Whoever designed click bait had me in mind. I am especially drawn to links that provide me with information about myself (i.e my personality type or probability of remaining single for life) based on answering questions about Disney Princesses or the way your body contorts while you sleep. Basically, every quiz produced by Buzzfeed.
This is the one that I took today: The Cube
My results: I desire to have a billionty kids (not anytime soon), I have strong bonds with my friends, zero stress and am in want of a wild and free romantic relationship. It was pretty accurate — as far as a click bait Buzzfeed personality tests go. It didn’t mention, however, that I am highly adventurous — a fact often cited by such personality tests.
The very word “adventurous” makes me think of a dashing pilot in a bomber jacket all Amelia Earhart-like with a scarf thrown carelessly about her shoulders. Or base jumpers and extreme sportspeople who live for that awful stomach-dropping sensation. Sometimes it makes me think of Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam eating all manner of things that I would never think to put in my mouth.
My own adventurous spirit is grounded by a fear of heights and stomach dropping which means it never finds expression in leaping off of or out of things. I am also unlikely to eat the brains of any animal or anything that is not beef or chicken-based. My sense of adventure comes out instead in the mundane and the quotidian of human existence. I watch movies with only a cursory knowledge of their subject matter. I skim the brief review of a book on the back cover before committing wholesale. Far from being something frightening or necessary to avoid, I enjoy meeting and talking to strangers. For me, it is not in the act itself (whether movie, book, person, or even locale) where adventure resides, but in the uncovering and discovering of a thing.
Like a detective – – or a leopard — it is in the hunt, in the always out-of-order found clues, the following of bloody footsteps, the slow unveiling of prey, that I find particular joy.In fact, when I lived in Germany, the local airline, German Wings, offered a cheap flight deal known as “blind booking” that appealed greatly to my sense of everyday adventure. You simply put in your dates of travel, choose a category of adventure (such as shopping, party, leisure, etc), pay an extremely cheap fare and boom: your previously unknown destination is revealed
This is how we — two friends and I –ended up in Vienna, Austria at 8 on a Friday morning with a return ticket for late Sunday afternoon. We’d purchase the tickets on a it’s-a-long-holiday-weekend-we-should-go-somewhere-whim only 3 days prior, which left very little time to do research. Thus we arrived with a rough outline of things to see and do and filled in the details as we went along.
Vienna was one (relatively) short, though seemingly never-ending, unraveling of wonder– a continual release of adventure. After a long night in the Bermuda Triangle, we pledged to stick to cultural pursuits and ended up in a museum that caught our attention en route to elsewhere. It just so happened to be the Belvedere Museum and I came face to face with the brilliance (both of light and genius) of Gustav Klimt. I literally stood in front of the gold-foiled masterpiece, Der Kuss, for a full thirty minutes (and then bought every possible tchotchke with this image on it from the gift store) attempting to take it all in.
While still en route to this elsewhere, we then stumbled upon St. Charles’s Church (Karlskirche). Of course it was very beautiful in the manner of baroque churches all over Europe, but it also happened to be under restoration at the time. This simple happenstance allowed us to take an elevator and then climb the staged scaffolding to see the 35m (115ft) high ceiling of the cupola up close.
It was one long sequence of unexpected beauteous events. As if someone had handed us a beautifully wrapped present and we spent 48 hours unwrapping it, analyzing and amazed at every crease and crinkle we uncovered. We found adventure in the powerful Lippazaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School and we found it while standing in line for tickets to the famous Vienna Opera house in the person of two American couchsurfers and their Austrian host.They sent us in search of the Loos American Bar which, like a clue in a scavenger hunt, sent us on the aforementioned long night in the Bermuda Triangle. Adventure was in the first taste of a Sacher torte and it lingered in our ears after hearing the Vienna Boys Choir. It came in search of us as we traipsed down narrow, cobbled streets in the dark in search of a dodgy classical musical review purchased from an ever-present street vendor. We found it in the surprising color of the hundertwasserhaus and the majesty of Schönbrunn Palace and the Austrian National Library.
There is something about those brief forty-eight hours of my life that lingers even now some seven years later. I think of Vienna when I turn down a one-way street in a new city and come across a skyward-climbing treehouse in the middle of an otherwise pedestrian street; or when a series of seemingly providential coincidences bring me to a place or person I would have never encountered otherwise. I find Vienna in following the sweet smell of baked goods to its source or in the new song that I can’t dislodge from my head. It’s there in the silent reading nook carved out in the back of a loud cafe and in the joy of unopened letters.In the shotgun burst of dappled children’s laughter through a window pane or the unexpected thought upon awakening. In ways both big and small, mundane and extraordinary, I often return to Vienna. I return to that sense of the unknown –that thrill of possibility haunting me at every cobbled turn
Perhaps it was in the unknown that we found adventure calling.