4 Tips For A Successful Man-venture

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This post has stuff about religion. My perspective has changed

Image of people skydiving

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Steve Ivy of the monkinetic weblog.

Recently, while on vacation, my father, 2 brothers, and I had what my youngest brother called a “man-venture”. Though a tad awkward to say, it sums up easily our two-day combination of fun, adventure, companionship, and mutual support. Ours was a roaring success, and we all came away from it both tired and invigorated, and swearing to do
it again in 6-12 months. Here are some tips for having a successful Man-venture:

I picked up Sean, our middle brother, on Friday morning and drove a few hour north through crappy traffic to Orange, VA, a bit north of Charlottesville (in the middle of nowhere, really), to meet Dad and Bob (the youngest). In order to have a proper man-venture, you must get away from distractions – your work, your computer (our two-day trip was “topless” – i.e., no laptops), or your yard. Getting away can be hard – conversations tend to still drift toward the mundane or back to what’s going on at work. I see that not as a failure but as an expression of the fact that man (especially in our society, but I think it’s pretty universal) tend to define themselves by what they do. Rather than get down on myself I just tried to make sure I wasn’t harping on work the whole time.

Sean and I had some fun conversations on the way up to Orange, and Friday night our dinner conversation ranged all over the place. On Saturday, travel topics included a lesson on social media/social networking for the slightly less-nerdy among our number – overall it was a refreshing time of shared fun and adventure.

Seeing as this is a Man-venture, not a tea party, make sure you find something to do together that’s going to scare you somehow! Eat something new, do something new, or in our case, fall out of something new! Sean, Bob, Dad, and I met up at Skydive Orange and the four of us jumped (really, fell) out of an airplane at 13000 ft! Now that was out of my comfort zone!

While skydiving is something I’ve been wanting to try for years, I hadn’t gotten the time, resources, or possibly nerves to do it. This was the main activity of our man-venture and It was worth every penny and every minute. Hours were spent on the trip discussing what the jump would be like, how long it would last, then afterwards sharing about the experience, how it affected us, what we liked/hated most about it, and telling stories about how our particular jump instructor liked each of us best. :P

Getting out of your comfort zone gives you a shared experience that’s likely to be unique – one that’s going to stand out in your mind and will make it easier to recall later the important lessons you learned. (What, you don’t learn anything when falling at 125mph? Open your eyes man!)

Sharing a new (possibly nerve-wracking) experience is only one way of – dare I say it – bonding with your fellow adventurers. Another is sharing an activity that you’re all just really into, new or not.

After our jump, we drove back to Charlottesville and checked into our hotel. We rested, changed clothes, then went to get into line for The Dark Knight, the new Christopher Nolan Batman movie. We guys do like our movies, and as tending-towards-nerdy Gen X kids we three boys are major comic movie fans. Dad loves a good action movie too, so this was our gig for sure.

We made it to the theater (a four-plex! Woo!) an hour ahead of time and were the first people in line by about 1-0 minutes. Eventually the line grew to a couple hundred, and we got to gab with the next couple in line, good-naturedly sharing movie stories, trivia, and pictures of the gentleman’s homemade SpiderMan costume. (What a dork! Oh, wait…)
The movie was AWESOME (go see it!) and everyone had a blast.

Really, what’s the point of a man-venture? For me, it’s not the rush of a new activity, it’s not the comraderie of hanging out doing something fun. Those things are warmups for getting real with one another. I’m not talking about weepy revelations or back-slapping
affirmations. I’m talking about sitting in the South Street Brewery Friday night over a hefeweizen and appetizers, just enjoying each other’s company, talking about the past, present and future, not worried about appearances or deadlines or the yardwork.

If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, bored, or just disconnected from life, find a couple clos friends and plan yourself a man-venture. Just remember: Get Away, Get Our Of Your Comfort Zone, Get Into Something, and Get Real.

Steve Ivy is the proprietor of the monkinetic weblog, father of 2 beautiful and crazy little
girls, and a proud geek.

Image courtesy of Skydive Orange