Not too long ago, a classmate asked why I didn't like travel and adventure. I muttered something about being a homebody and liking to be in bed at a reasonable hour. She seemed appeased and I changed the subject. It's true, I don't like the idea of adventure; I know what adventure means.
Adventure means nothing to eat and no place to sleep. It means not being sure of much of anything. It means hoping for the best for the next couple of minutes without any thought beyond that.
It means walking in the summer heat with no cash and ten miles to go before you reach your new destination. The old destination is gone because your transportation has left you and now you have to go where you can instead of where you wanted.
It means shivering until the cold no longer has that effect on you. You huddle in the darkness, afraid that if you fall asleep you'll never wake up. The chill seeps through all your clothes and through your muscles and is reaching for your bones. Finally, you brake into a garage to get out of the wind. Inside it's still cold but it's warmer than outside. Warm enough that exhaustion can finally overcome you and make you fall asleep.
Adventure is waking to find an angry person yelling because some punk is sleeping in his garage.
Walking in the cold through deep snow, you have to keep moving. The cold tears at your energy. The trudging needs that energy. One more step, one more step, you tell yourself. Those steps grow harder to take. The ground pulls at you. The snow looks soft. You can rest, just a little while, there in the snow. You know that if you do, you'll never get up again.
It's still tempting. It calls. It wants you to rest, just a little while. The cold will comfort you, cradle you. The gently falling snowflakes are as small angels that will watch over you while you sleep. Don't you want to sleep?
You have to shake off the spell or you'll see the dawn with glassy eyes.
Adventure is a group of punks who need to prove their manhood and place in their society through violence toward a stranger. You don't even know these people; you're just passing by. You're a stranger.
Adventure is hearing a bone crack not because the sound traveled through the air to your ear. That sound originated in that guy's ribcage, transferred through your hand, up your arm and then to your ear. You wince because you never really liked hurting people but you hope he'll be in enough pain that you can deal with his buddies and make your escape.
Becoming an adrenaline junkie who gets in fights just for the rush, now that's adventure. You're fairly good at fighting but you've never been tested against great fighters. Fortunately, when trying to get people to attack you, you're rarely facing anyone great. You delight in barely hurting your opponents physically, but you always leave them demoralized. They know you could have hurt them if you wanted to.
Eventually, too many of the fights are tough. That's enough of that crap. No more putting yourself where people who want to fight will find you.
Adventure is the feeling of needles ripping through your abdomen because you just ate. It was your first food in ten days. A few more days and the weakness would have been too great to carry on. You have to eat, no matter how much it hurts. You don't know where your next meal will be.
Adventure is having people who used to be your friends decide they don't know you anymore. They know only bad people have adventures. You're having an adventure so you must have become bad. The idea of extenuating circumstances is gone. You're alone, deserted. All you're trying to do is get your life back. They assume you threw it away. They can't conceive of the idea that you did not.
No, I don't care much for adventure. I'm a bit of homebody. I like to go to bed at a reasonable hour and I like knowing my next meal or snack is in the kitchen. I like driving where I need to go. It's good when the folks in the neighborhood smile and wave rather than run quickly into their houses. It's good to be home.