Adventure by definition is an exciting or very unusual experience. We as humans, tend to look at the positive side of that word adventure. Maybe it is our sense of self-preservation that keeps our sense of adventure in line and on the safer side of things. By its very nature, though, the adventure has to entail some risk, or where would the excitement exist. The risk component has to involve a psychological or physical exposure to some danger, or there is no risk. Psychological risk involves emotional, social, moral or functional risk. In an adventure situation, the perceived threat provides the adventure. Physical risk can include two primary stages, known physical risk, and unknown physical risk.
Known Physical Risk
Climbing into a roller coaster sets you up for known physical risk. Your mind is preparing you for a consequence of being out of control at high speed, even though significant amounts of money have been spent to keep you in absolute control. Your mind and body, in conjunction, are both reeling with the anticipation of the sudden sensations you are about to experience. Your mind and body are screaming “this is perilous” though, in truth, you are at more risk of injury in your bathtub.
Unknown Physical Risk
Take the case of Tracy Morgan, for example. Returning to New York City following a show in New Jersey, Tracy and his friends were in the back of a chauffeured van as it neared a construction zone. They were evidently unaware of any danger as passengers, going so far as not even to have seatbelts on. A semi, driven by a driver who was operating far over the allowed driving times, rear-ended the van, killing one passenger and severely injuring four others. This accident highlights unknown physical risk. Unaware of any danger, the mind and body have no opportunity to prepare for the incident about to happen.
The Adventure Zone
The area between known and unknown and psychological and physical risk is where we get to meet adventure. When we jump out of a plane, our mind and body know this is a dreadful idea. Our mind sees the distance to the ground and is keenly aware of the physical cost of plummeting to meet it. Yet we are able to control the overwhelming, and what should be paralyzing, fear, by stacking up convincing arguments; Packed parachute, diving instructor, promised safety, history, etc., and because of that, we can leap out of a perfectly good airplane. Our mind, however, is taught with the list of unknowns; Is the parachute packed correctly, what if I hit my head on the door and knock myself out, what if I hit a bird on the way down, what if I pass out from fright, etc..
Keeping yourself off balance is where the fun is in adventure travel. Be educated in your risk taking. Weigh the dangers, educated yourself on the real risk and dismiss the imagined, then step into the moment and enjoy!