Adventure Porn and the Will to Venture Out

Once upon a time, to see Everest, you had to climb it.

Now you can easily save a picture of Mt. Everest onto your computer desktop, decorate your house with pictures and maps of Everest, or watch a Go-Pro video of someone scaling it.

Beyond Everest, you can easily find pictures and videos of every far-off place you might wish to see. There is no part of the earth which you can’t soak in from the comfort of your chair via the magic of your computer.

For those of us who put a high value on adventure, this might seem like a great thing. Adventure is closer than ever, right?

On one level, yes: perhaps more people consider taking on the adventures of the world because of this access. But how much has this “adventure porn” stopped people at the consideration phase?

The easy access to images and ambience of adventure can (like access to images of sex) excite desire, yes, but they can also satiate it. And with all the great beauty of the world so close at hand and so easy to view, you might come to feel it is commonplace. I know I have.

I can look day by day at new scenes of nature – from the canyons of the American Southwest to the blue Lake Louise in Banff, Canada – and I can fail to notice them.* Or I can think “Oh, it’s already been done.” And I move on with my day without drawing any closer to going on an adventure of my own.

This adventure porn (like porn in general) is a lie.

Seeing a place is not the same as going there. There was no picture of Mt. Vesuvius that to me could have been more awe-inspiring than being (for a brief moment) alone near the top of that volcano outside of Naples, Italy.

That’s because it was more than just a place. It was ME in that place, with all of the things which getting there and being there meant for my experience of life.

All of the lands of the world may have been visited and categorized and even colonized by this point (the oceans and planets await!), and there may be plenty that you can see on YouTube. Others have been the first to get there, the first to see things, etc.

But what does that matter? Don’t settle for the shadow of someone else’s experience. You only get to experience the things *you* choose to experience. If it has not been done by YOU, you might as well treat it as not having been done.

And so for you the clock gets to rewind.

If you haven’t left home yet, the world is still an unexplored and unsettled place. All land is new land, all animals and plants await naming, and all peoples are new cultures to learn from.

Go to those places in the photographs. You won’t have need of adventure porn when you’ve had the real thing.

Photo by Danka & Peter on Unsplash

Intellectual Credit: Reading Wishcraft (Barbara Sher/Anne Gottlieb) today got me thinking about the angle of unique personal experience. I’m also recalling the excellent film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in notes about going to those places in the photographs. 

* I use a Chrome app called Momentum for my home screen, where I see what should be awe-inspiring images daily.

 

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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