Life is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing

Cormorant Fishing in China

Cormorant Fishing in China

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.”

These profound words by American author Helen Keller, articulate precisely why it is essential to live a fulfilling life, expand comfort zones and take some measured risks. We don’t know the amount of time that we have and, as Miss Keller points out, in the long run, we are all dead anyway.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing,” is one of the most inspirational quotes that I have come across during my retirement travel adventures. It neatly summarizes what happens when we give in to our fears and let our desire for security and comfort waste what is ultimately the most precious of all our resources; our time. We each only get a certain amount of time and allowing our fears to limit us, or force us into an ordinary life, doesn’t change that fact.

As we get older, it is important to focus on the things that matter most. How many times can we say, “maybe next year,” before it becomes apparent that our dreams are slipping away? How far does spending on safe, but only momentarily exciting new baubles, delay having that life-changing experience? Life begins at the edge of our comfort zones, why not make the leap and begin living life as an adventure? Escape the routine and make life bigger by having some new experiences.

No, it is not necessary, or even desirable, to engage a life full of dangerous behaviors. But, we need to accurately measure risk, face our fears and dare to have the adventures we have dreamed of. Prioritizing security over our experiences is “no safer in the long run than exposure.” Ultimately, everyone – those who prioritize comfort or those who prioritize experiences – the rich or the poor – those who seek security or those who are “devil may care” – end up at the same place. Time stops for no one, what matters is how we use the time we have. 

To quote another great American philosopher, Hunter S. Thompson – “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!”



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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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  1. Hi Jonathan,

    I completely agree. That quote from Helen Keller is my all time favorite. In fact, I just returned from a road trip down the Baja coast of Mexico and wrote my own blog post about the “adventure.” While I don’t normally leave links to my posts on other people’s blogs, I think this one fits perfectly with your own. Thanks for your ongoing encouragement to travel and seek adventure! ~Kathy

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  2. Totally in tune with your philosophy/mantra Jonathan, it’s exactly how we love to live or should that be live to love, either or, you’re spot on ! Ha ha not too sure our bodies will be too pretty or well-preserved either when the chequered flag comes out, but that’s okay too !!

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    • Hey Ben! I don’t want to get too beat up, but there is such a thing as being too cautious. I remember when I got my new camera and was going away to India. People told me that they wouldn’t take their’s because it was too dangerous. Laughable on so many counts, but what is a camera for?

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