I am doing this for many reasons, some of which I don’t fully understand. That there is an inner urge is undeniable.” – Ranulph Fiennes, English Explorer
Standing at the foothill of the Sea to Summit trail in Squamish, B.C. with newly purchased hiking pack strapped on, stocked with water, snacks, phone, ID (to identify me, should that be needed) I think to myself – “Can I really do this? What does this journey ask of me physically? How long will this take? How will I climb without any climbing experience? What dangers lie ahead that I should consider before taking this step? How will I deal with a bear? Do I have the right shoes? What the heck am I doing and why I am doing this alone?”. Deep breath, clear my head and I take my first step into the unknown for the next 7.5km 918m elevation gain up the mountain .
As Ranulph Fiennes so poignantly put it, I could not deny this inner urge that brought me to this point. We all have this inner urge to seize the unknown journey in our life. Whether it’s launching the company you’ve always dreamed of, starting a new sport you have spectated for years, pursuing that person who tugs at your heart, starting the family you’ve always talked about, filling out the college application you’ve put off for 20 years, or whatever it is that has consumed your idle thoughts. Why haven’t you started this journey? Why are you stilling dreaming about it? I know why….You are still asking yourself “HOW”.
To understand the paralyzing affect this question has on your life, let’s see how Merriam-Webster defines journey and adventure. They are not one in the same. We are all on a journey, but not all having an adventure.
Journey (verb): an act of traveling from one place to another
Adventure (verb): engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory
Did you see that? Do you see how drastically different an adventure is from a journey? I’ll paint a picture just to make sure it is clear.
- Working for a company in your career field is a journey, but pursuing the many thoughts and ideas others mock but you know will make a difference in the industry you serve is the adventure.
- Going to college is a journey, but pursuing that degree you feel inadequate to even apply but deep down it calls you is the adventure.
- Following your team in your favorite sport is a journey, deciding to get into the action and be a part of it (at any age) is the adventure.
- Marrying the easy safe catch is a journey, fighting for the beauty who seems out of your reach is the adventure.
When I read the definition of adventure, I couldn’t help but think who in their right mind would sign up for an adventure?!? It would appear that if an adventure doesn’t end the way we hoped, it could be devastating. We may fail and hence be seen as a failure. Therefore, to avoid the risk we don’t take the risk.
If we don’t take the adventurous route in life, what journey are we taking? Again to Merriam-Webster, I look up the antonyms of adventure and was not surprised to find these words: safety, surety, inaction, avoidance, assurance, passiveness and there it was “plan”. The plan is the how!
At some point and perhaps multiple points in our life we stand at the foothill of our adventure. It almost seems as though adventure comes to us. When you stand at this foothill, what question do you ask yourself – How or Why? When I was at the foothill of the trail, if I had locked in on knowing how to take this journey I would have never climbed the mountain. Answering my why, I concluded: “I want to know what I’m capable of doing. I want to know how strong I am. I want to know how I handle challenges I’ve never faced. I want to know if I really can risk it all for the journey less traveled.” And oh boy did the adventure begin!!!!
A word of caution about taking an adventure. You will fail. You will get lost. You will get hurt. You will fall down. You will get tired. You will want to give up. You will discover who you really are. You will never regret it. You will come out on the other end wiser, stronger and ready for a bigger adventure. A journey without adventure, will never teach you these things.
I believe there is a higher power who places this desire for adventure in our hearts. For me, he is God and his son is Jesus. He is known to call us to adventure, to place these desires in our hearts, to bring the adventure to us, and to give us the strength to finish. I’ve learned He also handles the how which is the hardest part of life for us to define. Hence the reason you aren’t going anywhere.
My current adventure in life is launching a company. I may only know the steps of today and plan for tomorrow, but I am so very certain of my why. The adventurous life is one worth living. Look deep within and high above to reconcile that inner desire. Who is calling you and why?
After finishing this hike, I had the undeniable urge to come back next year and hike to Lake Garibaldi which is twice the distance and more treacherous. I would have never considered this bigger adventure, had I not taken the first.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain. Stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone on which I have inscribed the instructions and commands so you can teach the people.” Exodus 24:12
Now go and be adventurous exploring your why.