Blessed Are the Adventurous

Driving through New Mexico

An adventure can be defined as a daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm.  Due to studies showing the many benefits of adventure activities, there are now possibilities for adventure travel, adventure therapy, and even adventure prescriptions handed out by physicians.

In other posts, I’ve shared how my personal adventures have changed the way I view myself and Nature, as well as my interpretation of life.  Driving new roads, hiking trails surrounded by wilderness, climbing, camping, discovering areas with immense natural beauty, and exploring the architecture, culture, and history of new destinations: these are the activities that have illuminated me from within, rehabilitating and revitalizing me from a miserable, burned-out existence.  Without having read any studies, I knew these experiences must be healthy.  Now I’ve seen proof, and I want to share it with you.

Hiking among Bristlecone Pines

In an article written for Good Nature Travel, Candace Andrews, world traveler & nature writer, says adventure travel is good for physical & mental health as well as the planet.  According to Andrews, regular hiking can increase the size of the hippocampus and help prevent age-related memory loss.  Adventures can also help us better cope with uncertainty, a skill that we could all use more of these days.  She goes on to imply that adventure travelers typically have a better appreciation for Nature, and are therefore more likely to help protect Her.

In a paper on Research Gate, three university authors look at various studies on adventure therapy (AT) and their outcomes. Key characteristics of adventure therapy, the paper states, are challenge, risk, reflection, novel settings, and experiential learning.  AT invites the participant to act, make quick decisions, and move their bodies in new ways.  These actions, once assimilated into previously learned behaviors and attitudes, can translate into “real life” benefits, like increased courage, adaptability, and self-confidence at work and home.

My favorite-ever campsite, with a creek running through the back

According to a study in the journal Neuron shared on the National Institute of Health website, adventurous behavior makes us feel good; it fires up the same regions of the brain as reward.  And Frank Farley, Ph.D., former President of the American Psychological Association, says that adventurous people have a sense of flourishing in their lives.  I can vouch for that!

An article in the Children and Nature Network Research Library reviews the long-term benefits of outdoor adventure programs for youngsters under the age of 25.  The lasting impacts (maintained at least a year after the program) most reported included independence, life skills, confidence, and the willingness to try new things.

Hike to an alpine lake

A 2018 essay from The Guardian announced that General Practitioners in Scotland were starting to write prescriptions for outdoor adventures.  Patients are instructed to go hill walking on Shetland’s upland moors, directed towards coastal paths to watch fulmars, to beachcomb for shells, and spot long-tailed ducks, oystercatchers and lapwings, the article readsThe adventures are prescribed to assist patients in improving specific health conditions, of course, but I like to think of all the unexpected peripheral benefits they’ll gain, as well.

Due to covid restrictions putting a hiatus on going and doing, I feel the last year and a half has just flown.  David Eagleman, Neuroscientist at Stanford University, says, The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.  By embracing new adventures, we provide our brains with opportunities to record novel, diverse experiences, expanding our sense of time.

Exploring the coast of San Diego

The human body thrives on adventure, whether a result of travel, AT programs, physician prescriptions, or other fun activities.  My adventures have changed my thinking and given me a more positive sense of being in the world, causing me to feel truly alive.  Are you blessed with an adventurous spirit? If not, in the pursuit of health and well-being, what can a little more daring, excitement, enterprise, and enthusiasm do for you?

Blessings for Adventure,

Lisa

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

64 thoughts on “Blessed Are the Adventurous

  1. Thank you for sharing your research into the benefits of an adventure. I believe it is important to practice adventuring. The more I age, the more adventures I seek. I think this spirit of exploring the new keeps us young.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I totally agree with you Lisa! We’ve just returned from an adventurous trip … drove along gravel roads, stayed in eco-friendly places that are hardly known to other people and walked an amazing hiking trail of 23km in the famous Cederberg mountains – I’m busy posting about this week-long trip. We are re-charged and full of new energy – it’s amazing how an adventurous spirit can have such a positive impact on one’s life!
    Your photo’s are amazing – that one of the tent is particularly beautiful 💌.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. This makes a lot of sense. I search out other kinds of adventures now that my stamina isn’t as plentiful as it was. I choose to eat a different type of food, listen to a different type of music or attend a religious service that is different from my own. Even having a conversation with someone from a different race or religion can be an adventure.

    I once started a conversation with a young man walking across the country to raise money for a charity. He shared stories of his adventures and I almost felt like they became my adventures as I learned much from what he said.

    Anytime we do something that stretches us as a person and takes us out of our comfort zone can be an adventure.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I absolutely agree, Carla! As a matter of fact, I considered working into the post something similar to what you’re saying, but it didn’t seem to fit. I am a super-adventurous cook, as you probably know! I am happy to hear you continue to be adventurous! Wishing you & Bob a great weekend! 🌞

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  4. This is such a wonderful post, and I agree with you! There’s something special about embarking on an adventure into unknown and really experiencing the world. I see it as ‘soul food’ because not only being outside exploring the big wide world reduces stress and rejuvenates your soul, it can also increase self-awareness and make you smarter. Adventure travel is certainly good for you ☺️ thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

    Liked by 4 people

  5. We just got back from two weeks in Wyoming and although we stayed in our cabin, we had some adventures, including the two-day drive each way. The traffic in Colorado was an adventure although not the positive kind. 🙂 My biggest adventure was without a doubt spending almost a year in Europe between my junior and senior years in college in the mid-seventies, backpacking and taking the trains for the most part. But I’ve had plenty of good adventures since as well. Lovely photos as always and isn’t Arizona green right now????!!!!

    janet

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi, Janet, welcome home! Hope you had fun with the horses & in the cabin, and I look forward to reading all about it! Backpacking in Europe? Wow, that must have been life changing! Glad you enjoyed the photos, and yes, our state is very green right now! I didn’t realize how bad the flooding was up this way until we went hiking today. The mountain we ascended had huge gutters cut through it by water – along with uprooted trees and medium size boulders! I’ve never seen anything like it since I’ve been here! And all that rain has certainly encouraged wildflower growth. They are EVERYWHERE up this way! I’ll text you some photos. Have a good week! 🌞

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  6. With all the great things mentioned in your post, I think when you couple it with challenging yourself (mind/body) to stretch your abilities you have a lasting prescription for health and happiness. Oh, and yes, I did go look up what the hippocampus was and it is apparently not a college for hippos ha!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Really thoughtful and insightful post, especially on our perception of time in relation to familiarity and experience. It makes perfect sense. Your post also helps to explain why when we are physically unable to escape, either through lockdown or illness, we seek refuge and sustenance through books in order to experience another reality or perspective. Nothing beats a real adventure though and nature keeps us humble. Excellent post, love it ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This is so true, Lisa. I was sedentary for a long time, and we waste away all aspects of our being when we are immobile, when we are able to be out and about. Adventurous activities, just like meditation and eating healthy, change the brain pathways, creating new perspective and possibility. A lovely post as always. 💙

    Liked by 3 people

  9. ”adventure travel is good for physical & mental health as well as the planet”
    This really resonates with me. We tend to plan our hikes and other adventures like they are only meaningful to us, but what is their real purpose? What compels is to go and check out the next peak or vista? Is it that it is simply reconnaissance, for the brain is a feedback loop? What is it we bring to a new environment as we enter it? What are birds and other animals doing there really, when thinking about the health of our planet as a whole? I’ve had these incredible impressions lately about these things. Remove the labels and the preconceptions completely and it is a completely connected organism.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I love reading all the comments about everyone’s adventures. It is uplifting. Looking forward to more adventures myself soon. Thanks Lisa, love reading …..

    Liked by 2 people

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