"Adventure" is one of those nebulous words that means different things to different people. According to the dictionary, "an adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome." While Ground UP adventures wouldn't disagree with this definition, we feel there is more to it than simply excitement and uncertainty. In looking for an adequate way to convey the characteristics of an adventure that we most prize, we stumbled across this four point explanation of adventures that summed up our view pretty nicely1:
1) Adventures demand that individuals confront strange and unfamiliar situations, confront inner and outer obstacles. When they step over the border that marks the area of life they are familiar with, they can see this life from a distance and can reflect upon it, new impressions can be integrated.
2) Since no two adventurous situations are the same, structural solutions have to be found that have not yet become routine actions. Where individuals have no recourse to existing routines, they must make decisions; they have to weigh alternatives, analyze risk and be able to transfer what they have learned from one context to another.
3) Normally, adventurous situations are confronted in a group. This raises the issues of responsibility and trust and demands verbal communication, the willingness to enter into discussion and the ability to cope with conflict.
4) Adventurous situations create the urge to talk about them, which gives scope for reflection about what happened and for consolidating experiences through discussion. This creates opportunities for the individuals to use the situations they have gone through as a mirror for their personal history so far and to formulate their expectations of their future.
Put simply, adventures push us to create new perspectives and solutions, expand our sense of personal power/ability, educate us about risk, and teach more effective communication.
1. As articulated by Peter Becker