I have had more than my share of exciting times and I'm grateful for every one of them.
There was the time the bear came into camp at 11:00 p.m. and we listened to him consume two weeks worth of food for two people and a dog in only six hours. At 5:00 a.m., when it became obvious he had run out of goodies, we paddled our canoe out on to a very dark lake. He was still there when we went back at 7:00 to try to recover some of our gear. Probably because he'd also managed to polish off a flask of Kahula. And the time I was paddling solo on a large Canadian lake. The wind came up so strongly it was impossible for me to get to shore. I just held my own for several hours. After dark I was briefly grateful to land on an island I thought would be my refuge only to find it had been recently consumed by fire and there was no place to even sit down, let alone set camp. I've spent countless hours walking my canoe through low water rapids, carefully calculating each step, taking minutes to move 10 feet forward. And I can still barely think about the time I flooded my Jeep in a beaver pond.
People are always saying to me “I wish I was that adventurous” when they listen to my stories. But I’d like to make a distinction. Don't go to the dictionary, this is my distinction and I'm being a bit contrary again.
To me, adventure requires only awe, inspiration and appreciation. Seeing a black bear and her cubs walk a cliff on the opposite side of a lake from where I'm camped is adventure. Having a bear in camp is an adrenaline-induced learning situation. Quietly watching a moose as he steps into a lake on an early foggy morning is adventure. Having that same moose block my passage while paddling a narrow creek is an adrenaline-induced learning situation.
I’ll never stop going into the wilds and exposing myself to the risks that sometimes come. I have to admit that I'm a recovering adrenaline junkie and occasionally need a fix. But in my day-to-day life, adventure is merely an attitude to take action in order to inspire awe, appreciation and inspiration. It's a choice to not look at something the same old way but to approach it with curiosity. Adventure helps me write this newsletter, adrenaline just gives me good campfire stories.
The Top Ten Ways to Add a Little Adventure
1. Adventure Can Be Simple
Too often we think of adventure as this big thing we have to plan and put together. Arrangements need to be made, schedules coordinated, time secured, etc. Now that can take the adventure right out of adventure! Adventure can be as simple as just stepping out your door with no plan in mind.
2. Hang Out With An Adventurer
Do you know someone who has an adventurous nature? Spend some time with them. Adventurers love to lead others into uncharted territory.
3. Adventure Is An Attitude
Get that and you will find adventure in everything you do.
4. Go To The Wilds
True, adventure can be found at work, home and even in a good book. But in the wilderness, your senses become more acute. You'll smell, see, hear and feel more. A sun-soaked rock can feel as good as a down-covered bed; a light breeze or a cool lake as good as a full body massage; a campfire more wonderful than turning up the furnace; a field of flowers or just plain old earth more scent-filled than the best perfume. The best place to start with adventure is to let you body sense where all adventure comes from, the wilds.
5. Move Your Body
You'll see this in most of my top ten lists. Your body knows more than your mind ever will. Hone it.
6. Be A Child
When you were five, adventure came naturally. What did you love doing at that age? Do it. Yes, this may mean you'll have to get in the sandbox, on a swing, hang from the monkey bars or lead the cat around by a toy at the end of a string. (Hint: Kittens and puppies can teach you a lot about adventure)
7. Take The Dog For A Walk
Let him or her lead. See The Top Ten Reasons To Take Your Dog For a Walk
8. When The Directions Say Turn Right, Turn Left
9. Make Choices In Seconds
Not, hours or days. If you can't decide in a few seconds, then choose not to choose. Let it go as though you never had the choice.
10. Find a Creek and Follow It
Upstream, downstream, it doesn't matter
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes.” ~Jawaharial Nehru
“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” ~Juan Ramon Jimenez
“You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and we don't know where the hell she is.” ~Ellen DeGeneres
“When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before.” ~Mae West
“We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” ~Emily Dickenson