Why you should always pursue adventure, even if it might kill you – Guest Post

Today’s Music: Van Halen – Jump
Days Til Spring: 50

A few weeks ago, Eric Murtaugh asked me to do a guest post on learning to scuba dive. It was my pleasure, and I had a good time writing it.
Today, Eric returns the favor with some thoughts on why adventure in the first place.
After you’ve read this, check out his site. Start with the way he proposed to his wife, then explore the rest. Seriously, he’s out of control.
In the best possible way.

Eric has phrased the why better than I ever could. Feel free to leave comments either here or on his site. And let us know what you’re planning. We may want to try it too…

Bet I can try this before Eric does!!!

Why you should always pursue adventure, even if it might kill you
Eric Murtaugh

Think back to the crazy things you’ve done in life; those exhilarating times when you woke up the next morning and thought, “damn, how exactly did I make it out alive?”

How did you feel afterwards? Slightly stupid? Or ready to get out there and do it again?

If you’re anything like me, I’m willing to bet you went with the latter.

And here’s why: each and every time you pull off another blood pumping, heart racing stunt, you feel more and more alive.

I can recall three events in my life where thrill seeking trumped intelligence:

1. Rafting the Gunnison River in a beat up inflatable kayak
2. Sailing a choppy, ice cold lake
3. Canoeing a flooded river, and the river won

In each example, I should’ve exercised patience.

I should’ve insisted we wait for the patch repairs to dry on my kayak. I should’ve known sailing in cold water without a wetsuit was an invitation to hypothermia. I should’ve known navigating a flooded river in a canoe would not end well (yep, my buddy and I almost died).

But you know what? I’ll never, ever forget those days. The details remain so vivid. This, coming from a guy who can’t remember where he placed his keys last night.

Look, I’m not suggesting you put your life on the line each and every time you head out for another round of adventure. That’s just silly.

The lesson here is you should take risks in life.

Sometimes those risks will backfire and you will find yourself in a tricky situation. If you survive, and let’s hope you always do, you will learn to value those moments, even if you feel like a total idiot for a few days.

Have you ever been in a situation where thrill seeking and adventure trumped intelligence?

56 responses to “Why you should always pursue adventure, even if it might kill you – Guest Post

  1. Nice post, Eric and I love your site. I’m not an adventurer, but your posts inspire me to try to be! I’m still seriously considering the scuba diving thing from Guap’s post on your site…


  2. Parasailing in Lake Tahoe. One of the stupidest things I have ever done. I nearly lost my mind during the five minutes I was in the air.


  3. whiteladyinthehood

    This is no “super” adventure but, once my husband and I went on this amazing hike (up Northwest) at one point you had to ‘drop down’ in this cave and I was really scared..but, we found the “Waterfall” that day – that was amazing! Cold rushing water, massive boulders, giant flat rocks to lay out on… a clear pool we swam in – felt like the only two people in the world kinda thing…I’ll never forget that adventure…


    • Any adventure that gets you going is a super adventure, whiteladyinthehood!
      And to go through the fear and then get a reward like your waterfall? That’s what it’s all about!


  4. Adventure is completely subjective, sometimes it’s an adventure just getting across town. : ) To me adventure isn’t something which happens on the weekend, life IS adventure. I’ve no kids, no husband, no permanent job, live with room mates, and everything I own fits in my backpack….a friend could call up today and ask if I want to go ….wherever…and I could easily say ‘hell, yes!’. This lifestyle is not for everyone and sometimes I consider what life would be like to have a career, own a house, have family and the security of money in the bank….but that just doesn’t interest me, at least not yet. My father and I have an on going joke that Amelia Earhart’s last words were probably ‘oh shit!’. This joke is his way of hinting to me that maybe I should settle down, but to me I’d much rather my last words be ‘oh shit’ than ‘could you please pass the remote’.


  5. I would be way too scared to do any of those things. But if I did them, I probably would remember them forever as well.
    Nice post Eric!


  6. Pingback: Guest post with Guapola.com « eric murtaugh

  7. The best adventures are the ones you live through. The older and less immortal I get, the more I figure I’ve used up my luck and I think twice before strapping on a backpack and doing long haul cross country, or climbing a peak, or tossing a kayak into a flooded stream.. You go, guy.


  8. Sounds like you used to do it though, Barb. Before, you know, the common sense thing…


  9. Riding on the runner of a helicopter @ 2,500 feet.
    Cliff diving.
    Motorcycle racing.
    Snorkeling looking for big game fish.
    Diving off Hell’s Gate…110 feet…40 feet of water. (Really stupid.)
    Swimming to shore in Lake Michigan…in 52 degree water…for a mile.

    I would do the roller coaster/blade thing. Waiting on my daughter to schedule sky diving lessons.

    Not such an adrenaline junkie, but love it all.


  10. Hi,
    Love the song, I haven’t listened to Jump for ages, good memories, dancing the night away. 🙂
    Days till Autumn:- 28
    I’m a coward at heart, and wouldn’t been game to try anything too adventurous. 🙂
    But I certainly do admire the people that have the courage to try and break the limits, and I know those memories will last forever.


  11. Did I mention I hate roller coasters?


  12. Very cool guest post!


  13. Adventure is a matter of perspective. Sure Eric is about physical adventures, but hey …. isn’t a new business venture an adventure too? Therefore, I wonder about the correlation between these two adventures.

    Meanwhile, as far as the roller coaster skates … the mere thought is crazy … but we would love to see the helmet cam recording.


    • That’s a good question, Frank. I would say that for the purposes here, adventure can be defined as a relatively short burst of controlled insanity.

      I think the difference with a business venture, while it is definitely an adventure, is not necessarily one where ignoring laws (like say, financial reporting) is a good idea. For recreational adventures, laws (like gravity and physics) are ignored – or at least challenged – regularly…
      It also requires a commitment to show up on any given day, whther you want to or not – not always fun.

      Now he who manages to successfully join the two…well, that guy, I want to talk to.

      Any thoughts, Eric?


      • I attempted to tackle this very topic a few weeks ago: http://ericmurtaugh.com/2011/12/31/how-do-you-define-adventure/

        I tend to agree with you on this one, Guap. With physical adventure, there seems to be a significant amount of effort put into disobeying the rules. This is precisely why the boundaries of any given adventurous sport are constantly pushed to the max.

        Good business sense, on the other hand, says pushing the boundaries by ignoring the IRS is not an intelligent decision.

        What I think Frank is getting at though is that running a new business offers a similar rush to charging a double overhead wave or stomping a switch 540 in the backcountry. Maybe.

        If you go beyond a few of the obvious laws of business, and you start breaking rules as so many successful companies have done, I would argue that this pursuit is pretty damn adventurous.

        When adventure is defined as “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks; an exciting or remarkable experience,” running a new business definitely falls into that category.

        Adventure is indeed a matter of perspective, Frank. Would you rather charge a double overhead wave or land your first big client?


        • Guapo and Eric … great stuff and thanks for sharing.

          I was simply considering the risk taking involved in a new business … and all within the law. That mindset is unique and not for anyone, thus I was wondering about the correlation between two. Then again, as the two of you have noted, each adventure and adventure type has its own characteristics.

          Great discussion!


  14. I’ve had a few hiking experiences when I should have turned back because of changes in weather, difficulty of terrain, or physical ailments, but it’s really hard to turn back after coming so close.


    • It really is, Good Greatsby. Fortunately, I’ve learned (the hard way) when I’ve accomplished as much as I will and am better off turning back for the day..


  15. I had 2 natural childbirths with no epidural. Beat that ;). When I was a kid, I would climb everything; huge trees, hay “houses”, large rocks with no climbing equipment. Even as a teen I climbed up a grain silo and walked across a really narrow ledge. Now that I have kids (and can’t walk) I stay pretty grounded. 😉


    • Since I can’t get out there everyday, I’m glad I have my memories to play back, like you Hobbler.
      As for the childbirth, yeah I’ll have to concede that one to you.

      Do your kids have an adventurous side?


  16. Suddenly my life seems pretty lame by comparison. I think a lot of it is in your head. One person’s adrenaline might be triggered where another person might take a snooze.
    The one thing I WILL DO with total abandon is hit the waves. I would swim in the middle of a hurricane. I’ve been instructed to get out of the water on many occasions because of the size of the waves, but I’m way too in love with the ocean and too much of a rebel to obey. I’ve never been to Oahu but I know those waves are calling my name. Someday…


  17. I completely agree about the adrenaline/snooze, A Gripping Life.
    I also think everyone has something like your swim thrill addiction, even if they haven’t figured out was theirs is yet.
    My problem is I’m addicted to too many of them!


  18. Just coming to your site, El Guapo, is an adventure in and of itself. Enjoyed this guest post and will be off to visit his site, next stop. First I have to go put on my life jacket! 🙂 . . . and my helmet . . .


  19. Living in the suburbs changes the types of adventures my kids have but my oldest two have each flown a small plane, and the third is almost old enough to.
    Probably the most adventurous thing we have done lately is go to the Dollar Store in the wheelchair. It might sound kind of lame, but I go the max speed and we have hit bumps (accidentally) hard enough to jar a wire lose on the thing. The tech. that came out told me to take it easy on the chair, but that’s just how we roll. 😉


  20. I’m sure this won’t be well-received but you asked about daring so here goes. I tried to kiss a man who wasn’t my husband (which means I’m not his wife). He was a great friend. I had a drink or two that gave me an excuse to fall back on just in case. It turned out really well but pretty badly also. Nevermind the details. It was a tremendous learning opportunity. I never knew how far I’d be willing to go or how much I was willing to compromise. It’s always been easy to judge other people who do/have done this stuff. I was able to figure out how I feel about my husband and my marriage. Information is good. Intense feelings are good. Dealing with them and coming out with no regrets is good. Being able to be p


    • Oops. Pressed post too soon.

      Mostly, I feel good about how it worked out. But only mostly. As daring adventures go, that qualifies and I loved that I was bold enough to try.

      Now I can press post.


      • So once you had figured out your feelings about your husband, and had this new confidence from your boldness (and yes, that is definitely a daring adventure), did it carry over into other parts of your life, GirlMilner?

        Knowing how far you’re willing to go is definitely valuable information, in any context.


        • Well, I know now that I’m with my husband for reasons that don’t include love or lust. Those things have been missing for a long time and feeling that spark with someone else made it much clearer that I want them. On the flip side we’ve been together for forever and what we have is very valuable. I can’t say it makes it easier to make a choice but I’m very aware that I need to make a choice.

          Wouldn’t it be nice if life weren’t so complicated?


          • It really would be nice, GirlMiner.
            I don’t doubt the value of what you and your husband have. Is it still fun and enriching without love/lust? And since you do want them, is there any way to start/rekindle them?
            (let me know if I’m being too forward/prying)


  21. I would do this if I had the guts, and I could roller skate, and if there was a roller coaster nearby..


  22. When my brother was two years old, he tried walking off the edge of the coffee table. He fell (naturally), but then got back on and continued walking off the edge of the table. We thought he was stun, but now I think he may have had an adventurous side as a child. He no longer walks off the edge of the table, but he is into zip cording, sky diving, and motorcycling.


  23. Dearest El Guapo,
    I have nominated you for one of three awards. Please do come by and see what you’ve one. It’s like a box of cracker jacks, with a fake award at the bottom! Congrats, blog friend!


  24. tasting milk to see if it’s really expired. riskiest thing i did in my life.


Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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