How to Live Each Day as an Adventure

kids exploring

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

At some point in between building magnificent cities with Legos and playing a little hide-and-go-seek with the neighborhood kids, a well-meaning adult or more likely dozens of grown-ups posed the aforementioned question to us.

If we had not felt the subtle and not-so-subtle push to move past childish things, maybe we should have responded by asking a similar question:

“What made you come alive when you were just a kid?”

Instead, most of us have been in such a rush to find the end game of what we’re supposed to do when we “grow up” that we have forgotten our first loves.

You know, catching fireflies in the backyard and making them our glass-jar pets for two days until they died from grass poisoning and a lack of oxygen. Playing sandlot baseball, where I usually wanted to be both the umpire and the catcher because both got to wear an awesome mask for a whole nine innings. Exploring the narrow path in the woods, hoping it would lead to buried treasure or at least some really cool, yet-to-be discovered hideaway where you could claim to be the first English settler.

Why do we shove aside what we once loved (and probably still love) to do because we think we will find happiness in ONE career? Why not live each day as an adventure?

Take a moment and ask yourself, “What made me come alive as a child? What things did I do when time just seemed to disappear?”

Adventure doesn’t have to take a back seat to “being responsible.” In fact, it’s irresponsible to not spend time doing what you love.

Consider implementing some of the following ideas to add adventure to your daily life and rekindle those past loves:

– If you are an outdoorsman, regularly seek out new trails and parks. Find a new spot to watch the sunset.

– Make it your quest to regularly discover an out-of-the-way restaurant, coffee shop, or ice cream shop (no chains allowed).

– Drive down a new road and get lost on purpose.

– Go geocaching and look for the hidden treasure.

– Take a day trip to a nearby local town or city without a preconceived agenda.

– Take a class doing something you loved as a child – music, art, photography, etc.

– Go on a photo safari in a city or in nature.

It is a conscious choice to live each day as an adventure, and when you make the choice, adventure can be found everywhere you go.

What ways do you make each day your own adventure?

Photo Courtesy: bionicteaching

 

Turn Off the TV and Live

The average American watches nearly five hours of TV per day.

That’s 35 hours per week.

A little over six days per month.

A full 75 days per year.

Consuming.Day One Hundred Forty-Two:  This is not Me

Not tasting.

Not smelling.

Not feeling.

Not experiencing.

Not exploring.

Not sharing.

Not creating.

Not growing.

Not interacting.

Not blessing.

Not loving.

Not living.

Turn off the TV.

Live.

Photo Courtesy: DJOtaku

Hiking Challenge Update – The Unexpected Journey

Molly's Knob

It has been several months since I’ve written an update on my hiking challenge. My goal is pretty straightforward – hike a major trail in each state (typically the high point) over the next five years. There hasn’t been much progress to report because of the weather and schedule availability. Since January, I’ve been itching to get back at it. Unfortunately, winter has become that uninvited guest who overstayed his welcome two months ago.

Saturday was supposed to be the spring relaunch in pursuit of this lofty and somewhat insane goal. The plan involved driving over from my home in Virgina Beach to the western part of the state to tackle the 5,729 foot Mount Rogers. In fact, my mom grew up in the shadow of Virginia’s high point, and she still owns farmland in the area. It makes for a perfect weekend mountain retreat and launching pad for a hike to Mt. Rogers.

The weather forecast called for sunny skies and temperatures hovering in the low 60’s. Factoring in the elevation change, I figured we were in for a pleasant hike in the 50’s. By mid-morning, my Dad and I headed up twisting and turning Whitetop Road toward Grayson Highlands State Park. As we continued our ascent, I glanced over at the temperature gauge on Dad’s SUV. 45…42…40…38. White fog slowly blanketed the landscape and eventually overtook it completely. What was once an overcast day was gone, as we were unable to see the road ten feet ahead.

“Hopefully this will clear out,” as I allowed my optimism to overtake my rationale. I didn’t want to get this close, only to turn around empty-handed. I thought, “We can handle this.”

Upon arrival at the Grayson Highlands Park Office, the “Closed for the season” sign provided a foreboding signal that we had attempted our hike a bit too early this spring. Never one to give up, we had to give it a shot. At least I still had gloves in my backpack. Hopping out of the car, I knew we were unprepared for the near 30-degree wind chill and the constant whipping wind that sent chills down my spine and sprayed a slight mist into my frozen face, like we were vegetables on display in the produce section. Surely I would warm up as I walked uphill, even if I was only wearing a t-shirt and thin fleece. (Note to self: always pack a heavy coat and something to keep my head warm in upper elevations, no matter the season or weather forecast.)

As we trekked up the Rhododendron Trail, the wind at our backs, I didn’t want to turn back, but I also didn’t want to hike all the way the Virginia’s pinnacle in misery. For me, hiking is about the journey, not just the destination. And this journey had been a sheer 1/2 mile of misery, as we stared at another 3.4 wind-burnt miles to the top (plus 3.9 back). Upon reaching the intersection with the Appalachian Trail, we made the decision to live to fight another day and turn around.

Maybe some people would have pressed on, but that’s not the point of my hiking challenge. It’s more about the story…the journey…than getting frostbite.

Yet, I didn’t want the trip to be in vain, and so we developed plan B. Coming down about 1,500 feet in elevation made all the difference in the world. The fog gave way to a mix of sun and clouds, and the temperature rose into the mid 50’s.

After two visitor center stops, we headed over to Hungry Mother State Park and settled on climbing Molly’s Knob. It wasn’t an overly strenuous hike until the final 0.4 miles. As we reached the summit, it’s like the clouds lifted and the heavens opened. Two benches were perfectly positioned in front of the vast expanse of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. It was the clearest of clear views, stretching for miles and miles.

I even came across a Geocache box, filled with random objects, such as an empty water bottle, rubber frogs, and a plaid shirt. I took the notebook out and scribbled a quick message: “Tried to hike Mount Rogers today, but the wind was howling and the wind chill was near 30 degrees. This spectacular view made up for it.”

No matter what journey we take or what goals we set, there will always be times when things don’t go as planned. I’ve planned a few hikes this summer, and I know that not all of them will go according to my plan. But the key is to take the unexpected journey. Sometimes, it will lead you to spectacular and unexpected places, just like my trip to Molly’s Knob. Mount Rogers is still waiting for me, and I will return.