If only adventure was like some sort of sickness, and the cure could be found with some sort of cleanse, to flush the need for such things out of the body.
Since I began journeying into the wilder places of the world, adventure has only become more intriguing, more provocative. The contrast between a life that society claims as normal (live to work) and the life I try to lead (work to live) has only grown more obvious. The need to venture into new experiences has become an integral part of who I am.
I have listened to several people telling me they’d like to go on an adventure, hoping to “get it out of their system”. I can’t help but crack a smile. If only it worked like that… I’d be in a far different place than I am now, somewhere I’d probably rather not be. I probably wouldn’t have moved to Alaska. I probably wouldn’t have hiked the Appalachian Trail. I certainly wouldn’t have lead others to experience places I had never seen myself. I most definitely would not have hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. If only I had gotten it out of my system…what a scary thought.
I am delighted adventure doesn’t work that way. We try to evict and constrict adventure, like so many other things in life. No, the adventures and new experiences of life are what mold and form us into the people we are. I know I’d be a far worse person without mine, and I am so glad that they are not out of my system.
If only we could get adventure into everyone’s system.
It was time to go somewhere new. We craved inspiration. There is no greater feeling than being so alive and full of fire. We were born to roam.
The only plan we had was to not have a plan. To just go, and take whatever road or trail looked like it led to something beautiful. To discover the natural surroundings that made us feel alive. These were the moments that inspired us to take this leap in to the wild back country of beautiful Wyoming. The valleys and lakes were just as amazing as the mountain tops. It was a chance to think about life. What we are doing right, what we are doing wrong.
We couldn’t believe we were immersed in a place we only read about and seen in pictures. It wasn’t a dream anymore. It was real.
Death. A bone jarring occurrence that can cause us to take stock in our lives, shake things up, and live for that day. Several of these came in close succession including some people our own age. The realization that you are starting to be susceptible to older age diseases was just another reason pushing us out the door while still physically fit enough to truly explore the landscapes of the world. To escape the beaten path. To climb, hike, run, and camp. Using the diversity of the lands to teach us about the diversity, but also the sameness of people around the world. Climbing sand dunes in the Namib desert, mountaineering and trekking across the Great Himalaya Trail through Nepal, trekking the coastline of Turkey or across the top of the island of Corsica, running around Mont Blanc through three countries, and camping amongst the Lesotho tribesman across the Drackensberg escarpment. These places taught us that despite the vastly different cultures of these places, some things were the same. That a smile, a laugh, and a thumbs up are cross cultural. That everyone hopes for a better life for their children. That people are overwhelmingly good. Not all, but most. Seeing sights and landmarks of the world, doing scattered veterinary relief work along the way, and being outdoors as much as possible. From death comes an incredible life.
Kathleen Egan and husband John Fiddler are true grass-roots adventurers who have recently returned home after 2.5 years abroad.