Man versus nature lends itself to adventure stories. If your essay is a piece of fiction, place your character on a deserted island, in the jungles of the rain forest or in the Canadian wilderness in winter. Describe the character’s struggle to find the basic necessities of food, water and shelter from a hostile environment. You could also write an essay about famous survival books, such as “Hatchet,” by Gary Paulson; “The Perfect Storm,” by Sebastian Junger; and “Alive,” by Piers Paul Read. Consider writing about people who have survived impossible circumstances. Steven Callahan, author of “Adrift,” survived 76 days drifting in the Atlantic Ocean after his yacht sunk.
An adventure essay can explore new lands or discoveries. Take the reader on a journey to a foreign land or even into space. Describe the people and the differences in terrain, culture and foods. Consider the challenges faced in a strange land. You could write an essay on famous novels with discovery themes, such as Jules Verne's “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” which plunges the reader under Earth’s crust to uncover its secrets. Alternatively, consider writing about famous explorers as an essay topic. Follow the trails of Christopher Columbus, Lewis and Clark, or Neil Armstrong.
A quest or search for treasure brings a natural sense of adventure and curiosity to an essay. Your essay could focus on characters from Greek mythology, such as Hercules or Jason and the Argonauts, whose stories centered on quests. On the other hand, you could write about real-life adventurers such as Charles Lindbergh, whose quest to be the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 brought him international fame.
Your Own Stories
Your own life experiences can inspire topics for adventure essays. Write about a recent vacation. Include details about the new discoveries made along the way. Detail any hardships encountered from the natural world. Perhaps you dodged rattlesnakes on a hiking trip through the Badlands in South Dakota. Your throat was parched as the sun beat down relentlessly, with no end to the trail in sight. Use descriptive detail and hints from the above three attention-getting types of adventure to make your essay more exciting. Perhaps you were only in the Badlands for an afternoon, but you can detail the adventure to make an afternoon feel just as exciting as a year.