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Definitions on outdoor adventure pursuits

August 2, 2010

adventure or paying for thrills?

Time for some definitions: Outdoor adventure means totally different things depending on who you talk to. What’s that saying? One person’s adventure is another person’s stroll in the park – or something like that. To some degree, adventure is a state of mind. But I guess for my purposes I am talking about the more extreme side of things – though later I hope to look at the concept of  Queenstown, the ‘adventure’ capital, where you pay someone large amounts of cash to go on thrill-seeking experiences like bungy jumping and jet boating.

For general purposes I am viewing outdoor adventure pursuits as involving:

  • interaction with natural environment,
  • exposure (seeking of risk) to physical danger and risk –either physical, emotional or material –usually with possibility  of injury or even killed
  • sense of uncertainty of the outcome
  • involves skill or challenge

This definition is based from Alan Ewert’s book, Outdoor Adventure Pursuits: Foundations, Models and Theories. Although the last bullet point, involving skill or challenge, is mine. So what activities am I talking about? Anything from sky diving, hang-gliding, mountaineering, kayaking, rock and ice climbing, sailing, caving, ski touring and surfing. Tramping/hiking? Yes and no, depending on where you go and how it’s done.

Ewert’s book argues traditional activities such as fishing, hunting and boating would not count as outdoor adventure pursuits because there is no deliberate seeking of risk and uncertainty of outcome. However, I’d argue activities such as pig hunting and spear fishing do count but maybe your average boating trip doesn’t. Anyway I don’t want to get too picky about it – but something to think about.

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