Adventure as a philosophy?

Following passion and still ending up in the black?

Adventure Divas cofounder Holly Morris tackles these ideas — along with our mission — in a speech to the Outdoor Industry Council. A version — adapted for your screen — follows:

Adventure Divas is a program of travel and biography and is driven by the energy of what we’re calling
diva-dom.

At the heart of each program lies a diva, and as we’ve worked our way towards a definition of diva, a few essential traits keep showing up. Divas are all over the world; they’re women who’ve not simply waited for their ships to come in, but rowed out to meet them. Be they musicians or mountain climbers, activists or poets, the common denominator in their lives, besides a healthy sense of humor, is a compass set on passion. Divas realize their full potential, and in doing so inspire not only admiration, but action. Divas show us that to indulge your passions fully is to know yourself completely. Only then can you treat the rest of the world — its people, its ecosystems — with wit and compassion.

Can Fun Pay?

With all this in mind, we have launched Adventure Divas with a television series at its center, but with creative and production arms extending into online and (someday) book publishing.

Adventure Divas speaks to the synergistic relationship between media and contemporary American culture, and to the eclectic combo-platter of ways we, as individuals, are gathering information and reflecting a borderless world. It also bows to the sensibility that we can do good work, and have fun. A belief that we can defy convention — even be political — and still end up in the black.

Along with most of my compatriots in the diva enterprise, I feel the excitement of being on the brink of something new, and am running on the adrenaline rush of courting the unknown. We’re sort of in that netherland of developmental wisdom — too young for hindsight and too busy for foresight — but we have been around enough to trust our instincts. We’re a visceral lot who learn as much from our bodies and senses — and our best friends — as we do from the academy, the corporate world or our culture’s more established institutions.

Perhaps most importantly, we are marked by the fact that we came of age reaping the benefits of a women’s movement in full swing. The women pioneers in previous generations provided us the opportunity to step into our lives with a heady amount of assumed power. We don’t spend a ton of our energies reacting — we focus on creating and challenging. Often, it’s about challenging ourselves, raising the bar on potential.

Changing the Game

One of our greatest challenges in the media is to load some pack behind our punch: to make style a spice and substance our nutrition. If we tell people to find the Diva Within, we must be committed to the art of mentorship. I hope each of us can find a woman and invest in her happiness and potential, personal as well as professional. Women can do amazing things with a little encouragement. If we tell people to Change the Game — fuel their entrepreneurial spirit and encourage them to take risks in business, to make new rules — then we must be prepared to lose a match to them, now and again.

If we say Power On, and they do learn the magic of flipping their own switch, we must not then fear them, and start throwing roadblocks in their way. An internal light source serves to brighten the world — and uses no fossil fuels in the process.

Power is a funny thing for women. We want it. We fear it. We spend time exercising a flavor of power that is not of our own making. And then, we come to learn that true power is about rocking with our own vulnerabilities and contradictions. Then we are unstoppable. When we dance in the ether of what we think we cannot do, when we tango with our fears, we transcend how others define us — as girl or woman — and begin to feel and do like Maven, Diva, Kick-Ass Woman.

We discover the Rock Star Within.

Run With It

And we all must access her, as she serves us well in business and in life. Whatever your source of power, I say pick it up and run with it. The rules ARE changing and, to quote Harriet Rubin, “When the rules are broken, or in shambles, women succeed. They feel they can do anything, challenge anyone.”

Women are participating in the outdoor and travel worlds in record numbers and, as important, our culture’s relationship to adventure is changing. Adventure is no longer a weekend theme; it is philosophy. Adventure is about hurling yourself at the unexpected. It’s how you walk to the corner store and how you walk the Australian outback. Adventure can un-opiate the masses.

Not to be lost in all this is the ultimate diva — the natural world. She is our operating system, our muse and our playground. To respect ourselves is to have respect for the environment, and vice versa. She keeps us humble as we seek clarity and find our small place within her. For women particularly, outdoor adventure and travel allows us to leave behind the demands that pepper our lives, to discover ourselves and see with 20/20 vision. We learn that we can be at once revolutionary and simple; kind and fiercely independent. And in the face of much adversity, the natural world is still a most ardent backer of joy; a role model in the ways of whimsy.

She teaches us how liberating fun can be… In fact, if she were to write the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Women, it would go something like this: HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN. And the rest will all work out. 

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