Thursday, December 09, 2004

Adventure nearby

Strip away the exotic locales and adventure is just days and days in the same underwear. You can do that at home!

In one apartment, my room mate and I decided we weren't going to knuckle under to the suits who run the electric company, so we refused to run the electric baseboards that were the only source of heat. It would have been cheaper just to burn the money itself. That was adventure. In the middle of winter, the soap froze to the soapdish in the shower. A glass of water on the windowsill developed a skin of ice by morning. We slept in our winter mountaineering sleeping bags.

I guess it wasn't really adventure, because we both had jobs and therefore changed our underwear daily. And hot water was included in the rent, so we could at least get clean.

That was in Maryland's more southerly climate. My adventures in New Hampshire's winters have run closer to the edge.

Adventure also usually involves the risk of death. That, too, is often conveniently available. Can't get to real cliffs? Climb buildings. Some are built of such rough stone that they even offer a variety of holds, not just repetitive motion over a uniform structure.

Annapolis offered a wide variety of water adventures. Risk of death on any popular waters is provided not just by the objective hazards of wave and wind but by the fleets of powerboats. In my borrowed kayak I kept a 360-degree watch, like an old open-cockpit aviator flying into enemy territory. Only the enemy has jets.

Looking for outdoor recreation locally gives you a keener appreciation of what's being done to your local environment. Go stick your face in the water if you dare. Play in the shrinking tracts of woods. Or maybe you're lucky enough to live where the water's still somewhat clean and the tracts of undeveloped land aren't shrinking quite so rapidly. Don't be lulled. Pay attention now, not when the problem becomes obvious.

By adventuring nearby you not only get a close look at how your habitat is being treated, you also save lots of money and keep your adventuring skills ready in case you do get a chance to go someplace more exotic.

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