Today we are talking about adventures and why they matter…
An adventure is an exciting and exhilarating experience. It is usually somewhat hazardous and unknown. It can be laced with uncertainty, risk, and the unfamiliar. And it most certainly has an uncertain outcome. But it also holds the possibility of extreme liveliness and unmatched potential. Adventure is the catalyst for a life well-lived.
Life is meant to be lived as one huge adventure. It is big adventure made up of lots of smaller adventures. It is meant to be lived boldly, passionately, and with gusto! As earth dwellers, we are meant to explore our world, to embrace the possibilities and experiences it offers. With only this one life to live, we shouldn’t waste it trudging along with a zombie-like stare, in a kind of sleep-walk to nowhere.
Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
On my journey from relative cluelessness way back when to today where I consider myself somewhat more enlightened, I have learned that we are all on a road to self-discovery, personal growth, and human connection. But we can choose to disregard the growth that reveals itself and close our eyes to the possibilities, or we can embrace life with an adventurous spirit which may just lead us to personal fulfillment and profound bliss.
That’s what I choose. How about you? Do you approach life with a fearfulness and trepidation? Do you think about doing something different, but never really pull the trigger on it? Or do you feel the rush of excitement and adventure that awaits if only you grab hold of it? For many people, adventures sound scary, uncomfortable, unsettling, and downright yucky! Let’s understand why that is.
Human beings all want to feel safe and secure; we want to understand our world, create patterns that give us the sense of stability and certainty, and we want to know what to expect. In that way, we feel that life is predictable and stable, and it becomes a less scary place.
Stepping outside of our comfort zone does feel unfamiliar, and that can instill a sense of panic or deep seated concern for most people. We want to stick to what we know. Stepping outside that arena seems risky, stressful, and riddled with worry. For that reason, many people do not embrace adventure; instead, they shy away from it—or literally run in the opposite direction. Does that sound like you? Would you rather stay in the shadows of the comfort zone you have established, than venture out into the expansive unknown?
But here is the downside to this approach. Not only can this mindset instill some boredom or monotony to stay in the comfort zone without further exploration, but it narrows your world, limits your experiences, and squashes the excitement and exhilaration that adventure holds. Surrendering to a life that has happened out of circumstance rather than choice, if that life does not fill your soul and make your heart soar—that is a life wishing it had been lived well.
As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
While there are all sorts of adventures, they typically have one core element in common. Once experienced, they change us. They impact our way of thinking, alter our understanding of the world and/or ourselves, and transform us in profound ways.
Last night I jumped right into an adventure. Ok maybe not the climb Kilimanjaro kind of adventure…but for me an adventure, nonetheless. Jeff and I went to Lake Saguaro here in Arizona for a moonlight paddle. We had actually heard about it on Facebook, and thought we’d give it a try. A few days ago Jeff got me a really badass 11’-6” paddle board. So this was going to be my maiden voyage of sorts. And Jeff was going to be on his fishing kayak. We drove out there, and I started to get butterflies in my stomach. What if I couldn’t really balance on the board? What If I fell into the lake in non-graceful clumsy flop. I started to get nervous. In fact I even texted my daughter saying, “Uh oh…Kinda nervous.”
There were so many people, and it was a bit chaotic when we arrived. Trying to find parking, where to launch Jeff’s kayak, the best place to get my paddle board out into the water. Jeff went to the boat launch area with his kayak, and he had put me and my board at this small sand alcove. I felt ridiculous trying to clumsily get the board up. It’s big—hard to handle, and I am sure many had some giggles at my expense. Or at least internally I felt like they must have. I stumbled over the board, landed on my derrière…tried again, board flipped over on the sand. So I resorted to dragging it into the water. At first, I was looking around to see if Jeff could maybe help me. But he was knee deep wrangling with his kayak.
And that’s when I had a little internal chat with myself. I told myself—Karen, time to put your big girl panties on. Get a grip girl! You can do this! Trust yourself. Get focused and take the leap. So…I got on the board and decided to kneel rather than stand up right away. I paddled along toward the boat launch area where Jeff was. And then while he was putting all the gear and snacks onto his kayak, I took myself out for a real paddle. I planted my feet on the board, in a crouched position and I slowly, but steadily and strongly got up. I told myself, “You got this.” And I paddled around, figuring out the best form, the easiest way to maneuver, all that good stuff. And you know what? I felt AWESOME! It was so liberating, so empowering, and to my surprise, so fun!
Jeff joined me out there and we met up with this huge group of kayakers and paddlers. We putted around for hours, had snacks, drinks, and just enjoyed the natural beauty. It was really breathtaking. Especially when it was dusk, and people put their lights on their paddle boards and kayaks. It was kind of magical. There were about 100 people just being out there in the moment. It was such a tranquil experience. I soaked it all in. And then I thought to myself—had I not toughened up and embraced the discomfort, the fear, the worry—I would have missed it all! Walking past my fear and self-doubt, I was able to walk or paddle right into something magical and memorable. I would have been so disappointed to miss out on this.
I think that Mark Twain understood this well when he said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Yes, I paddled away from the safety of the shore. And I am so glad that I did.
Now, I’m already making plans to do it again!
So much adventure lies around us, and if not, traveling allows us even more. That just might be why I absolutely love to travel. I am all too familiar with wanderlust.
Travel takes you to unknown places. Travel opens up doors and experiences; it reveals new worlds, new insights, and new discoveries. You not only intimately learn about other cultures, other lifestyles, and discover more of our planet, but in the process you find and discover yourself too. But life too is full of other adventures right here at home. Choosing to step away from the mundane and the monotony in search of challenging endeavors is another form of adventure. Seeking out the career you deeply desire—that is an adventure. Taking a leap of faith to move to a new town or change your lifestyle is an adventure. And embracing the person you love and choosing to build a life together without truly knowing the outcome—that too is an adventure.
These “adventures” demand more from us. They push us to better ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to hone our skills. Adventure looks us straight in the eyes and challenges us to rise to the occasion, to push past fear and discomfort in the search of more LIFE. And that right there is the priceless value of adventure. It is our path to more life, more depth, more meaning, and more experiences. It invites us to set higher goals, reach further, desire more, and find the strength and conviction to achieve more. With that our lives are more fulfilling and we commit to living more fully.
So girlbosses out there, take an adventure to discover the world. And in the process, the self-discovery you find on your journey will be your biggest reward.
Until next week Bossgals, explore, discover, and leap into your next adventure with gusto. Push away the fear, and embrace the crazy journey. Stay inspired, seek adventure, and keep on crushin’ it.