What Is Adventure? 4 Definitions Anyone Can Understand


Adventure; you want it, need it and crave it.But do you really know what it is?

Even if you do know what adventure is, it helps to re-examine it’s entire meaning to maximize the benefits it can have on all areas of your life.

Only when you truly understand the full meaning of adventure can you actively seek out and find all the possible opportunities to experience and live more adventurously.

Adventure is funny that way. To enjoy the benefits of it, you have to seek it out. Have you ever known a couch potato to be adventurous?


Most people have a very limited view of what adventure actually is. Sure they know that doing death defying activities like sky diving is adventurous. They also know that travelling to exotic and far away places is also adventurous. But those are difficult adventures for the average person to experience.

If that’s all you think adventure is then you are less likely to go out and seek it and your adventures will be few and far between.

” I have found adventure in flying, in world travel, in business, and even close at hand … Adventure is a state of mind and spirit. ”  Andre Gide

Adventure has a much broader meaning and like a lot of things in this world, the meaning of adventure is open to interpretation. You know, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.


To tackle the issue of defining adventure,

-I first read over all the definitions I could find.

-I also looked online to see how people were using the word adventure in their writing and life.

-I also examined my own life’s adventures.

What I found was that adventure almost always involves risk, and or novelty.

I also identified and broke down the full meaning of adventure into 4 smaller more tangible parts.

In most cases, for something to be considered adventurous, it must fall into one or more of these 4 smaller parts.

1- new or novel, 2- Dangerous or hazardous, 3- financially risky, 4- psychologically risky.

Below is a visual chart breaking down the 4 ways to define adventure and below the chart is further explanation and examples.



A Novel Idea: Adventure for the masses

1. An adventure can be any new, novel or remarkable experience. It usually invokes excitement and or it can give you a sense of accomplishment.

This is the first and easiest way for the average person like you or me to experience adventure. As long as it’s new, novel or remarkable and makes you come alive than it can be considered an adventure.


Young children find everything so fascinating don’t they? Because everything is new and remarkable it’s like having an adventure everyday.  

Just the other day, my 4 year old daughter built a 4 foot tall Lego structure thingy. She laughed with excitement and amazement as it towered over her head. It was her first time building something so big and to her it was not only new but a remarkable experience. It was a Lego building adventure. 

As you get older, those same new and remarkable things that once brought you feelings of excitement and accomplishments diminish.

They are no longer new and you need newer experiences or different ones to bring that same level of satisfaction. The same principal applies to your life.

Adventure doesn’t discriminate

The beauty of doing new and remarkable things is that it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are old, physically handicapped, visually impaired, young or a fearful introvert. Anyone can experience the adventure of doing something new and or remarkable because we each have our own point of view and threshold of what adventure is.

Best of all, If you find life is boring, mundane or just feels too common than trying a new adventure might be the answer to spicing up your life.

Even changing the smallest routine in your life is like experiencing something new and can mean the difference between a good day and bad day. Take it from me. I’ve been there and still sometimes go there.

IT’S RISKY AND THE OUTCOME IS UNCERTAIN: Dangerous & hazardous, Financially Risky, Emotionally Risky

2. A bold, daring or risky undertaking usually involving danger, the unknown and an uncertain outcome.

The second way i found adventure used was as a risky and or danger.  Things in this group encompass all things risky and or have an unknown outcome. Risky or dangerous adventures can still be broken down further into 3 smaller sub groups.  Those  3 sub groups under Risky adventures are

1- physically dangerous or Hazardous, 2- Financially Risky and 3- Psychologically Risky.

2a. Physical Dangers or Hazardous

The first of the 3 adventurous risks is not only the most obvious adventure, it is also the least accessible to the average person.

It’s the type of adventure that thrill seekers experience. People who want the adrenaline rush of jumping out of planes, scuba diving with sharks or climbing mount Everest.

But be careful, not all physically dangerous adventures make you feel the same. Although jumping out of a plane would be an adventure for me, the thought of it is scary and terrifying. That fear factor might far outweigh any benefit or excitement I get from doing that adventure.

I won’t speak anymore about this type of adventure because it is the most widely known version of adventure.

3a. Financially Risky

The second type of adventure that falls under the adventurous risk category may come as the biggest surprise. It involves financial or commercial speculation and risk.

To be honest, I never considered a financial risk an adventure but the more I thought about it, the more I realized, yeah, it is an adventure.


Gamblers, stock market speculators and even entrepreneurs are all embarking on an adventure where the outcome is unknown and their money and finances may be at risk.

imageI am not an avid gambler but I used to go the casino of Montreal with my aunt every few years. The last time I went, I played the slot machines and I remember feeling excitement and anticipation as I watched and waited the for the reels to stop spinning and line up to form a match.

I have to admit, It was fun and hearing the sound of coins dropping in my tray was exhilarating.  I won 250 dollars that day.

The same excitement and satisfaction can be had in an entrepreneurial venture or even a work venture. I once took a pay cut when I changed careers from financial analyst to Marketing analyst.

I didn’t know what would happen in my new career . I really couldn’t afford the pay cut but I remember how it made me feel. The risk felt like a challenge and it gave me a goal to pursue. When I doubled my salary a few years later I was over the moon and felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Need I say more?

WARNING!, sometimes in our busy world of work and life, we focus too much on financial risk and or climbing the corporate ladder. I fell into this trap of trying to reach the next pay increase, the next promotion and soon instead of satisfaction I was getting burnt out. It’s ok to work hard, just don’t make it your singular objective in life.

2c. Emotional or Psychologically Risky

The third and final type of risky adventure is an emotional or psychological risk which if you think about it can be either real or perceived.

This type of adventure often involves overcoming your fears. The adventure in essence becomes about winning the battle over fear.

I used to be extremely shy and introverted. So much so that I would avoid making contact with people at work and in public. I’ve since overcome my shyness but only by giving myself personal challenges. Sometimes it’s planned, sometimes the moment just arrives and I push myself to take it.


One emotionally adventurous risk I pursued was to get up in public and speak. Well, kind of. I was in Floyd Virginia visiting my brother-in-law during their annual summer festivals. I entered myself in the hollering contest. Basically, I had to get up on stage and scream at the top of my lungs. You should read about it here.

Emotionally, I was scared to death. I was sweating and nervous and I felt  like a fool standing up there. But after it was said and done, I realized I was scared for nothing. I not only have that memory but I also feel like I conquered a fear that was holding me back.

I’m still afraid of standing up in public but I’m less afraid now and want to try it again.

By having a broader understanding of what adventure is, you open yourself up to experiencing adventure almost everyday and in all aspects of your life.

Once you start living life more adventurously, you will start to notice life is more interesting and less boring and ultimately you’ll truly be living your life to the fullest.

What was your last adventure big or small?   Do you wish you could have more adventure in your life. Do you think I ‘m wrong in how I broke down adventure into 4 smaller parts?

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