Adventure: Path to happiness?

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
– Hunter S. Thompson in The Proud Highway

Life indeed must be an adventurous ride. When spoken to my friends regarding what they had to say, one replied, “Every time I come out alive, I become a new person.”; “It reminds me of who I really am.” exclaimed the other – both of them, who often go white water kayaking and scuba diving.

Scuba Diving
Image Credit: LB1860 – Flickr

If you closely analyse the above three sayings, you can see one thing in common – Experiences. Memories of experiences leave back vivid prints in your head that can never be faded or erased. And recent studies done by psychologists backs this hypothesis by confirming that memories that are derived from experiences last longer than things and give us more happiness than material possessions.

Dr. Gilovich-psychology professor at Cornell, who has been studying the relation between money and happiness since last two decades, says –

We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.1

Image credit: Derek Adkins – Flickr

Even though Material goods are longer lasting, they remain separate from you as you eventually adapt to them and take them for granted. Memories, on the other hand, will gradually be embedded with your self and become part of your identity.

Strong memories are made when you do something daring, something you would never have thought you would do or when you have shared experiences that connect you with other people. For me personally, the best memories I have were all mostly experiences that involved some adrenaline.

Adrenaline is the hormone that kicks in one’s body at a fight-or-flight situation. It speeds up your heart beat, increases your oxygen intake and gives you more energy. A true adventurer is the one who picks fight over flight.

The first best part about adrenaline is that, it gives you a high, and since it is produced within the body, and you need not go looking for it. The second, is the moment when it subsides. That is the moment which reminds you, you are a conqueror. A conqueror of your own fears and dislikes. You are the king of your life.

Image credit: Mint Candies – Flickr

There are a lot of adventure sports under the sun that kicks in some adrenaline even if you are watching a video of it on YouTube. And if you are experiencing it, well, that’s a different story! Add in the shared aspects that connect you with fellow adventurers and you have an experience you will cherish for a long time to come.

The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.” – Christopher McCandless.

I might as well agree, that some adventure sports may be expensive. But you have the answer with you. Instead of investing your money in the next cool smartphone or designer clothes, you can opt for experiential purchases that can leave you with lasting memories and happiness.

Trekking - SarPass, Kasol
Image Credit: Chandramohan B V – Flickr

So go ahead, travel, learn a new skill, go on an adventure, and make memories that you can cherish throughout your life. After all, what is life but a sum total of our memories!


Featured Image credit: Thomas Shahan – Flickr

1 : Gilovich, T., et al., A wonderful life: experiential consumption and the pursuit of happiness, Journal of Consumer Psychology (2014) –

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