What price for adventure?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

"Don't die without embracing the daring adventure your life was meant to be." Steve Pavlina

"Jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your soul." Jaime Lyn Beatty

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." Neale Donald Walsch

There are thousands of quotes out there inspiring us to go and embrace adventure, throw caution to the wind and live our life to the full. These quotes and the people that spout them encourage us to collect memories in place of things, to welcome uncertainty, take risks, explore, discover and find our true selves in the pursuit of adventure. It's enough to make you want to instantly throw on a back-pack and go for a hike in the wilderness, isn't it?

But does chasing adventure and an adventurous life come at a price? What would you be willing to sacrifice to grab some adventure?

Many millennials appear to be delaying the traditional preferences of previous generations to attain ever more adventurous and transient lifestyles. They are putting off settling down, saying no to buying property, declining starting their families young and certainly not accumulating all of the possessions that come with family life, in order to be more mobile, live with more freedom and collect experiences first. Their price for adventure is time. They're trading the idea of getting settled in their 20s for an extra decade or more of adventure. Sounds like a fair swap.

Some people will exchange certainty to get a taste of adventure. They switch their routine, monotonous existence in front of screens, the regular commute to work and comfortable surroundings for a change of pace in a new location, a different position or unusual experience. It might be temporary in the form of a vacation or longer term with a permanent shift. Either way, the predictability and security of the routine life is exchanged for the potential opportunities and experiences of something different. Again- a seemingly fair trade.

Many of us give up money, weekends and slow summers at home for adventure on a regular basis. We buy our place in a 'guided adventure tour' or a choose-your-own-adventure style trip away to remote places with new and exciting experiences. We give hours of our time for a trek up a mountain or a brush with nature to keep that spark of adventurous spirit alive or at least satiated until we can be adventurous again. Paying some of our hard-earned money, our weekend or even weeks of our annual leave seems reasonable to attain exposure to some adventure.

But would you be willing to give even more?

Recently my family has been offered the opportunity to relocate for a number of years internationally. A move from our familiar surroundings in Australia to the complete unknown in the USA. Now both my husband and I are chasers of mild adventures. Mild, meaning we love international travel and most new experiences but not extreme adventures- we will not be applying for the next season of Survivor or selling all of our possessions to live off the land in the back of Borneo. We're your typical mid-range adventure seekers. We like to know we're alive and shake things up a bit but without too much risk or, in other words, too high a price.

When this opportunity to relocate to the USA was offered we didn't even hesitate - we just instinctively knew it was something we wanted to do. We had moved to the UK as as family some 8 years earlier for 3.5 years and agreed it was single-handedly the best experience of our lives. We wanted more of that; the opportunity for greater and varied travel, the chance to live in a different location with some different cultural norms, the possibility of making new friends and having experiences we could not have staying in our home in Australia. This was our favourite flavour of adventure. We were sold.

What price would you pay to have an adventure?

Decision made. Adventure now awaits us. But at what price?

As we move through the process towards this relocation some of the cost (not just monetary) is becoming apparent:

  • having our children move schools (again) and find new friends (again)

  • having to leave behind close family and friends for a few years

  • having to lease our much loved family home out to tenants who may or may not look after it

  • having to commit hours and hours of time to administration of passports, visas, health and dental screenings, logistics and planning, finding a new home, new schools and new services to enable the transition to happen

  • having to potentially give up an income if I cannot continue working while there

  • having to start again with no support, no family, no friends initially

  • having to sell our cars and purchase new ones over there - plus learning to drive on the other side of the car on the other side of the road (eeek!)

  • having to pay almost $10,000 to relocate our beloved pet dog to remain with us

  • having to miss weddings, birthdays, family events and possibly even funerals in coming years because flying home regularly is cost-prohibitive

  • having to work out what possessions stay in Australia in storage (as not all can come) and convincing kids that leaving some of their things behind doesn't mean they're gone forever

  • having to tear up the roots we've laid in our community at sports clubs, church, schools and groups to start again

  • then doing it all over again when we move back home

  • and much more besides...

That list is long. That price is high.

Too high? For others - maybe, yes. For us - a considered no. We have weighed up the costs, both financially, logistically and mentally, and agreed wholeheartedly that this adventure is worth all of that and more.

Friends and family have marvelled (and sometimes shuddered) at our commitment and desire to do this. Others have said they'd jump at the same opportunity. And I can't help but think the leap today is so much smaller than the leap so many migrant families made to resettle in Australia in years past when communication wasn't as advanced and you really did feel a world away from everything familiar. Plus back then, there was no going home in a few years- international relocation was a life sentence. I draw inspiration from their enormous courage.

Scientists have started researching whether you can be born adventurous, whether there is a chemical component or previous experience which can impact the region of your brain stimulated when exploring the unknown. I'm not sure if hubby and I were born adventurous, developed adventurous tendencies along the way or if we're just plain optimistic adventure accountants when we compare the cost and benefit ratio. Either way, we know we can sleep at night with what we are willing to exchange for this impending adventure.

Have you given thought to what price you would be willing to pay for an adventure of your own?

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