It was that trip, I think, that hooked me on adventure, that drove me to find ways to get myself farther and farther afield. My life became, for a while, a blur of packing up the scuba gear before I had unpacked the dogsledding stuff. In the years that followed our Bahamas trip, I would find myself staring out of a little plane window at the vast and white frozen Brooks Range one month and at the red repetition of the Namib Desert the next.
I got myself to every continent, sometimes as the guide, sometimes as the passenger, and never with very much money. I got myself to cultures and landscapes so diverse and remote from one another, it seemed to me that there had to be far more undiscovered destinations than there could be adventurers in the world.
The Bahamas trip took place nearly two decades ago, before the mainstreaming of adventure, before the number of adventurers started to overwhelm the number of adventures, before adventure itself was something that could be marketed, manipulated and guaranteed. These days, a lot more of us are out there, and adventure has become big business. Now people crave adventure the way they used to crave drags or fast cars, and there are those of us who are willing to package it and sell it to them, since it means that we can make our livings doing what we love.
River and Wilderness Guide
I have been a river and wilderness guide for more than 10 years, and in that period I have spent weeks and months with an ever more diverse cross section of the population who no longer want to use their vacation time resting or relaxing but want to have an adventure instead. If we ask the question, Why now? the answer seems obvious.
I know my techie friends will disagree with me, but as the computer age continues to encroach upon and dominate our lives, our need for adventure becomes naturally more pronounced. Surfing the Net, guaranteed next-business-morning deliveries, faxes, modems, cellular phones, fast food, strip malls: These unavoidable components of our modern lives are the very opposite of adventure.
At one time, we were creatures who knew where our food came from. At one time, we spent the largest part of our day killing or collecting that food, finding a place to be warm for the night, surviving blizzards and floods and attacks by wild animals and other human beings. Our lives, at one time, were all about survival. (more…)