I sat quietly in the chair in my hotel room as the makeup artist worked her magic – applying creams and eyeshadow, using tools I didn’t even know existed in preparation for my wedding ceremony. It may have been the heat from the fireplace or the warmth of excitement, but I started to feel flush as Jay, our videographer, moved his camera my way.
Let’s be honest, I don’t do well in front of the camera and I certainly do NOT enjoy being in the spotlight. Unfortunately, a bit of attention is inevitable when you’re the bride. Jay asked a simple question as he focused his camera, “So Natalie, you mentioned that you and Jimmy like adventure… tell me about an adventure you had together.” I flickered a nervous smile directly into the camera lense as I racked my brain for an immediate answer. I thought to myself:
One time I went skydiving… but that was just me.
Oh, this one time I traveled to Palau on a whim… but that was before I met Jimmy.
Hmmmm, a couple months ago Jimmy and his buddy took shots of tequila then went on a jungle trek in Grenada… but I wasn’t on that trip.
I was verbally stalling as I tried to think of an amazing story to share about the two of us. “Ummmm, (nervous laugh) I dunno. I have to think about it.” Awkward silence. “We like to travel. Last year we traveled to Europe over Christmas and New Years, it was really cool.” Wow, good story Nat, you really captured the essence of your adventurous relationship with that comment. Did I mention I get nervous around cameras? Thankfully Jay moved into the other room to video inanimate objects that were more interesting, like my dress.
Why did I struggle with answering such a simple question? I do believe Jimmy and I live our lives with a touch of adventure, we enjoy being active and exploring new places. We love to walk in unfamiliar cities or on trails populated by cacti and the occasional lizard. We like to try things that are new and challenging (like uh, blogging). I came to the realization that I was hung up on the word “adventure” and how others define it. When you hear the word adventure, what comes to mind?
Climbing the side of a mountain? Launching yourself from a cliff into clear waters below? Perhaps riding a camel through the desert?
I was trying so hard to share a story that others would define as adventurous, that I lost the sense of the word myself. Adventure is defined simply by Merriam-Webster as, “An exciting or dangerous experience.” I was stuck because we don’t tend to undertake dangerous expeditions. However, we do plenty of things that we find exciting. Another definition of adventure is, “an exciting or remarkable experience.”
And there it is. Our definition of adventure aligns more with exciting or remarkable experiences, rather than danger or risk. And that’s okay, because everyone has their own personal meaning of adventure.
So what did my response about our “adventurous” trip to Europe over the holidays really mean? It meant walking through the cool drizzling rain, sipping mulled wine and smelling the swirling scents of toasted almonds and bratwursts throughout the Hamburg Christmas markets was exciting and joyful.
It meant strolling along the sparkling Christmas lights lining the Champs-Elysées on our way to the Christmas Eve mass at Notre Dame Cathedral was remarkable.
It meant running through fields of soaking wet heather in Scotland with my (now) husband as sheep frolicked along the seaside cliffs was thrilling.
Our trip was exciting. Our trip was remarkable. Our trip was an adventure.
My husband and I, we are adventurous. Our life together is an adventure. We take pleasure in all things that are exciting, remarkable, and thrilling to us. Learn a lesson from me and don’t get hung up on trying to define your life of adventure in a way that meets others expectations. Want to live a life of adventure? Just do what is exciting to you (with a little element of danger if you want). Like Peter Pan said, “To live will be an awfully big adventure.”