Greetings from Costa Rica! I am writing from a hammock here in the middle of the rainforest overlooking the Caribbean a mile away. It has been an incredible week of adventure with my group of 25. We have zip lined through the jungle, hiked to a waterfall and through a national park, participated activities at our Girls for Success center, had dinner with local families of the girls, swam at two beautiful beaches, river rafted, practiced yoga twice a day, and more!
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Helen Keller who said, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” I truly have taken that to heart since I was forty years old and headed out for my first real major adventure, trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu in Peru. Since then, I have tried to make that one of my life mantras. This trip has been the epitome of adventure.
My 7 year old granddaughter came to visit last summer and as we headed out for a hike in the nearby woods, we ended up in the creek wading and swimming. I asked her what she thought adventure was. She said, “This is adventure.”
You are never too young or too old to go after new adventures. I recently asked my good friend, Joanne, when she picked up hiking. Let me qualify that by saying that my friend is currently 94, does yoga approximately twice a week and hikes 3-4 days a week. Until a few years ago, Joanne was hiking about 1000 miles a year. Joanne’s answer to my question should inspire all of you! She started hiking at the age of 70 years young. It is truly never too late to get out in nature and pick up a new interest.
We are ALL in need of adventure. In the fast paced society we live in, the joy of living is passing us by. My youngest daughter and I hike together often and always stand in awe for a few moments along the trails in the heart of the trees for a solitary moment. It baffles us that this is not second nature for everyone to want to be out in nature.
Jeff Salz wrote a book, The Way of Adventure, and states, “A spirit of adventure is the joyful determination to go out and rediscover life for ourselves, finding peak experiences in situations and environments that may have previously seemed mundane. The traditional adventure has a basic template: modern people traveling by ancient methods over great distances to places that they have no practical reason to go.”
The above paragraph brings me joy. But it is another quote by Salz that said it all for me. “If your physical adventure is not following the internal map of a spiritual adventure, you might as well not go anywhere.”
My greatest adventures have definitely been tied to an inner, spiritual journey. Trips to India have fed my soul in so many ways. Hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania one year over Thanksgiving away from my family was definitely more than a physical challenge. Trekking the Inca Trail in Peru was a spiritual experience. And, now as I prepare to hike 140+ miles on the Camino de Santiago in Spain next spring, I am reminded of how Apostle James followed his way there from Israel. The trail is often referred to as “The Way.”
Adventure is not always easy. It gets a person outside of their comfort zone, and that can be intimidating. However, for real personal growth, that is what it takes. We can live our lives without the excitement of an anticipated adventure. But let me tell you, once you have the tiniest inkling toward a new adventure, maybe, just maybe you will think, “I could do this very exciting thing,” and you won’t go back.
Let me share what Jean Deeds, friend and author of There are Mountains to Climb said so eloquently about her 2155 mile Appalachian Trail hiking journey, “I remembered how important it is to try new things. To stretch yourself beyond what you thought were your limits. To ‘get outside the box.’ To meet new people. To see new places. To do things you’re afraid of doing. To expand your thinking and your horizons.”
To find your thirst for adventure, you need to pursue two things. These two things, to me, are keys to success for life in general. First, discover what you are or could be passionate about. Then, second, persevere to make it happen! If it’s hiking, find the nearest trails near you. If you want to pursue a sailing license, search for classes.
“You can’t fake passion. It is the fuel that drives any dream and makes you happy to be alive.”–Mac Anderson
My wish for you is to always have that “carrot” of an adventure planned in your near future. Whether it is an adventure trip locally or internationally or a list of state/national parks that you plan to pursue, go for it! Like Nike says….Just Do It!!