It seems we all want adventure of some kind – whether it be the joy of a new romance, the glee of some extreme sport, or simply the internal energy of reading a great mystery or thriller. Something of humanity seems to crave action beyond the mundane.

Yet, so much, I see people living the same day in and out as if they are almost automatic creatures with routines that they don’t want disrupted or experiences that should not be disturbed. I wonder if that pattern comes out of a larger societal focus on efficiency and “work ethic” or if it comes from ourselves and our fear. I’m not really sure, but it sure does seem to be sucking the life out of us fairly quickly. My idea of a living hell would be doing the same thing every day. Even if I loved everything I was doing, the routine would torture me to death slowly, one patterned day at a time.

Instead, I crave adventure – not necessarily huge adventure but something – a trip to a new place, a great book with lots of change and growth and development for the characters, movies with heroes and heroines (I’m watching First Knight with Sean Connery and a brown-haired Richard Gere), or new relationships, new experiences, new journeys for myself.

I’ve been thinking about the kind of adventures I’d like to have, especially in terms of that almost trite but still powerful idea of “things I must do before I die.” I’ve been asking people what they want to do, and I’ve been trying to come up with my own list, as I borrow liberally from there’s. So here is my list of “adventures” to complete before my body leaves this world.

1. See the Northern Lights.
2. Swim with dolphins.
3. Set foot on all seven continents (three down with four to go).
4. See a glacier up close.
5. Visit South Africa.
6. Hang glide.
7. Sky dive.
8. Write and publish a book.
9. See a snow leopard in the wild.
10. Put my foot (or my whole body) in all of the Earth’s major bodies of water.

And if I sat long enough, I could come up with more and more. I try to keep my list limited to things I can actually achieve on my own without being dependent on someone else. (For example, I would like to marry and have children, but I’m not the only one who would have to make that happen. Or I would like to take my parents on a great Scottish getaway, but again, they have to be on board for that one.)

Even just writing the list quickens my blood a little, gives me something to look forward to when live becomes a little too routine and predictable. I think this search for adventure is part of what we were made for – that and to love deeply.

What adventures would you like to undertake before you die? What’s on your list?

And what books do you read that get your enthusiasm for adventure peaked? Right now, I just picked up the new Elizabeth Peters mystery – all about Egypt – yea!

Cape Town, South AfricaCape Town, South Africa – from Erica’s Choice