Life’s An Adventure. Adventure is Life? The Definition of Adventure

What’s the definition of adventure?  What’s my definition of adventure?  These are questions I asked myself when I decided that part of my work’s mission is to redefine the word’s meaning.  After discovering answers to these questions, the next step was to wonder how others define adventure.  What’s YOUR definition of adventure?  As you read through all the choices, what fits you best?  (Hint, hint…tell me how you define it in the comments below).

The Official Definition of Adventure:

The first step was to search the dictionaries for the official definitions.  I remember as a kid having a monster-sized dictionary where we would look up words for fun.  I’m thinking that old thing is just being used as a doorstop or for pressing flowers these days.definition of adventure Miriam Webster


How I Redefine Adventure:

My personal definition was years in the making.  I had always thought of adventure as ‘backpacking across Nepal’ type of thing.  But then I started pushing myself to try new things under the auspice of ‘adventure.’  When I started this business, I created my tag line of “Shifting perceptions, one adventure at a time.”  Over time, that’s become the meaning of adventure to me.

my definition of adventure

How Others Define Adventure:

Since I’ve developed this habit of wondering, it came naturally to ask others to define the word (without looking it up!).  I received so many responses, it would be challenging to include them all here.  (For privacy’s sake, I’m not using full names or have changed them.  In some cases, I’ve edited them for clarity and spelling.)  The concepts seem to center around four categories- attitude, travel, the unknown, and excitement.

1) Adventure as an Attitude

Adventure is all about taking each experience, regardless if you know the outcome or not, and facing it head on. It is about seeing the world from a different perspective even if you saw it 1 million times before. It is choosing to see the beauty of the ordinary and finding ways on how to do it differently. ~Anna

Following my curiosity.  Exploring new areas in the city or nature.  Being open to my own discomfort.  Remembering that everything is funny.  Exploration without expectation. ~Nola

Adventure to me is doing something differently, whether it’s an activity, way of thinking, perspective…. or trying something new. ~Kate

To forge ahead into a plan or endeavor-that has some or all unknown elements- with current and the knowledge that the journey is the destination; An endeavor in which you are your journey/destination; A journey inward, as metaphorical experience in the outer world. ~Joanna

Anything that gives you a thrill. Sometimes just hanging with a friend can turn into an adventure. It’s the way you approach life. ~Michelle

An experience that is not necessarily constrained; that reveals something new, unexpected or not; that brings joy, or educates; an event, or string of events that will always be remembered. ~Diane

Exploration and heightened senses.  The capacity to feel that without going anywhere different necessarily. ~Loretta

I’ve never been a white-water-raftin’, bungee-jumpin’ kind of girl—that’s not how I define adventure for myself. What I know for sure is this: The most important journey of our lives doesn’t necessarily involve climbing the highest peak or trekking around the world. The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.

Having the courage to stand up and pursue your dreams will give you life’s greatest reward and life’s greatest adventure.

This I know for sure: There really is no place like home. The place that speaks to the space within that resonates as you.

Here in my own backyard, I find true comfort and joy (not just the Christmas carol kind) in knowing that every opportunity to open my eyes and meet a new day is an adventure all its own. 

This is the real adventure of our lives: Who will you be? How will you show up when it matters?

~Oprah (from “What Oprah Knows For Sure About Life’s Biggest Adventures”)

Oprah at Weight Watchers HQ who has a great definition of adventure

Oprah came to the Weight Watchers headquarters during my last year working there. It was awesome to be “this close” to her!

2) Adventure as the unknown, out of comfort zone or a risk

To set out with excitement into the unknown.  Embracing the challenges it presents, and being ready to be surprised and to surprise myself. ~Anne-Marie

Willfully choosing an unknown path with the certainty that something unforgettable and unexpected will happen. ~Link

Stepping into the unknown…a new situation, travel, exploration.  Open to not knowing, with a sense of wonder and welcome.  A journey, with excitement about the newness of the experience and anticipation of what might unfold. ~Rebecca

A little unknown, a little expectation, a little fear, a little off the beaten path, a little “magic,” a little not standard day – all mixed up together in a cocktail that creates a story at the end. ~Suzie

Adventure is learning to let go and fly

Embracing the unknown and trusting and letting go! Let go and the net will appear! ~ Bobby

Adventure requires risk. Risk requires bravery. Adventure to me is having bravery enough to take the risk with hopeful expectations that you will be rewarded with something. Be it a fun experience, a profitable tangible gain, or happiness. Maybe even fulfillment of some needed aspects such as a rush of excitement, seeking answers, or achievement of a goal. ~Debb

Doing something that scares you just enough and excites you a whole bunch! Something that challenges your comfort zone or challenges you physically…I love an adventure! ~Erin

Stepping outside of your comfort zone – doing the unexpected – going further than usual. ~David

Adventure is going out of the box with financial planning. ~Tami

To put yourself out there, take risks, and karma/Universe returns the favor. ~Hannah

Doing something outside of a normal routine, out of character, 10 steps off…with a sense of exhilaration. ~Mary

Doing something out of the ordinary that ignites my soul.  Fun, perhaps spontaneous, involving a wee bit of risk.  Ornate.  Living in joy. ~Julie

Getting out of your comfort zone, trying something new as definition of adventure

Getting out of your comfort zone, trying something new. And trying can be anything from eating something, experience something, music, travels, just about anything that is outside of what you know. With an attitude of exploring. Don’t have to be a high impact like adventure travel or motorcycle. But there’s a curiosity factor involved somewhere. ~Larissa

3) Adventure as Transformative Travel

Doing something and going somewhere you never thought you’d actually do/go and when you’re there you still can’t believe it. ~Cherise

Going somewhere you have never been before and winging it! Those are usually the best adventures. ~Karen

Quitting a job and taking the kids on a year-long adventure.  We did one for two months and it was the best. Just scary. ~Annie

Traveling someplace with my children and my man where nobody knows us and going on a nice shopping spree.  Oh yes, shopping is an Adventure because sometimes some items are on
CLEARANCE.  When you travel to different places you find new stuff you may not have seen around your hometown. ~Sheila

Going to Florida on vacation with no place to stay for two days out of the 7. ~Ginny

Attending an art exhibit and getting a meal at a highly rated restaurant I haven’t visited.  Making travel plans with inspiring activities to experience. ~Holly

Adventure is to explore interesting places, people, and history with the outcome of interacting with others who have a different worldview. ~Gretchen

Hanging out with me while in a foreign country. ~Daniela

Any direction will get you there; no time constraint; and a like-minded companion. ~Jeff

Getting lost and not calling it that.~ Grandma (paraphrasing her grandson, who once called getting lost an adventure!)

Fernweh definition as it relates to adventure

My brother gifted me this word. The impression the word means to us is the yearning for adventure, the “it’s not the destination but the journey” part of adventure travel.

4) Adventure as seen through the fun/exciting/new lens

Pursuing new experiences combined with excitement about what might occur! ~Leon

Doing something that makes your heart pound. ~Lisa

Jumping in. Kinda my life. Exploring everything! ~Nina

Something fun & exciting with maybe an element of risk. ~Ken

Being Spontaneous. ~Roberta

Being Free. And feeling a sense of freedom… For ME. ~Deborah

Adventures are fun mixed with curiosity and letting things flow. ~Terry

Doing something that makes you take your breath in–and going on until you’re breathing normally again. ~Nancy

Anything that makes you feel renewed. ~ Jan

Living life. We’re all winging it from one moment to the next. A giant rollercoaster. ~Boris

Just getting up every morning? ~John

Something you’ve never done before that makes your body quiver with excitement. ~Jessica


Adventure as an Attitude, part 2

Adventure, it seems, has an element of fun excitement to most people.  An element of risk is key.  I still see Adventure as an Attitude, a way of looking at life.  I’ll end this introspection into the meaning of adventure with two quotes from a person I admire, someone who feels his whole life has been and is an adventure, Sir Richard Branson.  

Adventure as a mindset allows you to see difficulties as challenges to be overcome, rather than obstacles to be failed.

Richard Branson on a bike with quote



Maybe another adventure for me will be to connect with Richard Branson and discover his actual definition of Adventure.  But for now…  with all these choices you’ve read, I’d like you to tell me your definition of Adventure!


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  1. Llyane @FrenchOnSkype

    I think that adventure is the word that defines me the best.
    I finished a degree to use it for 5 years, then I’ve changed it for careers in 3 other industries.
    I immigrated from Europe to America with my 6 year old son, with $1,500 borrowed money, and found a job after 2 weeks.
    I’m running my own business.
    And the journey continues.
    I love the most the definition as “craving for a place you’ve never been”, because that vision alone can make me find the resources to try for size experiences I didn’t have yet.
    One is to go and live in Australia for a few months.
    Another is to visit Dubai.
    Another is to have a wonderful partnership.
    Here’s to adventure and all the joys of stepping in shoes we didn’t try yet!

  2. Lisa P

    So many good definitions/ideas here!

    saying yes to the unknown is the closest I can come to a definition

    I don’t consider myself a risk -taker but saying yes in unusual (read: out of my comfort zone) circumstances has led to unusual results! Since saying yes to moving to the PNW this past fall, I am practicing more —
    Maybe I am getter closer to my real being by doing so.

    • Stacey Newman Weldon

      I love how your attitude is shifting! Moving across the country is a major leap of faith and adventure. But pushing your comfort zone – that’s a great mindset for growth!


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