16 February 2012

On Being Indiana Jones or Backyard Adventuring

Greetings explorers! What follows is a post that ended up being much longer than expected but I hope you'll enjoy!

While I am incredibly grateful for the education I'm getting and the opportunities I have ahead of me, lately I've been feeling quite claustrophobic with life in college. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that they need an adventure sometimes: it's the reason why we watch thrillers and action movies (although no one wants their teenage daughter to get taken into prostitution, we all secretly want some reason to go on a killing rampage through Paris), or read books like The Hunger Games (yes, it's the reading level of a 2nd grader but it sure is a page-turner and Katniss is hot).

But our lives don't have to be mundane, and we don't have to live in constant envy of Legolas and the infant from Baby's Day Out. I present to you Eddie's Guide to Adventuring in The Modern World:

Try New Foods: Food is so great, guys. Unless you have an allergy or are Richard Pulaski, you need to try (at least once) every type of food that is put in front of you. Some of my best dining experiences have been in foreign countries or at ethnic restaurants here in the US. Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, Argentinian, Cuban, I could go on and on listing the types of cuisines I've tried and loved (Fun fact: I actually can name all 196 countries in the world on Sporcle but I won't pretend to have eaten food from all of them). If you're usually boring with food, just try something spicy to start. If you're an expert, move on to deep-fried tarantulas or something. Trying new food is always an adventure and it is so easy to do (unless you're a hunter-gatherer or live in rural Pennsylvania). If you want to up the ante, try fugu: the Japanese-prepared pufferfish that can kill you if not cooked correctly. And also remember, new food doesn't have to be ethnic. One of my most cathartic dining experiences was my first In n' Out Burger (Animal Style, of course).

Go Somewhere Without a Purpose: Ally Hughes and I used to pick random days to go into Boston and explore neighborhoods we had never been to. These mini-adventures were some of the most fun I've ever had, and this was because we ended up doing things spontaneously. A previous post already mentioned the time we ran through sleeting rain to buy our decorative bowls from Crate and Barrel (yes, that happened). We also went into fancy hotels to steal some delicious apples. Aimlessly exploring is an easy thing for people to do in a city they live in, because they've usually been to all the major tourist attractions. When visiting a city for the first time, however, it's hard to go without an itinerary. But don't be afraid to stray from that itinerary! You might just end up driving a quadcycle through Chicago while singing "Bed Intruder" at the top of your lungs (also happened).

Do Peyote: You'll see.

Take Up a New Hobby (or 3): Sarah O'Neal recently took up knitting. And while I find that sufficiently gagworthy, it's an adventure for her! It is not hobbies themselves that are the adventure, but the process of trying out new things and developing skills you've never worked on before. Both starting and restarting the Ed-Word have been adventures for me because I don't usually take time away from my day to gather my thoughts and write things down. And it's important to keep picking up new hobbies as old ones become part of your daily routine. My first day at Bikram Yoga was definitely an adventure, but now my Standing Bow pose is sexy and I only feel like I'm going to die about half the time, so it's time to add a new activity to my life. I plan on going to a shooting range in the near future, and this will certainly be an adventure (even if Laura Dakota doesn't accidentally shoot someone in the leg). Maybe I'll try out squash. Regardless of what it is, the purl-stitch or the salsa, try something new!

Interact with Strangers: Meeting new people is always great but something that is especially adventurous is connecting on an intimate level with strangers that you'll probably never see again (yes, "one night stands" fall under this category, but let's focus on adventures that don't include herpes). The potential for fun is amazing when all the social obligations of acquaintances are taken away. There was the time, for example, that I bought a drink for a 35-year-old woman named Megan and had one of the best conversations of my life. Or the time that Dale Alvarez and I wandered around an unnamed college campus with a group of girls, dressed as a Playboy bunny and Oompa Loompa respectively. When visiting foreign countries, meeting strangers is especially doable. But Amelia Harper, Karen Fontaine and I make plenty of these "30-second friends" on our annual road trip in the US. You don't have to travel far to be surrounded by people you don't know. Put yourself out there! You may make lifelong friends (I have a pending dinner of jager and popcorn with someone I met in Singapore) or you may end up in a verbal altercation with a rude Indian man that you never want to see again. The possibilities are endless!

Do Something Mildly Illegal: The other night, a team of misfits (headed, I believe, by Gabrielle Carter) banded together to steal a street sign which is now in their possession. I'm so angry I wasn't there (Long Island Iced Teas will do that to a man) but I think they'd all agree that it certainly counts as an adventure. Now, I believe stealing street signs is actually very illegal, and I don't recommend it. But they made a judgment call here and it worked out. Things are always more exciting when there's the possibility of getting caught. That's why Manhunt was so fun when I was a kid, because we'd sneak through our neighbors' yards in packs (I would actually be terrified if I saw a pack of children in my yard at night, but that's besides the point). My favorite form of illegal adventure is ghost hunting. My friend Dan Peterson and I organized a crew to do it a few times this summer. You don't have to believe in ghosts to have fun running around a graveyard at night, scaring yourself and your friends, and hiding from the police and DEMONS. It's like an interactive scary movie! Exercise good judgment on this last point: I will not be held liable (or post your bail) if you end up in jail for trespassing. Nor will I save you if a witch coven takes you for human sacrifice.

So there you have it. Some tips for how to live an adventurous and fulfilling life without aliens or magic rings or Nazis or dragons or cowboys or treasure. Well, maybe a little bit of treasure (I'm still holding out).

Peace in the Middle East,


1 comment:

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