This WP Daily writing prompt #1998 caught my attention – asking us to chose between security and adventure. Who says we need to make a choice? Can’t I have both? Surely one doesn’t need to be to the exclusion of the other? Lets explore this together.
Definitions and perceptions
I don’t consider some things as risk-taking or being brave because I’m aware of and have considerfed and prepared for the risks, but others do. So what we consider to be risky or safe is subjective. Its possibly useful to give some thought to what the words themselves mean.
An unusual, exciting and possibly dangerous activity, such as a trip or experience, or the excitement produced by such an activityhttps://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/adventure
freedom from risk and the threat of change for the worse
freedom from danger, safetyhttps://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/security
We can see from these definitions that an adventure doesn’t need to be dangerous. That if going on a trip (me visiting a museum yesterday) is an adventure, I don’t think there’s much danger wrapped up with that – unless you consider getting caught in the rain or not watching where I was going when taking photographs and and could fall down stairs. I identified the risk, made sure I was not standing at the top of the stairs when taking my photographs and so was safe.
This will be my basic argument, there may always be risks associated with what we do, but even staying at home can be dangerous. Every year, in the UK, 6,000 people die in accidents in the home and more than 2.7 million visit A&E after an accident in the home. I don’t have the statistics for the number of accidents that occur where they don’t seek medical attention but imagine they will be higher still. The ROSPA also indicate that those who spend more time at home have an increased risk of being in an accident in the home – does that mean we’re safer out having adventures?
Risks are everywhere and perhaps having a sense of security in the home is misplaced, so we should get out and have some adventures. I’m now going to use a couple of examples to discuss how we can have adventures and protect our security at the same time.
My perspective – examples
I’m assuming we all assess the risks involved in what we’re doing, even if its subconsciously but I accept that some adventures will be more risky than others. I’m going to look at 2 examples which illustrate my attitude to adventure and how I consider the risk.
Off exploring for the blog
Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I love going exploring – going on adventures. While I enjoy sharing the experience with others, usually my friend, Alison. However, I am also comfortable to go solo. A few months ago it was commented by a fellow blogger that they thought I was brave going out on my own, and going into a restaurant alone for a meal (my post about a day in Dunblane was the trigger). I hadn’t thought about this as being brave. I want to explore and I’m not going to sit at home because I am doing something alone. I spent a year alone living in France as part of my university studies. You’ll not be surprised to learn that I went off exploring whenever I had the chance. I believe my attitude towards exploring and the confidence to go it alone, comes from my time abroad.
The impact of a year in France
I was in France in 1999/2000 when I was 34 and had a brilliant time. I was studying part time, and working teaching English for the rest of the time. I was living in the Loire Valley (Angers) and any free time I had, I would be off exploring the towns and cities of the Loire, along with their chateaux and cathedrals. Sometimes I had company, but much of the time I was alone.
My attitude was that I wanted to get as much out of the experience as possible, just finding ways to ensure my safety and security as much as possible so I could focus on the weekend experiences. One particular example that sticks with me was going to Orleans for 3 or 4 days across a holiday weekend – celebrating Jeanne d’Arc. I was excited to be in Orleans for the festival and if I ever find my photos I’ll see what I can share.
I knew that I needed to take care of my safety and security while having fun. Basic things such as:
- ensuring your room door locks fully/securely and if you have any doubts/concerns put something in front of the door so you’ll hear anyone trying to come in.
- as a woman travelling alone, I always asked for a room upstairs – you don’t want a ground floor room.
- if you’re going into restaurants etc to eat alone take a book/notebook with you so you can read or write up your experiences of the day.
- also be aware of the layout of the room etc and if possible, ask for a table where you can see what’s going on in the restaurant/cafe.
- it may seem obvious, but if you feel uncomfortable going into somewhere, leave and go elsewhere. Its important to feel comfortable
- one tip I remember from planning my 6 week stay in Seville as part of my studies (the year before my stay in France) is not to wear expensive jewellery (in case you get mugged) and all jewellery should be something that if someone grabs at it, the chain breaks easily so you don’t get hurt.
- if you’re at a table etc, be aware of where your bag is at all times. If you can, loop the handle/strap around the chair/table leg so it won’t be snatched and always keep it closed. Once of the group I was part of had her purse lifted out of her bag while sitting on the table in front of us.
- I have always hated anyone at my back, so I’ll usually slow down – stop to tie my laces, check my bag/phone for something or sit down if possible to let people get in front of me.
- I think my other tips would be general common sense, stay to main streets, particularly after dark. That said, I would usually be exploring so much, eat my main meal at lunch and be grabbing a sandwich/baguette for dinner and taking it back to my hotel room.
- the above reminds me, don’t assume standards, the weather, environment etc are the same as back home. A tale for another day, but my worst experience was self-inflicted when I gave myself horrific food poisoning after eating a ham baguette I’d carried in 40c heat for hours without thinking because that’s what we do/can do in Scotland it would be safe to eat.
I believe it is possible to have adventures and be secure at the same time. You just need to be aware of your environment and be confident. I’d say assess the risks associated with what you’re doing and consider what you can do to reduce those risks. You are responsible for your own safety; be aware of what’s happening around you and remember that there are also risks to staying home.
Go out and enjoy yourselves, exploring and having adventures. Go and have fun.
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