Find Your Adventure

Posted By on Feb 9, 2014 | 12 comments

I was talking with a  friend of mine the other day. I call him the real-life most interesting man in the world. He’s been to countries all over the world, hung out with Buddhist monks, build homes in strange lands with Habitat for Humanity, and has had countless other experiences that make him deserving of that title.

During our conversation, he started talking about how I needed to have some adventure. I found his comment funny because I write books that are full of adventure. He explained that I needed to have some adventures of my own, real ones in places I’d never been before.

I was curious. I asked him what his definition of adventure was. His answer was simple yet beautiful.

He said that whenever you go somewhere new and experience new things, that can be an adventure. But he took it deeper than that. He went on to tell me about how the real adventure of traveling comes from getting imbedded with the local people.

I have to agree with this sentiment. My last major trip was ten years ago when I visited Germany. I was there for almost a month, living in a place where I didn’t speak the language, and was completely immersed in the culture of one small town. I got to know the citizens, met the mayor, learned about their local customs and festivals, and really became a part of the area, even if it was just for a little while.

I think that last part is what my friend is getting at when he talks about adventure.

He’s not talking about drama, like in my books where there are fights and shootouts, and where conflict drives the story forward.

He is talking about becoming a part of something bigger than yourself. To him, an adventure is sitting at a bar in a foreign country while having locally brewed beer with people he’s never met. It’s sipping tea with a Buddhist monk and laughing with him about jokes or stories. It is dancing with villagers in a celebration you don’t understand, to music you’ve never heard before. It’s trying food that you’ve never seen before. It is experiencing beauty you never knew existed.

We all have fears, and preconceived ideas about what could happen if we got out of our comfort zones. Some of us can’t sleep without a little floor fan going during the night. Others of us are terrified of heights (I know I am). Some people don’t want to be in a place where they don’t know the language. But consider the things you’re missing: the experience of traveling across an exotic land, majestic views from mountain tops that seem to overlook the entire world, and enriching moments with total strangers who have become so much more.

That last part is the biggest for me. And it is my definition of adventure: experiences that enrich your life.

One of my childhood friends has a saying that he got from his father. It is a phrase that has sent him to many countries all over the world, experiencing rare concerts, amazing food, and engaging with terrific people. He calls them “once in a lifetime opportunities.”

Because of that phrase, he has seen and done more than most people I know. He realizes that this life is short, and all we have at the end of it is the memories we made.

What memories will you make? What will your adventure be?

Talk to me…

I want to know what your adventure will be or what they have been so far. Post them in the comments. Many of us don’t have a lot of money to throw around on traveling to exotic places. You don’t have to. Driving an hour away from your home might put you in a place that will give you a new perspective on life. And if you’re looking to embark on an international adventure sometime soon, check out these links. They’re websites I’m currently using to plan my next adventure.

Intrepid Travel

Habitat for Humanity 





  1. Hey Ernest,
    It is so right about “once in a lifetime opportunities.” That is also what encourages me to leave home and find my advertures. I love to travel, and to meet people from all over the world. It is the best way for me to know different cultures, differnet conceptions, different ways of living as well as how do people from other cultures view “me” or “my country” . All these could be so interesting. Last year, I went to Russia to participate an international volunteer programme. I was so worried before departure. All the stereotypes about Russian people and other fears filled in my head. However, all these worries seemed unnecessory after I arrived in Russia. I love everything about Russia. It’s amicable people and beautiful views and food and everthing. I am so glad I went to Russia thought I can’t speak Russia at all. Sometimes, people just need to worry less and go out.

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    • Awesome comment, Wei. Thanks for sharing part of your adventure. You’re making me want to go to Russia now. 🙂

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      • Haha. I am glad to hear you wanna visit Russia. If you want to visit somewhere for travelling, China is also a wonderful place to do that for its splendid history and rich culture. I currently live in Hangzhou which is a really beautiful city and it is famous for its beautiful natural scenery. Welcome to China, and you will love it. 🙂

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  2. i love being a stranger in a strange town… i actively seek it out. i have been a restless soul and sometimes envy people who… have found their place in life.. their thing… or their passion…. but then i realise, thats not me!! i actually like being.. somewhat lost. i have moved to a new town and ” started again ” … and when you are out of your comfort zone … in a strange environment … you seem to connect with ” like minded ” people …. the synchronicities that happen… almost seem magical.
    My next adventure… i am off to Peru, to partake in some shamanic ceremonies … learn their accent ways and beliefs… re connect with nature ( mother earth ) for 6 weeks… i am imagining life to seem a little different when i return.

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  3. I enjoyed this. Especially the part about this life being short. I am someone that does not like change. I dread it. For me, adventures could be right here in the same town. Sometimes I get so comfortable in my routine that I forget there is a city of people with different cultures and stories to share. I admire that about you. You don’t miss the opportunities that surround you. no matter where you are.

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  4. Ernest,
    I just finished Chasing Comets and I was so moved by the story. I am 65 years old and I’m going to do everything in that book ,it makes such good sense. I will start doing something for someone else everyday an appreciate what blessings I have. Thank you so much for that story and may God Bless you to keep writing them.

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    • Thank you so much for that, Andy. I really appreciate it. 🙂

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  5. When I pass through nearby cities I have many memories of an adventurous Summer where I chose to just be free and have fun and meet some interesting people. What I found is that everyone has a story and that intrigues me. I think that is a big part of our mutual friends adventures. He finds out their story.

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  6. Hi Ernie,
    I am a fan from way back and a friend showed me your website. My kids have been obsessed with the idea of adventure lately: ‘choose your own adventure’ books, Goonie and Indiana Jones. So your topic is very current in my life 🙂 I actually wrote something last night after our most recent storm that I thought I would share with you if you don’t mind? It my perfect idea of adventure lately:
    That perfect moment
    The snow fell all night. Around 4am the power flickered, faultered, and finally failed. The house was only around 58 degrees when I finally untangled myself from the cocoon of blankets and warm children. Thankfully, there was one cup of coffee leftover from yesterday’s pot, so I emptied it into the tea kettle to warm it on the grill. It was then that I finally got a really good look at how much snow had fallen. I opened the back porch door to find my world transformed. Like Dorothy first opening the door to Oz, my familiar landscape was gone. Blanketed under a foot of snow, the smaller pines had bowed to this beautiful white power. The bare limbs of the deciduous trees were outlined and accentuated. Everything was brilliant and sparkling.
    I was going to have to shovel my way to the grill unfortunately. I trekked onto the basement to retrieve the snow shovel I never thought I would have to use in southern Tennessee.
    After cherishing my very small cup of coffee, I heated water for the rest of my guys for cocoa and instant coffee. I left the thermos on the stove to survey the front of the house.
    It was hard to even see Matthew’s white work vehicle in this crazy world of white against white. The snow had not accumulated much on the front porch and I was able to slide it clear with a few swipes of my boots.
    It was that dense, wet snow that is not slushy, but one good shovel takes effort to toss away and the more it packs, the more it sticks to your shovel. I had to employ an old broom to assist with the sidewalk clearing. It took more time then my raw patience could stand (especially on so little coffee!) so I had to get my phone and ear buds for musical assistance.
    After the sidewalk was done, I skirted across the top of the driveway carefully staying clear of the steep slope that would have surely found me on my butt sliding into the closed garage doors.
    Somehow it brought me so much pleasure to be the first to break into the freshly fallen blanket. Each step I took seemed more and more fun. I looked back at my snaking footsteps and smiled. I felt childishly giddy. I did not resist the urge to fall and immediately make a snow angel. After carefully extracting myself from my angel…careful not to mar her wings or dress with boot marks or hand prints, I headed to the side of the house and brushed off the air conditioning unit and the satellite dish.
    In the back yard, I saw just how heavy the snow really was when I saw all of the young pines laying down as if they just grew tired and decided to rest. I began shaking off the limbs and needles and slowly they rose. With each shake the flakes caught the sunshine. It looked as though i was shaking diamonds from the trees.
    As Matt Andersen crooned out his beautiful melody, I once again fell flat onto the ground for a new angel. The taller pines caught my gaze as I lay upside down on the steep hill.

    “Drift away from your worries. Drift away from all your cares. The storm is raging it will be over soon. Let it go and drift away.”

    The trees were snow laden. I tried to imagine how heavy all that snow must weigh. The trees didn’t seem burdened; they simply swayed to the gentle rhythm of the music.

    “Carry on through the hard times. Carry on through the strife. The darkness is fading, it’ll be morning soon. Let it go and carry on.”

    The dancing trees, the chill of the snow, the beauty of the day, the powerful voice in my ears, all of those sensory pleasures culminating into a perfect moment: a moment I never want to forget, a moment I hope I can recall when I am too old to get out and gather more joys, a moment to cherish when all I have left are memories.

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  7. Someone once told me that we all have adventure inside us. My life is going through major changes at the moment and I’m determined to be brave and chase down new adventures. Thanks for inspiring me to hold firm to my dreams.

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  8. Ernest,

    I just found your blog and this post was just what I needed to stay focused on why I do what I do. One of my “Once in a lifetime experiences” was Easter afternoon with a family of locals in the Abacos. Picnic of lobster and conch cooked over a fire of dried coconut shells. We caught the lobster and conch and ate them within an hour or two. Will never forget the feel on the sun setting on my slightly burned shoulder as we rode back to the settlement on their boat that evening. Still brings a smile to my face every time I think of that afternoon.

    I really need to seek out more of the opportunities to experience other cultures. Thanks again for this post.

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