We need non-digital adventure

Photo by Christine K via Flickr (Creative Commons)

A couple weekends ago I told Megan and Paul to get in the car, we were going on a secret adventure.

Anticipation in the car was high. Were we going for ice cream? Was dad taking us to a movie? Were we going to buy new video games?

All were possibilities. But none were realities.

Dad’s plan– Spend an hour at Barnes & Noble picking out books.

I thought you were taking us on an adventure, dad. This sucks.” Those were the words of my 8 year old son as we entered the store.

I explained, “You need to take your brain on a non-digital adventure. And books can take you there.” Every time they picked up a book it was tied to a video game or cartoon. “Non-digital adventure. Longer, older, think about the classics.” They complained, “I don’t want to read an old book. I want to read something new. New stuff is good, old stuff is boring.” 

In the end we made a compromise. They could each pick out whatever book they wanted. And dad picked out two books for them. (The first two books in the Narnia series.)

Megan took the compromise. Paul didn’t pick out a book and went home empty handed on principle.

I went home and planned our camping trip– A non-digital adventure of the mind, body, and soul.

Besides restricting use, what are ways you help your kids take their brain on non-digital adventures? 

Travel Video Clip

The Sea

ten things i have learned about the sea from lorenzo fonda on Vimeo.

I was mesmerized by this short film. Like the filmmaker, there is something about the ocean that speaks deeply to my soul.

If I had unlimited time to travel, explore, and write… traveling by cargo ship would be incredible. Am I the only one who looks at this film and says, 14 days from San Francisco to Xiamen? Yes, please!

ht to Likecool

hmm... thoughts

Adventure as a Discipline

For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about how wimpy people are.

There is something strange to me that people allow the most remote possibility of getting hurt, lost, robbed, missing a meal, missing a flight, or even not a clean place to pee define their lives. What a boring life they live.

I want my life to be full of adventure.

Not just big adventures– day-to-day adventures too!

It seems to me that people who like to plan everything, take as little risk as possible, and pre-think too many details are really missing something in life. With an entire ever-changing planet to explore it is inconceivable to me that people like to eliminate discovery and adventure.

There is something spiritual about adventure. We are hard-wired to explore, discover… and depend on the goodness of others. As children we dream huge dreams! We devour books about adventure. Every adventure we hear about we want to go on. We wanted to go to the moon and mars. We wanted to go Africa. We wanted to live in Central Park in New York City.

Stepping into an element of the unknown provides an incredible feeling. It acknowledges how God is in control and we are not. When we make adventure the enemy we lie to ourselves– God is in control of every detail all day, every day anyways!

I love stepping into the unknown with nothing more than a feeling that everything is going to be OK. I even like pressing through the fear of “um, maybe this isn’t safe” and then the joy of laughing at myself when it all works out.

I like depending on the kindness of strangers when I get lost. I like meeting new people in full recognition that there are no accidental meetings. I like discovering little things and big things. Those that look at these things as failures seem to think that life is meant to be sanitary.

When we start removing this from our lives we take control. When I hear people tell me that they don’t like to be surprised, that they need to know when they will arrive, where they will eat, and what every detail is– it makes me wonder what is wrong with them.

A spirit of adventure is not the lack of ability to plan. It is the lack of a need to plan every detail or measure every risk in life’s journey.

Adventure and Recklessness

There is a difference between the a spirit of adventure and a spirit of recklessness. It would be reckless to go on a 3 day hike up a mountain with no gear, no food, and no real plan. It would be reckless to jump off of a cliff into the ocean without knowing how deep the water is. It would be reckless to drop off 10 high school students for a homeless experience with no training.

But embracing life’s adventures is not reckless. There’s always a risk assessment. A general idea of a safety plan. On and on.

The goodness of others

I really think one of the things that holds people back is a belief, deep in our soul, that all people are out to hurt us. We think everyone is a potential ax murderer or rapist.

Hogwash. People are generally good. If you have a smile on your face and an honest question… you can go anywhere in the world and probably find someone who will help you when you get lost, give you a meal, find you a place to sleep, and give you good advice.

Adventure is an attitude. When you embrace it the world opens to discovery.

Questions: Do you see a spirit of adventure as a spiritual issue? Do you still dream about the same adventures you dreamt about when you were a kid? What is it in you that draws you to stories/movies/television shows about adventure?