334: Finding Adventure – And other things I’ve learned while living in the suburbs

Finding Adventure-Mitch Matthews

334: Finding Adventure – And other things I’ve learned while living in the suburbs

In this episode, we are going to talk about the importance of injecting a little adventure into our lives.  C.S. Lewis once said, “Some journeys take us far from home.

Some adventures lead us to our destiny.”  Sure, adventure can mean climbing peaks in Peru or Nepal… but there are other ways that we can inject a little novelty and adventure into our daily lives… even if you live in the burbs like I do! 

In fact, I make the case using some good ol’ research-backed arguments, but I also share a way that I’ve been experiencing a little “adventure” lately. 

And it doesn’t cost me a thing… but it’s been a way that I’ve been finding some rest and restoration.  And as you’ll hear… it’s also been teaching me A LOT about life and business.  Check it out… and then join me in finding a little “adventure” no matter where you live!

apple podcast Castbox Spotify Google Podcasts


Ruth Soukup | Surprising Secrets For Living the Good Life – (click here) 

Beating the “MEH” with LAURA SANCHEZ-GREENBERG – www.mitchmatthews.com/308 

A Hiro’s Journey – mitchmatthews.com/322

The Rest vs. Restoration Experiment – mitchmatthews.com/330


For some ADVENTURE might mean a trip to the big city… or it might be going to the other side of the planet.

“Some journeys take us far from home. Some adventures lead us to our destiny.”

– CS Lewis 

Amelia Earhart once said, “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

“You can’t define adventure… and what it means to you… until you’ve wrestled with it.  True adventure happens beyond what you might think is safe… or obtainable.  That’s where you see miracles happen.  Adventure is the distance between the present and the fulfillment of your dreams!  And how you navigate the “in-between” is the great unknown.”

– Clay Croft – Creator of the Expedition Overland 

(Find out more here:  www.xoverland.com)

BUT… you might be saying… 

“THAT IS NOT ME!!!  I LIVE in the burbs… I have a house filled with kids, schedules, dogs, cats and a bird… I can’t be traipsing around the globe looking for ADVENTURE!!!”

I get it… I’m right there with you!!!  

Here’s a brief history of “Adventure and me”:

  • I grew up a scared kid… but I learned a motto… “I may be scared… but I’m going to do it anyway!”  Or… a shorter version is… “Do it scared!”
  • I grew up afraid of heights… but at the same time… I’ve climbed the tallest mountains in Montana and some of the tallest in Colorado!
  • I was afraid of leaving home… so I hated my first summer camp experience… BUT when I got older… I moved to England at 18 and went back when I was 20.
  • When my bride and I lived in Montana (two places)… we’d camp in the mountains countless weekends… then we had cubs… and decided to move back closer to family.  We first spent a year in Chicago… and then we landed back in Des Moines and we’ve been here for over 20 years!


As a result… I live in a suburb of a moderate-sized city… in a state where the highest elevation is 1,670 feet.  Literally, it’s Hawkeye Point which is the highest natural point in Iowa at 1,670 feet (510 m). It is approximately 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north of Sibley on the eastern side of SR 60 and approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) south of the Iowa-Minnesota state border.

My favorite part is the directions say, 

“The high ground lies 100 feet (30 m) due south of an old silo.”

But remember: 

ADVENTURE isn’t a location… it’s a mindset!

Also, remember…

“Stay curious. It will lead to a life of adventure!”

– Mitch Matthews

It’s sooooo important… and this is backed up by SCIENCE!!!

I’m betting you remember Episode 308 – Beating the “MEH” with LAURA SANCHEZ-GREENBERG. www.mitchmatthews.com/308  (More from Laura below.)

In that episode, we talked about how novelty is critical.  Mixing things up.  Trying new things.  Stretching yourself.  Growing.  

So sure… if you can go climb a mountain… DO it!!!

BUT if you’re in a suburbs in the flat lands… (like me)… you need to find other ways to experience adventure!


For OUR purposes, let’s define adventure as:

  • Staying curious
  • Pursuing novel experiences 
  • Stretching… growing… putting yourself in situations from time to time… where you might actually fail.

Yvon Chouinard… rock climber, world adventurer, and founder of Patagonia once said,

 “It’s not truly adventure until something goes wrong.”

You might get some of that at work… or at home.  You might say… I’ve got a teenager… stuff goes wrong all the time! LOL! BUT seriously… what if you introduced some adventure WITH your teenager.  What if?

My Invitation:

  • Pursue some adventure…
  • Try something new
  • Do something where you might fail
  • Stay curious.
  • Walk in awe.
  • See where it takes you!

Dreaming BIGGER… thinking BETTER and doing MORE is all about living an amazing life and that’s what I want from you… if you’re living in Nepal… or Fiji… NYC… or a really nice little  suburb.

Adventure is out there… we just have to find it.



In the episode, I mention that past DREAM THINK DO guest Laura Sanchez-Greenberg had provided some SCIENCE and RESEARCH to back up today’s episode… so I wanted to provide it here… in her own words.

She shared…

“Novelty and “sustainable happiness” studies suggest that doing new things is good for our well-being and some authors have suggested that fulfilling our need for novelty is a basic requirement for optimal functioning (Gonzalez-Cutre et al 2016).  

Research here tied to the self-determination theory (SDT is the so-often-attributed to Daniel Pink’s Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose triangle from his book “Drive” – this model is actually research by Deci and Ryan (1980, 2000) which Pink translated.) 

The research notes that novelty is a basic tenant of being self-determining.  Without novelty, then you wouldn’t know if you were self-determining as it would just be more of the same.  In simpler terms: How do you know if you are choosing for yourself (autonomy) if you are competent (mastery) if nothing changes?

Some suggested things to read: 

Laura continues…

“I’d say pointing to Barbara Fredrickson’s work “Positivity” is also good.  

The bottom line is, although there is novelty-specific research, the word itself takes on all the research that’s there and gives its name.  

When we change our view, our brain activates, learns, it absorbs.  

So the important role that awe plays in happiness, that nature plays in happiness, importance of learning in happiness… all of these are related to novelty – we change our environment, learn something new, feel awe… all novelty.  

So “novelty” is a catch all for so much of the research (I use the word as a shortcut). 

Super nerdy research:

 In the Suburbs… grab your lip-smacker… put out a bird feeder and let that Cardinal surprise you; better yet, let the seeds call it to you in winter where the red pops on the snow background (they don’t migrate). Smell coffee. Take a peek at a chipmunk… take a walk and for a minute, check out how to bark on a tree can form art… all sorts of novelty.”

  • 0:02 Let’s go on an adventure 
  • 1:24 Finding Adventure Episode starts
  • 5:30 Mitch’s background in adventure 
  • 14:34 one adventure you can take every day
  • 19:58 How Mitch gets his adventure in
  • 26:25 Mitch’s Narnia moment
  • 36:06 Adventure is a mindset
  • 39:23 Closing thoughts  

I want to hear from YOU!

What do YOU think?  Is finding some adventure… some novelty important?  Did you need to be reminded of that?  (I know I do!!!)  What’s one way you want to inject some adventure into your world?  What’s a way to experience a little novelty?  Share something you love to do… or something you’re going to try!  I can’t wait to hear from YOU!  Comment and let me know.

1 Comment
  • Natalie Ogbourne
    Posted at 15:28h, 23 September Reply

    I’m a fellow Iowa-dwelling mountain-lover and this encouraged me. The river hiking concept was new–and needed. I live in the same region your grandparents did–near Knoxville. There are trails out at Redrock, but they’re short. River walking may open some new options if we widen our circle. Thanks so much!

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