I’ve been rolling this topic around in my head for a long time, but because I couldn’t come up with a conclusion, I continued to hesitate on writing the post. However, I read Heidi’s blog yesterday regarding the five avalanche deaths at Loveland Pass this past weekend and it sent my brain into overdrive.
Why do I love adventure?
How much do I love adventure?
When will I find my limits? Will I ever find them?
When will I draw the line and determine that enough is enough?
I can’t say that I have always been drawn to outdoor extremes. In fact, when I was younger, it was quite the opposite. My sister was more of the daredevil who played in the mud while I was the ballet dancer wearing tutus. Somehow, college happened and my train derailed when it discovered the great outdoors. Ever since, I feel like I have been constantly chasing my limits.
It started after college with the bike trip. I had never ridden a road bike and didn’t even own one, but I still wanted to cycle across the country….so I did. It took 3,893 miles before I realized that I was completely comfortable with that adventure: it was no longer extreme or daring. If anything, it became my home and worked its way into my comfort zone. So, I kept searching, and ended up in South America.
We climbed unknown peaks in Peru and slept in the Amazon and searched for crocodiles by the light of the moon in Ecuador. We backpacked through Patagonia and explored underwater shipwrecks in Colombia and lived in the middle of the campo in Paraguay and with tribal villagers in a deep canyon in the south of Peru. Sure, it was completely foreign and new at first, but just like before, it eventually became the norm. I realized then that my limits for adventure were unknown. Just when I thought I’d found my new extreme, I’d realize that I had just gotten started.
This pattern has continued, and contrary to my younger self’s original thoughts, it isn’t fading away the older I get. I’m 31 years old now and the urge to explore has yet to cease. I continue to travel the world and explore the backcountry, wondering if I will ever find my maximum. Will it happen once I have children? Once I’m married and “settled” down? Honestly, I doubt it. Will loves to explore just as much as myself and we already had a joking conversation about how much weight an 8-year-old child could carry in his own backpack (the consensus was none!)
However, I’m not so naive to think that all of my wanderings and adventure lust can’t possibly end badly. I’m very aware of the fact that I could get into serious trouble on any one of my world travels or backcountry shenanigans. I’ve bribed customs guards in foreign countries and even had a knife pulled on me on an overnight train in Paris (And yes, I almost peed my pants!) A drunk man at a bar in Colombia once took offense at my nationality and got all up on me, screaming and shoving me against the wall. My face was covered in his saliva before the other men in the area pulled him off of me and kicked him out of the bar. I’ve never been caught in an avalanche like the five unfortunate boarders in Loveland, but I’ve witnessed a few and triggered even more. I’ve even been inside a snow cave when it collapsed and filled my mouth with snow. Luckily, I wasn’t under for a minute before my firefighter friend pulled me out, but it was enough to remind me of my mortality. Y’all, it sucks to get your breathing taken away from you!
My point is this: adventure is part of who I am and I believe that it is in my soul. Honestly, I don’t fear much in this world, and I think that it helps me in this regard. It helps me live the life of my dreams. However, when do you draw the line that tells you when your inner explorer needs to step back and let realism take the lead?
Do you have a lot of fears in your life?