhaps, if I should be so lucky, from some distant corner of the universe yet to be met by human eyes. This is my angst.

“When early explorers first set out West across the Atlantic, most people thought the world was flat. Most people thought if you sailed far enough West, you would drop off a plane into nothing. Those vessels sailing out into the unknown, they weren’t carrying noblemen or aristocrats, artists or merchants. They were crewed by people living on the edge of life: the madmen, orphans, ex-convicts, outcasts like myself. As a felon, I’m an unlikely candidate for most things. But perhaps not for this. Perhaps I am the most likely.” (From the 2011 movie Another Earth – highly recommended.)

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