The Drug of Adventure

I lay half asleep in my bed lulled away by the sound of morning traffic and birds chirping their waking songs on the ledge of my window sill.  The light beings to peak through my blinds piercing the sheets beside me with its warmth.  As the room that I’ve called my home for the past two months appears through my morning eyes I can’t help but feel imprisoned.  Not so much by the room, the house, the city, or the country, but by the comfort it all provides.  Have I grown so accustomed to adventure that I can no longer feel comfortable in a world where I don’t need to always be on my guard?  Have I become an addict to adventure, mis-adventure and everything in between?

I walk out of my house wearing a t-shirt that says “Kidnap me please! I’m running out of material” and head down to the local zoo to ease my sense of boredom.  As I look into the cages that hold the monkeys I feel their pain.  They should be swinging from trees, searching for food, and avoiding their enemies in the wild.  Like the monkeys I am starting to believe that I’m not meant to be kept somewhere safe and caged.  I am meant to be packing a lifetime’s worth of low cost travel insurance, a sense of adventure and a willingness to never say no to an experience.

Caged Monkey

Caged Monkey

In the end though, I realize that I am not like the monkeys, I have a choice.  I have caged myself for a reason.  I wanted to remember what it felt like to have a home for awhile, and I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t enjoyed it.  I’ve met great friends, I’ve actually enjoyed a bit of routine, and it has been nice waking up in the morning and not laying confused for a moment’s time trying to remember where I am.  However, I miss the rush.  I miss the nerves of being late for a bus, I miss the thrill of knowing I’m somewhere I probably shouldn’t be, and I miss seeing things that I have never seen before. 

I wonder to myself as I type the words that you are now reading if the drug of adventure is something that can be shaken.  I wonder if this happen to everyone that lives a part of their life in this way.  Will there ever be a point in my life where I wake up to the feel of warm sun rays on my cheek and smile in content. The drug of adventure has taken such a hold on me that I can’t go a month without the rushing desire to jump of a bridge with an elastic band strapped to my feet, or rush down a river on a raft, or even do something so simple as purposefully getting lost in a strange city.

They say that the only real way to get yourself off of a drug is by cutting yourself off cold turkey, but what if I don’t want to come down off of the drug of adventure?  I have told myself time and time again that our world is a jungle gym waiting for us to play in.  However a jungle gym is what you make of it.  One can sit on the swing set without swinging, or one swing away trying to see if they can wrap around the top in a full loop.  What I’ve learned during my brief captivity from adventure is that we don’t need to be travelling to have our adventures, because each destination, even if it is a place called home, is essentially a swing set.  Sure being in a new destination makes it easier for us to push free from our comfort zones, but the bars of our zoo are constructed by our own empathy.


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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15 Comments

  1. When I’m grounded or based in one particular area too long I feel as though I’ve become comfortably complacent. I understand the need for adventure and the thrill of adrenaline running through your veins.

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  2. I never shy from being controversial or honest so I will share my opinion here. I think the need to always be on an adventure can be sort of a drug. And without that stimulation, some people feel like they don’t have a purpose or direction.

    Honestly, there are times we need to sit still and do nothing. We don’t always find out who we are in the chaos but also in the silence. Being grounded isn’t a status but an understanding who who we are. For me, I have cut back on the adventure yet I’ve been able to find simpler pleasures I missed out on or passed over before.

    I think being grounded and not having the drug of adventure just teaches us different things about who we are that we couldn’t see otherwise. Embrace and enjoy – there is something to be learned in being still. Even if it’s only temporary.

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    • @Jeremy… this is a great line “We don’t always find out who we are in the chaos but also in the silence.” Well said

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  3. you’re telling me. i feel like i’m in a cage within a cage. and you’re right, i have made the cage around me with my actions and lack thereof. it’s a very sad idea, being enslaved by your own life. thinking about this makes me uneasy, because i (no one, probably) wants to feel like the crappyness of their life is their own fault. i’d like to say i’m going to do something about it, but the reality is i can’t right now.

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  4. Hey Brendan,

    LOVE the t-shirt!
    There are those who seek adventure like a drug, and there are those who simply live it. If you’re living it, all the rehab in the world can’t change it. So LIVE IT and love it!!

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  5. Great post Brendan, apart from shorter trips I’ve been still for 2 years now and the feet keep getting itchier. Off again soon! 🙂

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  6. I have had some conflicting emotions about settling in Buenos Aires so long. I’m getting used to things and making friends and enjoying it. But I know I need to get back to the adventure of discovering new places and new people and new activities soon.

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  7. I hear you. It’s no longer a travel bug but a travel drug. When I travel, I experience the same kind of addiction. But for me, I am constantly looking for a kind of happiness. With each new country I enter, I get a quick fix but it slowly fades and then it’s on to the next. And like an addict I am always in denial. I need to find that enlightenment the Buddha talks about.

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  8. Kudos to Leif for retweeting this cause I would have never found it otherwise. 🙂 Me and my husband were just talking about an hour ago! We started our travels in 2009 and had to come back and reestablish (bleh) the home base after running out of money. Ever since then we’ve been on edge – we can’t wait to get out there and start traveling again – nothing else compares to exploring new places! 🙂

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    • Well here’s to getting back to the open road 😀

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  9. i sometimes wonder if all my running will run me into the ground….i really loved this article

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    • @Swoosh – I used to think I was running, and running away. Now I’ve realized that I’m not running away, I’m just a person who can’t help but always try to learn and see new things. There’s nothing wrong with running as long as it’s done with a purpose.

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  10. Sounds like you are addicted to the euphoria of new experiences, the excitement of not knowing what’s coming next, and the adrenaline of it all. Nothing wrong with that at all.

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