The Meaning of Adventurous in Everyday Life

Standing in the snow near rainbow mountain in Cusco. Living an adventurous life.

I don’t know about you, but, next to the meaning of ‘adventurous’ in the dictionary I imagine a picture of some badass guy with a machete, hiking through the jungle on a quest to find some undiscovered native tribe.

But what really makes someone adventurous? What does adventurous really mean?

I’ve been on plenty of ‘typical sounding’ adventures in my life. With epic views, exotic places and rough, physical journeys.

But what happens to the meaning of adventurous when life becomes a little more normal? When it slows down and we get caught up in all the little intricacies and mundane details of everyday life?

Maybe adventure can be found in our lives every day. We just need to know where to look.

A Sense of Curiosity

When the days start to feel more or less samey and we get absorbed into our jobs and lifestyles we can lose an important, yet, often underrepresented side of ourselves. Curiosity.

Everyone knows that kids ask a million questions and it’s because the world is just innately…fascinating. Why is the sky blue? How many stars are there? And the one that always intrigued me when I was kid…what is there beyond that ocean?

I believe we are all curious creatures. So don’t lose that. The world is interesting. Every random stranger you sit next to on the bus has a fascinating story to tell you.

The world might not always be sunshine and rainbows but it is never boring unless you are ‘thinking boringly’. Open your eyes. Talk to strangers (unless you’re under 12). Ask silly questions. Be adventurous.

Doing Things That Scare You

We can find the meaning of adventurous by constantly pushing ourselves to do and conquer things that seem scary (but aren’t actually scary).

I remember the first time I stepped foot on a plane heading to some land where I knew no-one nor much about where I was going or what lay in front of me. It was scary, really scary. But at the same time, I felt free, brave and limitless and that is a feeling you can only have whilst doing something that truly scares you.

What scares you?

Write down a list of things that scare you (be honest). Then write when you are going to do each one and how and then slowly tick them off.

In my case, I am terrified of heights, especially rock climbing. So, about 2 months ago I decided I would climb the highest wall at my local indoor climbing gym. I ended up failing a few times but I kept coming back and eventually I touched the top of that stubborn old wall and I felt that rush of courage, pride and freedom.


This phrase was coined by Alastair Humphreys (one of my favourite modern adventurers). I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. You work out when you have free time, maybe on Friday afternoon until Saturday evening and you map out a short but awesome local adventure!

The cool thing about this is that you could make it part of your weekly routine. One week you could go on a biking adventure to a local national park, camp there overnight, watch the stars and eat sausages by a campfire. The next week you could be swimming across a river and sleeping on a local hillside. The possibilities are endless.

Making Life Exciting

Adventure (in the typical sense) is a really important part of my life. I’ve been on some pretty cool sounding adventures like exploring the Amazon Rainforest, running up volcanoes and hiking mountains of over 5000-meters.

But the meaning of adventurous for me has always been about how passionate and excited about my life I am. Some of the most adventurous times for me were when I was loving my work every day and came home excited to start the next day. I had multiple projects going on that I was super excited about. Awesome travel plans waiting for me in the future. And on top of that, I was hanging out with my best friends and just having a fun time.

At times where I have looked back at my life at all the things I have done, the people I have met, the things I have seen, and the people I’ve fallen in love with. It all feels like an adventure. All of it. Even, and sometimes especially, the moments in-between the epic ones. Just make sure you remember to notice it and stay adventurous.

Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.

– Unknown

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