adventuring…

If it is adventure you seek, it is all there to be found… in the attitude and the doing.
(And not just in my Salzkammergut-inspired exemplary, and hopefully a little inspirational, ways ;) )

There is so amazingly much talk about the importance of awareness and attitude for happiness, so much search for fun and excitement in a humdrum existence, and so many a promise of everything that one product or another, from the latest electronic gadget to the next great vacation package, would supposedly offer, it seems it all ought to be understood and utilized. It isn’t.

If it is adventure you seek, at least you may be a step ahead of those still caught up in seeking nothing but comfort(s), but we still tend to get misled by the tyranny of the extraordinary where anything worthy of being called adventure has to be something extreme and outstanding. No induction into National Geographic’s Explorers Hall of Fame, no dice.

As much as we say that life’s about the living, hear that attitude is everything, we let ourselves get directed not by how we live and why, but by outside perceptions.

But, there is an element of positive thinking, of how a positive attitude can matter to your life, indeed: If you go into it seeing it as an adventure, chances are that you can make it so. Of course, it’s still easier when what you do is something special, not overly ordinary, let alone drudgery forced on you. And yet.

New Year’s Eve, I went to bed before midnight, putting my early-bird habit over celebrations.
New Year’s Day, I got up early, had the usual morning matcha and got to work on my writing.

I had thought about going up a mountain to catch the sunrise there, but my wife and I decided it would be much nicer to be there when she wakes up in the new year. So, stay I did, prepared her breakfast – then set out for a mountain tour in daylight. Good compromise, balancing family life, security, and the adventures of the ordinary and the unusual. With quite the view:

01012014 Traunstein Panorama

Getting up being thankful to have another day and approaching the day wondering what adventure it will bring – or rather, what adventure can be brought into it – can very much help be more active and thus find more that is of interest. Of course, we all get used to what is normal, fall into habits of what we always do and stop seeing what we always see.

There’s something to be said for that.

Not having to think about where you put the keys, what you’re going to wear (let alone, if there’ll be anything clean left or if doing the laundry was on the list but not a point that got done), and even what to do with your time and when, can be immensely helpful. It can even free up the mental capacity (and time) to focus on the adventurous.

Much of the recent adventure was of the mind, in the passive form of watching Sherlock, and in the active form of reading about different issues of interest. Mainly, in real books, for they provide the deep immersion that helps be somewhere and become someone else.

Adventure is the other side, and of course it’s easier with a change of circumstances. Travel somewhere far-enough away and different enough, and it will be easy to get out of routine habits, especially of seeing. Foreign experiences are called eye-opening for a reason.

Travel isn’t the panacea it’s often cracked up to be, though. We often just bring our (mis)conceptions of how “they” are and of what it is that we want to see and do – and why – along. It can be just as easy (or hard) to open one’s eyes to the new and exciting somewhere else as to the unseen and interesting where you are supposedly at home.

All it takes is a conscious break in routine, an attitude shift towards a desire to see and experience.

Just, take a different path than usual.
Stop and look up where you’d normally hunker down and rush through.
Set out on a photo safari.
Check out event listings in your area, pick something you wouldn’t normally go to, and imagine yourself going there to explore.

Starting the new year, even – or especially? – as the weather was not the best, I went out on January 5 to experience another of the traditions in the Alpine region where I spend time (not least, for the mountain running) whenever I can, the Salzkammergut: the Glöcklerlauf (“bell-ringers run,” if you must have a translation).

Which is this…

Get some new recipe or some new ingredient and try it out. (This example points to perhaps the craziest thing we’re doing, getting ourselves so used to certain ways of eating, so set in our ways – and nowadays, so sold to the industrial machine – we don’t even remember the foodways and diversity that used to exist and has usually left its traces, we don’t even want to try out anything new, and we overlook many pleasures and health-promoting possibilities in the process.)

Recently, I expanded my baking skills to include Ischler Törtchen. Okay, not the healthiest, but among the cookies they would be classified as, they are veritable cakes. Especially made this way…

 

And, having mentioned the running: This has recently become (even) less a matter of regular endurance training than one of adventuring, too. Going out in the mountains, picking different paths over my favorite one among them.

Again, it’s easier in one place than another, in the less rather than more usual. 45 minutes up a mountain still mean that you got up a mountain; 45 minutes in the usual flat environs mean nothing but having gone out for only 45 minutes. It’s harder to create excitement for the latter – and then again, shaping attitudes to work more satisfyingly, opening eyes and minds to the changes that always happen, learning to get excited about things, the simple ones and the special, seeing them as exciting because they are and because they are made to be… That’s living.

Active, adventurous, exploratory living.

And what's your take?