ADFR Manifesto

Adventure is the start. 

It's the exciting part of beginnings. 

Your first. 

It's getting married, having kids, starting businesses, pursing dreams, traveling to new places, having new experiences; anything that requires risk. 

Adventure is bold, exciting, risky, and unknown. 

When we are young, adventure is everywhere. Everything is waiting to be discovered. It's exciting and risk taking is easy. 

In childhood and adolescence, adventure is everywhere and regular. 

Adventure is expanding. 

It begins in the backyard, to the neighborhood, to the town, to the country, to the world, and if you dare, to spiritual realms.

But most of us stop taking risks somewhere around town and country.  It's about the time we hit our 30's and our focus shifts from adventure to comfort. 

In our 30's we are told to start planning for retirement. We need to earn more to save more so we can be safe and comfortable. So we stop doing the things that once made us feel alive. All that energy we had for new discoveries, risk taking and experiences, is refocused on getting a good job, climbing the ladder, make more money, buy things, newer things, bigger things.

A guy named Hank arrives at this new job, looking over a sea of cubicles, and notices an office with a door and a window. Hank tells himself, "one day I will be out of my cubicle and will have a door and window office. Then I will be happy."  Some years go by, and after showing up early and leaving late, doing all the things written and unwritten to get a promotion, Hank finally makes it. He’s left the cubical ocean and arrived to his blissful office with a door and window. Hank sits in his slightly more comfortable chair, looks arounds and asks, “Is this it? I still feel empty, and longing for something more.  I know, maybe the office across the hall with two windows on the corner will fix this longing.”  Hank logs another few years of hard work, scheming and striving, and makes it.  He gets the dual windows. But, the day soon comes when Hank finally asks, Why am I climbing this ladder, and is the ladder even leaning up against the right building?”

Hank sacrificed with hopes of gaining something, but his gains left him feeling void and full of questions. 

He worked hard, missed his kids bedtimes and baseball games all in hopes of something more. He gained financially, yet was left longing for something more, different.  

Are we still surprised that money doesn’t make us happy?

Adventure is a sacrifice. Adventure costs something.  Some have paid with their very lives in its pursuit. Others have paid a lot to REI. Either way, embarking into the unknown with inherent risk will cost us something. It can cost time away from family, work, comfort, ease, convenience, safety.  Many are too comfortable to consider Adventure. 

 If we are comfortable, why would we intentionally get uncomfortable? 

Because comfort is boring, and boredom should be feared and combated.

A boring life is lethal. It's a life that looks for ways to distract, numb and medicate.  That road is depressing and ugly, and unfortunately broad. Many travel it, but none are satisfied.

My aim is to disrupt the status quo, and call men into a full life of Adventure and Freedom versus Apathy and Bondage.

I do this first by raising questions to uncover the root of apathy and bondage. Then provide the tools, time and space to get after it. The time and space are created through an epic experience of sorts. Anything from embarking on a sailing surf trip to a deserted island,  4x4ing the deserts of California or Baja, or backpacking the Sierra Mountains. Whatever the trip of choice, the point is adventure. For men to face fear, take risk, and discover the freedom their lives, wives, children, and careers have been waiting for!

ADFR’s first trip, dubbed “The Passage,” was a doozie. 

Sailing to a deserted island, 13 hours in the rain, at night, in the middle of winter may not be a compelling proposition to most. Yet the 10 men who said yes to the wild idea brought back stories and experiences they will never forget, nor be able to fully describe. How do you explain the sound of the sea, wind, and waves as your lonely sailboat cuts through black water speckled with star light? How do you describe what it feels like to lay on the deck with out stretched hand to a pod of dolphins as they sing to one another?

Adventure is an experience that only the adventurer knows.  You can’t learn what adventure teaches you in a book. Each adventure is a page in your life’s story.  It makes for a good story, one worth living and sharing. 

How many pages do you have? Will your memoirs be about how much money you made and how busy you were, or will they speak to a greater story which you invited your wife and kids? What will be your impact, your legacy?

The epic travels and discovery of new lands is great, but don’t be mistaken that all adventure has to look the same. It can be as simple as disrupting a norm. It's a release of what other people think of you. Its stepping into a challenge, big or small. The adventure can be saying yes to your 4 year old's idea to follow the pigeon tracks on the sand to see where it leads, or going for a run in the rain with your young daughter, or taking a cold shower, or surprising your wife with a thoughtful night away to her favorite place. 

When we give ourselves to adventure, it reveals how out of control we are. Paradoxically, there is freedom in knowing you're not actually in control. It tells us there is something much larger going on.

Freedom is the release of control. Allowing yourself to submit to the reality that you’re not God. When hope and trust transfers from you to the creator of the universe, suddenly pieces fall into place. The crippling weight of bearing burdens is lifted, and a new lightness propels you to who you were meant to be. Identity is not found in your job, tasks, performance or duty.  Identity is what you were born with. Freedom is releasing the burdens that blind you to your core authentic self. 

Adventure fully expressed is the surrender of everything. The surrendering of your life to the creator of life. This is the beginning of freedom, a new start.

Adventure disrupts comfort and control. It reveals the paradoxical joy of freedom in surrender. Freedom opens a heart to new and full life, the way it was always meant to be.

If Adventure is the start, Freedom is the goal and the implications thereafter. 




Zac ErnstComment