I remember adventuring on weekends, holidays, and summer nights. I grew up scaling a twenty-foot outcrop (my Everest), playing tag, kick-the-can, capture-the-flag, and man-hunt in the streets late into summer darkness. Screen doors slammed behind parents who yelled, “Time to come home, it’s getting late.” Street games; the smells of DEET and roasting marshmallows; the sounds of my neighbors’ chatter, laughter, and the incessant chirp of cicadas; and the sweat-inducing airs filled my summer evenings. At some point, I swapped those mini adventures for Girl Scout camp in Upstate New York. Bug bites, tents that barely closed, my fear of bears and snakes, friendship bracelets, and camp songs around the bonfire, marked my weeks at Camp Amahami. Those were my adventures then. I loved and craved them.
With time my adventures matured, as did I. I exchanged the then idyllic summer evening and camp adventures for less than ideal cross-country car rides, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. On our weeks-long drives, I discovered the joys and miseries of family road trips. They were new adventures, even if in the moment I had neither the interest nor the insight to fully appreciate them.
But how do we define “adventure”? Perhaps we just play in the street, or hike in the woods at camp. Perhaps we explore the corners of our country. Perhaps we travel to distant places. Whatever adventure we choose, something changes within us, and those changes propel us to seek more heart-pumping experiences.
I believe adventure is when you let go of the need, driven by our society, to be tethered to a routine. It is when the desire to explore, disconnect, and change, surpasses the need to fill a wallet and comply with someone else's expectations. Adventure is what we need. Adventure cannot be defined by a single person, or a dictionary. The definition will constantly change for each person and will evolve with each new experience.
A white water rafting trip last summer was an adventure for me; it fractured my monotonous Costa Rica office routine and reinvigorated me for the intensity of the upcoming weeks. My European adventure began ten months ago: my Catalonian adventure drew its curtains closed, while my summer Mediterranean adventure currently unfolds. These past months as I traveled to different countries, I recorded the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings I experienced daily. One day, as I sit in a rocking chair, I will leaf through my thick journal pages filled with ticket stubs and museum pamphlets and bulleted lists of my daily happenings, and I will reminisce about my adventures here “on this side of the pond.” About an adventure that challenged my pedagogical practices, my social life, and my emotions; about an adventure that took me to many places on my bucket list.
Adventure can be brief, or seemingly never-ending. An hour hike on an unmarked trail might satiate your inner adventurer today, but a year-long immersive cross-cultural experience might also be what your adventure soul craves. Whether you search to break the routine of your nine-to-five, or you long to lose yourself in foreign woods, adventure awaits with an open hand, ready to pull you into its arms.
The pieces featured in our summer issue take us from the mountains of Romania, to the dense backwaters of the Amazon, to a bike route along the Rhine, to the Chilean deserts, to the holy sites of India, and more. Each piece will bring you along on adventures that we dream to live for ourselves. I hope that when you read this issue, your adventurous soul swells and that you let these anecdotes inspire you to plan your next excursion to the infinite cities, mountains, seas, deserts, rainforests, and beyond.
Photo by Jeromy Slaby
Kalindi Naslund is a multi-local Spanish teacher, traveler, home chef, reader, and freelance writer. She currently lives in Catalonia, Spain where she teaches students English and takes Catalan classes. While she’s not busy in the classroom teaching or learning, she explores the Catalonian region, makes frequent visits to Barcelona, and travels around Europe.