Adventure is………

'I believe any trip in search of wildlife can be coupled with physical activity and elements of cultural diversity to form a thrilling opportunity '
John H.Eickert

When it comes to adventure, often it means thinking big. To go boldly or travel widely, maybe even placing oneself into a desperate situation, which creates a heart-pounding event. Or it is that ‘once in a lifetime opportunity.’ Some consider adventure a venue for physical test and suffering. These are three examples and I am certain each of you can think of more or maybe have your own definition. I thinkadventure is what happens when you take a chance and go in an unexpected direction, a kind of cognitive stepping out of the norm just for the sake of stepping out of the norm. So, using my definition, adventure can be big or small.

The last time I was in Darjeeling, I had just come down from a trek in the mountains near Kangchendzonga. Odd, but I was the sole traveler staying at a guesthouse named the Pagoda. Though it was not yet monsoon season, it rained. Not that kind and gentle pitter-patter of drops from the sky, but a hard pounding, sting your naked skin downpour. I sat in the lobby of the guesthouse and wondered what to do. I had planned to hang around Darjeeling, trek up Tiger Hill, and then maybe out into the tea plantations. Plans change with the weather.

The lady at the front desk came around and over to me. She offered a suggestion. “Take a taxi to the Everest Museum,” she said. Everest Museum, in Darjeeling? I knew that Tenzing and Sir Edmund had begun their first ascent of that mountain with a trek in from Darjeeling, but a museum. This I had to see. The lady chased a young boy out into the downpour to fetch me a taxi. I stood at the front door feeling sorrow for the boy and hoping he could swim. In time, a taxi pulled round and the boy jumped out. I jumped in. The taxi dropped me at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Everest Museum. I just had to walk through the zoo to get to the entrance.

The late Tenzing Norgay had headed the museum and he had donated some of the interesting items. There is even a display recounting Everest attempts going back as far as 1857. I did not know there were attempts so long ago. There is mountaineering gear from many generations and attempts. One of the more surprising curiosities is an old powerful telescope given as a gift by none other than Adolf Hitler. I spent much of the day considering all the displays and their meaning. When I went out to go back to my guesthouse, the rain had stopped.

Everything smelled fresh and the path appeared just washed. I walked all the way back to the guesthouse and thanked the lady there for her suggestion. It had been quite an adventure. I went somewhere I hadn’t planned to go, inspiring me to think and see in new ways. Life is an adventure, if nothing at all. Cheers.

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