A Letter from the Editor
I’m writing this from 30,000 feet — somewhere between SFO and SEATAC — returning home from an adventure.
Ok, to be honest, “adventure” isn’t the word most would use to describe a 22-hour stint in the bay, but I’m going with it. And here’s why. I’ve frequented San Francisco a number of times, but in the span of the last 22 hours, I had three unique experiences that each struck a similar chord. I sauntered down Mission street at sunset with great friends. I shared a 6-course dinner at The Progress in Fillmore with sommelier and author Rajat Parr. And I finished the trip at Grace Cathedral in Nob Hill, bathed in the glow of stained glass and choral reverie.
(Side note: the latter two experiences involved wine. And both also emboldened me with a deeper sense of spirituality. Wine and spirituality, it seems, often to go hand in hand).
But I digress. I mention this trip, not because I’m fond of mixing liquor and prayer (though it’s a suitable combination, I think), but because it was ripe with new and beautiful and full experiences. Returning to life “as usual” tomorrow, I do wonder what makes such a trip feel like an adventure. It’s one of those words that largely escapes definition, but we definitely know it when we feel it. Is adventure achieved simply by experiencing novelty? A new setting? New people? The dictionary defines adventure as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity”. I don’t think Episcopalians are particularly hazardous. And Mr. Parr was a really nice guy.
So when we came around to interview Mr. Lou Joseph, founder of Alps & Meters (and our cover story this month), I asked him — a man of world travel and alpine sport — to define adventure. And his answer was one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. Instead of defining adventure as a noun or verb, he rather described the individual that is adventurous: “Adventurers believe in possibilities. True adventurers are willing to make investments so that life is full of new stories and new experiences. And then they live into them.”
And I think that’s it. Adventure is much less about what is being done. It’s about the who and their ability to be present to the events in their life, big or small. To live a life of adventure, then, is not simply to experience new things, but to assert one’s senses upon them. To experience them with anticipation and wonderment.
But before I could move on to his trips climbing in Austria or skiing in Chamonix, Mr. Joseph continued: “And when I think about adventure, while I do think of mountains and travel, I also think about how I met my wife. It was literally down in Beacon Hill a few blocks from where I was living at the time. I wasn’t necessarily going to attend that party, but I did. And now we’re on the greatest adventure of our lives: we’re going to have a baby in February.”
Adventure truly comes in all shapes and sizes.
Ian Deming, Editor-in-Chief