An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome. Adventures may be activities with some potential for physical danger such as traveling, exploring, skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, river rafting or participating in extreme sports. The term also broadly refers to any enterprise that is potentially fraught with physical, financial or psychological risk, such as a business venture, or other major life undertakings.
Adventurous experiences create psychological arousal, which can be interpreted as negative (e.g. fear) or positive (e.g. flow), and which can be detrimental as stated by the Yerkes-Dodson law. For some people, adventure becomes a major pursuit in and of itself. According to adventurer André Malraux, in his La Condition Humaine (1933), "If a man is not ready to risk his life, where is his dignity?". Similarly, Helen Keller stated that "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
Outdoor adventurous activities are typically undertaken for the purposes of recreation or excitement: examples are adventure racing and adventure tourism. Adventurous activities can also lead to gains in knowledge, such as those undertaken by explorers and pioneers – the British adventurer Jason Lewis, for example, uses adventures to draw global sustainability lessons from living within finite environmental constraints on expeditions to share with schoolchildren. Adventure education intentionally uses challenging experiences for learning.
Adventure in mythology and fiction
Some of the oldest and most widespread stories in the world are stories of adventure such as Homer's The Odyssey. Mythologist Joseph Campbell discussed his notion of the monomyth in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Campbell proposed that the heroic mythological stories from culture to culture followed a similar underlying pattern, starting with the "call to adventure", followed by a hazardous journey, and eventual triumph.
The knight errant was the form the "adventure seeker" character took in the late Middle Ages.
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- "Adventure". dictionary.com. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- M Gomà-i-Freixanet (2004), "Sensation Seeking and Participation in Physical Risk Sports", On the psychobiology of personality, Elsevier, p. 187, ISBN 978-0-08-044209-9
- Keller, Helen (1957). The Open Door.
- Adam Mansbach (12 February 2010). "Odysseus Remixed". New York Times.
- Richard Jenkyns (1996-12-22). "Heroic Enterprise – (Book review: The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles)". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- Zweig, P. (1974). The adventurer: The fate of adventure in the Western world, New York: Basic Books.
- Vincent Canby (26 May 1977). "A Trip to a Far Galaxy That's Fun and Funny". New York Times.
- Vincent Canby (12 June 1981). "Movie Review: Raiders of the Lost Ark". New York Times.
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- What is an adventure? A definition of "adventure", "hero" and "epic" with an illustration of the hero's journey.