What’s the difference between an explorer and an adventurer? Well, according to the New York Times, an explorer is a “morally superior pioneer, a man or woman who braves the battle against nature to discover new terrain, expanding our species’ understanding of the world” whereas adventurers are pretty much just “self-indulgent adrenaline junkie[s], who scare loved ones by courting puerile risk.”
Well, then. There has to be a middle ground between the moral superiority and the puerile behavior, right? And I want to suggest that “misadventurer” is that middle ground: a woman who, yes, enjoys an adrenaline rush as much as the next gal; a woman who tackles the odds outdoors without hesitation; but also a woman who is on a mission to discover not just new terrain in the world around her but also within herself.
In that case, Sarah Marquis, the focus of this NYT article, entitled, “The Woman Who Walked 10,000 Miles (No Exaggeration) in Three Years,” is the epitome of a misadventurer. During those three years, she walked through Siberia and the Gobi Desert, then onwards through China, Laos, and Thailand, before hopping on a boat to Brisbane, Australia, and walking across the entire country (which, you’ll remember, is also entire continent). The article unpacks Marquis’ childhood, her incessant wanderlust, and why a person might put themselves through such a harrowing experience–why adventure, even when it hurts so bad, feels so damn good.
It’s worth noting, too, that the New York Times comes around to the misadventurer perspective by the end! “Perhaps,” they hypothesize, “the territory Marquis explores is really internal — the nature of fear, the limits of stamina and self-reliance and the meaning of traveling in nature as a female human animal, alone.”
Check out this inspiring read via the New York Times.