Skip to main content

Omaha Magazine

Otis Twelve: The Adventure of Adventuring

Jun 25, 2021 04:37PM ● By Otis Twelve
Otis Twelve column photo

I’ve heard it a lot lately.  “Make every day an adventure!” Or, “Life should be an adventure!” Or, “Arkansas is an adventure!” Or, “Let’s go on an underwater cave adventure!” Or, “My adventures in life insurance underwriting.” Or—my favorite—“Join the adventure of model railroading.”

This is one of the curses of our current culture; words are losing their meaning.  Concepts are being devalued, distorted, and/or simply mangled. Dogs become “support animals.” Parents become “helicopters.” And riots become “patriotic parades.”  

Adventure, after all has a precise meaning. It is defined as an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. (It’s that “hazardous” bit that I no longer have a taste for.) Now, I know there are a lot of adventurous people around these days, though probably fewer than there were back when going from the cave to the campfire involved dodging not-quite-domesticated wolves. It’s simply true that there are fewer real adventures available to us modern, developed-world, Netflixed humanoids. That’s especially true if we are the kind of biped that gets a lot of mail from AARP.

Nowadays we have to seek out an adventure, check that it fits into our budgets, does not interfere with our scheduled nap, preferably does not involve passing through a security checkpoint, consider dietary restrictions, requires a sunscreen value less than SPF 50, avoids any sudden and extreme gains or loss of altitude or elevation, matches our available footwear, and make sure that it conforms to any medical advice we might have been given—even if that advice came from an in-law.

Simply deciding which adventures are out there is more of a challenge than ever. In the olden days you could just point the bow of your little sailing ship one way or the other and you’d be guaranteed to find yourself somewhere unknown where “there be dragons,” or various indigenous people, who justifiably resent your claim of “discovering” them. As a bonus, this kind of adventure included scurvy and bad biscuits.

So, how can we find our adventures in this modern civilized era? It’s obvious. We only need to ask Google. As in “Google, what’s my best adventure?” The answer? Here’s what the omnipotent, all-knowing search engine told me…

1. Hike the Incan trail to Machu Picchu. (No—this involves “Altitude” and “Footwear” objections.)

2. Go on safari in Kruger Park. (No—there are multiple security checkpoints on the way there.)

3. Take a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. (No—I don’t like eggplant.  That’s a dietary restriction.)

4. Scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef. (No—This also involves dietary restrictions, as in: I don’t want to be part of a Great White shark’s diet.)

5. Rave at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. (No—Raving interferes with my nap time.)

6. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. (No—I’ll stick to Hemmingway.  Also see No. 1.) 

7. Walk along China’s Great Wall. (No—I got this advice from an in-law.)

8. Helicopter over the Grand Canyon. (No—My dad was a pilot and he warned me about helicopters. “They don’t glide.”)

In conclusion…Get lost, Google. Who needs a new adventure? I have an old house, a dog that is not housebroken, an alarm clock that goes off at 4 a.m. every morning, and several children. In other words, keep your Machu Picchu, I’ve got adventure up to here. Thank you very much. 

Otis Twelve hosts the radio program Early Morning Classics with Otis Twelve on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 6-10 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.