LinkedinTwitterThe DetailsConnectBlog Facebook Meet the TherapistHome For Writers

Monday, May 6, 2013

Character Archetypes 101: The Explorer

Today, The Explorer took some time off from, well, exploring, to lie down on my couch to analysis. He's looking at me with a skeptical look, but seems game to check out what this character therapy stuff is all about. The Explorer is also known as the seeker, wanderer, pioneer, adventurist, individualist, iconoclast, and pilgrim.

The "Good"

The Explorer, at the very core, is on a journey. They crave experiencing new things, and generally like to do this off-grid (whether literally or figuratively), repelling boundaries, restrictions, and conventions. Adventure is the order of the day, and Explorers seldom rely on others in their quest for self-awareness and knowledge. 

They are independent, ambitious, daring, curious, and above all, free. Free to explore the world, blaze trails, and travel. This drive excites and challenges them. They like to experiment in their quest to be true to their soul, often searching for meaning while seeking greener pastures.

They have a deep desire for wholeness which is most fulfilled my seeking new approaches and perspectives. You might say that they are trying to fill a void by conquering their restlessness and inherent dissatisfaction with the status quo.

The "Bad"

The Explorer is sometimes so self-sufficient that they avoid support from others, which they might see as an encumbrance to achieving their goals. They have an insatiable need to do things themselves, and might withdraw from friends and family while on their quests. 

At a more functional autonomous level, Explorers can simply forget to coordinate with others while seeking. In extreme cases, the Explorer is so self-involved that he or she creates an alienation by building walls too high for others to scale. In so doing, they become misfits. They definitely can hurt others and themselves in the course of their seeking.

Sometimes Explorers are so indulgently busy looking for the next big thing that will improve their life that they miss what they already can offer just by being themselves. By not committing to a course of action or settling down, this can lead to anything from aimless wandering to thrill seeking. 

Likely Goals

To experience a more authentic/fulfilling life
To search for meaning
To seek peace/fill an inner void
To discover uniqueness of self 

Likely Fears

To be trapped
To be subject to conformity
To be bored
To feel inner emptiness

Examples in the Media

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien
Antonia Banderas as Zorro  
Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich
William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek (come on, you saw this one coming..."boldly going where no man has gone before?")
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Michael Douglas as Jack T. Colton in Romancing the Stone

Archetypes Who've Completed Therapy

The Innocent
The Orphan
The Hero  
The Caregiver

Let's Analyze

Much of my research indicated that Explorers are seeking to fill an inner void by all their outward explorations and adventure. I'm reminded of John Eldredge's very successful book, Wild at Heart, that has resonated with men everywhere.  Do you think that there are Explorers out there who simply love to explore?