Last week I rented a store in the town center on Marblehead in Second Life New England. I knew what I wanted to call the store, Yordie’s Excellent Adventures and the concept is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I even created a Facebook page for it last year. And there’s a Second Life group by the same name. But once I got the store furnished, many questions began to surface.
The problem is, I don’t have a clear idea of what an “adventure” store is supposed to sell. I started thinking about the whole subject of adventure. I had this notion that you can’t really “buy” adventure, that adventure is something that happens. And what the heck is a woman doing, trying to run an adventure store? I looked at the definition of adventure for help:
~ Participation in hazardous or exciting experiences: the love of adventure.
That made sense. And I realized, sure, I can arrange sky diving, ballooning, flying and scuba diving trips. Those fit the definition of “exciting” but the problem I kept having is that there’s no physical danger. In fact, there is no physical danger in any virtual world activity. You could say, well, what if the player is on a Wii box? Geez, ok, I guess there’s some kind of “danger” that you’ll get dizzy and fall over and whatever.
Anyway, I began thinking about real life adventure. I’ve used the word “adventure” for all kinds of things throughout my life but I found myself questioning, what is “real” adventure?
Real Life Adventures
Although I never recognized myself as an adventurer before last year, once I did many doors opened. And it didn’t take long to see the roots to this aspect of my personality. I recalled how my parents were adventurers in real sense. My mom was fond of mentioning she had met a woman named Osa Johnson. After studying them a bit, I could see that my dad and mom had many things in common with adventurers Martin & Osa Johnson. But the Johnsons were of an older era, perhaps the “Golden Age of Adventurers.”
Martin & Osa considered themselves naturalists and explored, filmed, photographed and wrote about their expeditions. They travelled to, at the time, unexplored regions of the world including central Africa, South Pacific islands and the mysterious island of Borneo.
The Johnson’s were also pilots, each with their own airplane, but unfortunately Martin lost his life in an airplane accident in 1937. However, surprisingly to me, Osa continued to explore after Martin’s death and until her own death, fifteen years later.
I could understand the story of Martin & Osa in the context of my own family in that my mom married into adventure. Osa Johnson even wrote a book, “I Married Adventure”, the best-selling non-fiction book of 1940. So what was it that kept Osa going? And I wondered if women adventurers become so through marriage?
Real Women Adventurers
My search for adventure had raised my curiosity, especially about women who seek adventure.
I’m not talking about a walk in the forest, I’m talking about women racing around the world or into outer space or being a war correspondent. That’s taking risk!
But now I wanted to know who the real women adventurers are? Are they like Laura Croft or are they big, strong, rugged women?
After some initial research, I did a search of Wikipedia and got a list of women adventurers. It is an amazing list and I encourage everyone to read it. And as I studied the biographies of these women I began to understand who women adventurers really are.
For whatever reason, there are many stories of women throughout history and their extraordinary adventures. Everyone knows names like Amelia Earhart, Christian Amanpour and Sally Ride, but the stories of women adventurers is filled with surprises.
I found the story of Jeanne Baré to be extraordinary. In 1766, Jeanne disguised herself as a man, Jean Baret, and became the first woman to complete a voyage of circumnavigation… as a man!
Then there’s Nellie Bly, who inspired by Jules Verne’s story “Around the World in 80 Days”, in 1888, travelled around the world in 72 days. She also went undercover in an insane asylum to expose brutality and neglect!
These stories have been on my mind as I toy around with notions of adventure in a virtual world. For all practical purposes, physical danger is reserved exclusively for real life.
I’ve come to believe that the definition of real life adventure must always include some form of physical risk. And I believe it’s reasonable to say that virtual adventure has no physical risk. However, because physical danger is not part of virtual adventure, this is great news for women.
There are places woman cannot go with safety in real life. The news is filled with stories of atrocities toward women who venture outside safe boundaries, but in Second Life women can safely experience great freedoms.
I’ll be writing a lot more about adventure in the coming months, including more about expeditions into the adult world of Sex & the Virtual City.