Americans love stories about great adventurers. I grew up wanting to be Indiana Jones (as evidence by the destruction I caused when I repurposed a jump rope into a whip). Bear Grylls has become a celebrity simply by surviving. Andrew Zimmern went from drug addict to chef to celebrity because of his iron constitution. Why, then, are Americans not as adventurous as the people they celebrate? In a recent survey commissioned by Intrepid Travel, Americans lagged behind Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians when it came to pushing their limits.
1,000 people were surveyed from each of the countries listed above and the United States. Respondents were asked how likely they were to eat fried tarantula, stay with a local family, haggle at a local market and other activities. Americans were the least adventurous while Kiwis seemed game for almost anything.
The survey offers insight into the adventurousness of people in various regions within the United States. Californians were the most adventurous US respondents. Texans were a mixed bag with Dallas residents being the most likely of any Americans to stay with a local family while folks from Austin were the least likely to eschew hotels for some home cooking.
While by no means a definitive study, the survey does seem to quantify something that many travelers have already noticed: Americans lag behind others when it comes to living on the edge. Maybe it’s our litigious society. Could it be our puritan history? Perhaps it’s just simply our lack of vacation time as compared to Western Europeans.
What do you think? Are Americans more adventurous than people think? Would you eat a fried tarantula? Is the whole idea of being adventurous overrated? Sound off in the comments.