Talking Point Why Adventure?

Why Do We Explore?

Kids exploring open space in Iceland
Written by Stuart Wickes

Why Do We Explore?

Stuart Profile Small Why do we explore? What would a man who had been to the moon say to us ‘ordinary folk’ about exploring? Is it for everyone or is true adventure the province of elite athletes, professional adventurers and high end adventure companies?  


What drives us to explore? Why do we do it?

Who has the desire to explore?

“People will always have a desire to explore what they haven’t seen” Buzz Aldrin

I believe adventure is personal; it’s for anyone and everyone. You can have one every day if you want. And you don’t need money, expensive gear or exotic locations to do that. You don’t even need a beard, rope or years of training. You just need a willingness to explore, the courage to step beyond routine and the motivation to go do something new for you.

Sometimes I think I hold this view because I’ve never been first, fastest or furthest at anything and can’t see that changing. So it’s reassuring to find a true adventure hero that holds a similar point of view. I was only 5 when I sat on the edge of the family sofa watching the first men step onto the moon. Beyond the black and white TV I looked up at the man in the moon and wondered what it must be like to explore like that. To really go where no-one had been before.

Boats emerge within Krzna Jama Cave

The opportunities for personal exploration are endless.

Why do we explore?

“All you have to do is look at a new born child and watch their eyes move around” Buzz Aldrin

Age five I had no limits. I was an explorer. I was born that way. We all are. It’s how we learn, discover, survive and grow. It’s our primary developmental strategy. Just watch a baby or toddler play and you’ll see that innate spirit at work. As a child everything is an adventure. Anything is possible. Why not the moon?

But that spirit is vulnerable. As we grow up, siblings, parents, friends, responsibilities and commitments can either encourage or chip away at our adventure seeking core. And so the spirit either gets stronger and stronger until we reach for our personal moon, or is squeezed, challenged and worn down until we forget the desire to explore exists at all.

Looking out across Montenegro from Savin Kuk

But should we keep our feet on the ground or jump off and reach higher?

We need to explore

“We want to see, to explore. We, as human beings, we need that” Buzz Aldrin

But whether we end up on the moon or working in a dead end job, that spirit is still there, somewhere. It’s a part of us, a necessary part, a part that helps us navigate changes in circumstance, that helps us grow, learn and become more than we already are. If we can just find it, touch it, trust it, give it rein.

“I wasn’t one of those absolute naturals” Buzz Aldrin

When I watched Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon, he looked like an absolute natural. He was and still is a superhero for me. And he knows a thing or two about exploring. So it’s interesting to hear what he has to say about exploring. He may be a first and a furthest but he’s no adventure snob.

Reach for your personal moon

“Human beings are not apt to back away from something that is a challenge” Buzz Aldrin

I don’t have much time for elitist adventure nonsense. It’s snobbery to think adventure is all about being first, furthest or fastest. And wrong when adventure companies or professional adventurers appropriate, distort and commercialise adventure as an elitist pursuit. We are all born adventurers. Adventure is for everyone. We should never stop exploring. It’s time for us everyday folk to reclaim adventure for ourselves. It is our everyday right to explore and to reach for our personal moon.

Looking out over Cerdanya from Guils Fontanera

Life is a journey. We are all explorers in our own environments

Talking Point: Your Personal Moon

“We feel that this stands as a symbol of the insatiable curiousity of all mankind to explore the unknown” Buzz Aldrin

Are you in touch with your innate explorer? What’s your personal moon? And how do you plan to get there? Do share your thoughts in a comment below. #neverstopexploring

Catch the Sunrise in Dubai Desert

Is your explorer spirit alight?

About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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