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She Needs Adventure




Halfway up the verdant mountainside of the Sentinel by the Sea (a hill by comparison to the Rockies, but glorious by Irish standards as it rises from the North Atlantic) my wife Susie looked back at me and I saw a familiar gleam in her eyes. Though she was raised in a flat place, Susie has the soul of a peak-bagger—a term we use in Colorado in reference to those people who aim to reach the summit of as many mountains as their legs will carry them up.

That look, part breathless joy and part thirsty adventurer, told me there would be no going back down until we had gotten as close to the summit as time would allow.

I’ve followed my wife up several mountains, including Mt. Whitney (tallest in the lower 48), Mt. Yale in Colorado and Kinabalu in Borneo. I say “follow” because it is always, always her desire that puts us on the top. I love adventure, love hiking and climbing, but the love that Susie finds in the ascent and summit of high places is powerful.

The truth is, she loves adventure. Maybe even more than I do in some ways.

I don’t think this has anything to do with being a man or being a woman. As human beings we inherently need beauty and life. Our souls dry up without them. I’ve found that so many things point to our need for God, but the need for adventure is unique.

As kids we knew the world was a fairytale land full of exotic fruit and bizarre animals, meant to be explored. The God who created the Himalayas and the Great Barrier Reef imbued us with an adventurer’s spirit.

However, I’m not what you would call a triple A personality. Left to my own devices, I might not venture up any peak let alone head to the climbing gym for years at a time. I can get very comfortable not seeking adventure which is sad because I love it. Like most things that are good for me there is something that holds me back. Steven Pressfield calls it “resistance” in his book The War of Art, and claims that every artful, enriching thing is opposed. I call that the Enemy.

Susie’s thirst for adventure, travel, and exploration was one of the attributes that drew me to her. I need someone by my side who will push me into the things I know I want, instead of sitting beside me in the comfort of our home content to watch another season of Anthony Bourdain and wishing we could taste the fruits ourselves. She needs adventure, on a deep level, and pursing adventure together is one of the richest experiences I know.

Not every woman is the same, of course, but as human beings we all share a need for adventure. We tend to think it's just a guy thing, but it's not. Not at all. Adventure can be so romantic. Maybe it’s exploring the Champs-Élysées or hiking the Annapurna Trail or rock climbing at the one spot in town down by the river.


But it doesn’t have to be physical adventure either: some may want to learn a new language, try different food spots around town, or move to a new country. Whatever form your adventure takes, the key is to pursue it together. Invite her into the adventure, or let her invite you into hers.

When I owned a motorcycle I loved taking rides along the ocean or up into the hills of central California. No matter how much I enjoyed those times, it was when Susie was with me, laughing and shouting into the wind, that I truly enjoyed myself. Like just about everything else in life, adventure is better when it’s shared.

The truth of it is: she needs adventure, as much as I do, and the more we pursue it together the more life and the more of God we experience.