There’s a idea in our culture that spontaneity and adventure are linked:
Some friend shows up to our house at 5 AM and invites us on a trip to the mountains. We say yes. The mountains are beautiful under the rising sun. The memories last forever.
This is by no means a bad thing. And it does occasionally happen.
But it’s not clear to me that waiting on such moments is bound to make your life adventurous. Most people say they like hiking, yet even I can’t claim to have gone on more than 10 real hikes in the past 2 years. Want to know why?
About half of the time, the hikes (or at least the urges to plan a hike) are fairly spontaneous. I wait on someone to suggest a hike, or invite me on one.
Most people take an even less structured approach to seeking out adventure. They might say “yes” when it comes along, but if they were really honest, they might notice that those spontaneous adventures were few and far between.
Without intention, without planning, “spontaneity” is pretty powerless to create an adventurous life. The word has the sparkle of adventure, for sure (we tend to think highly of “spontaneous” people), but the reality is less impressive.
The people who really love adventure are like the people in the Atlanta hiking meetup I’m subscribed to. Just about every single spring weekend someone in this group is organizing a backpacking trip in the north Georgia mountain trails. There is professionalism, intention, planning, and deliberate commitment to show up and get boots on the trail.
These people may not be very “spontaneous”* in how they go about hiking, but they sure are living more adventurously. Like them, we shouldn’t wait on spontaneity but plan for adventure.
*Though disciplined exposure to adventure is probably a better trainer for true spontaneity than anything.