What the @&%$# am I doing?

There are a lot of definitions of adventure. Lots of other adventurers have spent time answer this question on their blogs: what makes an adventure?

Years ago I came up with one very simple definition and it has served me well.

On any adventure that was worth it to me I had a moment when I had to ask myself  "What the @&%$# am I doing!" 

Mural of Cuchulain in Ireland
If I haven't asked that question then the real adventure hasn't started yet.

I can provide some examples from my own life so you get the idea.

In 2005, Matt and I went to Ireland with our friend Carl. We arrived at the airport and rented a car, which of course drove on the opposite side of the road. Matt was elected driver and off we went. Not 10 minutes or so into our adventure, we hit a curb and - FLAT TIRE. We had to pull over on a strange city street and replace the tire with the spare. We even managed to put a pretty big scratch in the rental car with the jack. All of us sat back and said "What the @&%$# are we doing!?" We were sidelined for only a few moments all things considered and the rest of the trip was amazing. 

Pouring the cement.
In 2009, Matt and I broke ground on our tiny house. We dug holes for our post and pier foundation and we started the process of mixing cement and pouring the piers. You can read the entire sordid story here. That was our "What the @&%$# are we doing?!" moment. We knew that if we could get past that insanity we could build this tiny house. If we didn't give up at that moment, there was nothing that could stop us. 

Camping this summer.
Just a couple months ago we went camping in Minnesota with friends. On the very first night there was a torrential rain and wind storm. At 2am we were all up helping a friend keep her tent from blowing over. That was her "What the @&%$# am I doing!?" moment. Nothing will turn a ragtag group of friends into a family quicker than a housing emergency at 2am.

These "What the @&%$# am I doing?!" moments have been so profound they have really become the hallmark of any of my greatest adventures. If I don't ask myself that question once along the way I begin to worry if my challenge was way too easy or if I am not on the right path at all.

Have you experienced the "What the @&%$# am I doing?" moment in your life? How did you handle it?


  1. Most of my moments have been raising a baby into a now toddler i have had way too many of those to count.
    Some of them have been moments especially when moving with a baby or toddler to take care of, pack and move things. I am hoping my next move will be easier because I have gotten rid of over 200 things so far and counting.

  2. The question "What the @&%$# am I doing?" could well define the essence of the much rumoured 'wake-up call'. I ask it of myself during bad times, when I am unfulfilled, and good times, when I am half way up a mountain track and it starts to snow. It's a question that aches for reflection and answering. If one can't answer it they ought to think long and hard about why they are there.

  3. Oh, we must be completely immersed in deep adventure these days because we seem to be asking ourselves (literally) that very question every few days during our tiny house build. ESPECIALLY when it's pouring with rain, in the 30s, and we have no refuge other than our pop up tent trailer to 'dry' out and sleep in. But it's like you said, each time we ask it, we come up with "we're having an adventure!!".

  4. Ha! This is great. I did this the first day after I had sold my car without intending to replace it. I lived without a car for 3 years, but on that first day, after getting some pretty good blisters on my feet, I sat down on a curb and took a photo of my "What the @&%$# am I doing" face.

  5. Your trip sounds to be amazing, full of adventures. I too like holidays a lot and plan it when i get bore of my monotonous life. Holidays bring a change and energizes us for continuing other work. They are important as they give many beautiful and moments of fun in return. I like going with my friends, family or any other group. Last month we also went to Ireland and hired a car as it makes the journey more exciting, by hiring a car we can travel according to our will and comfort. It was a fun trip.

  6. I read somewhere that it's not an adventure till something goes wrong. Have found this to be all too true!

  7. To answer your question: I believe parenting two boys has been a constant stream of "What the @&%$# am I doing?!" moments. However, I've managed to keep them both alive for their respective 18/11 years on this planet and I've managed to see one through to his high school graduation (and eventually, off to college). Neither boy hates me (AFAIK), both still speak to me on fairly regular occasions, so I must be doing something right... Right?! LOL!


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