My 2 cents
It is interesting to see the clash of minds. The rational, a bit conservative, versus the adventurous, almost reckless.
I´m 49, so we can rule out the impetus of youth, and unfortunately we can also rule out the benefits of the experience, since I started riding just five years ago. I have since ridden 40,000 miles, trying to catch up. I know it is not much considering other guys here, but I do not commute so I ride basically around town or taking long trips whenever I can,
I started with lighter bikes but upgraded recently to a 1150 GSA, which I promptly crashed. In fact, I recognized myself in this video. The cause of the crash is clear: after some time ridding standing on the pegs, the rider got tired or overconfident with the terrain and sat down. Terrain went soft, he remained seated and hit the brakes, probably let go of the gas, too. Been there, done that, flipped the bike and broke a collar bone. End of trip.
If I could live it again, would I have gone a lot slower, or avoided the gravel road? Probably no. For sure I would have gathered a lot more experience and off-road technic before venturing in that loose gravel again. Since then I took a few offroad classes, practiced more, and will eventually go back to that same gravel and "conquer it"! (meaning I´ll get to the end of the road without hitting the ground face first @ 60mph!!)
I understand everyone who posted about "staying in the confort zone", but when I'm riding, I am already far from my confort zone. I ride to see new places and meet people, but the objective is the ride, not reach a destination nor making new frieds, even though it is cool to do so. I understand that it varies from people to people, it is natural.