From the Coast of Virginia to the Cornfields of Iowa: Our Hearts Are Made For Adventure

2,200 miles. Seven states. Three hikes. Two state high points. One kayak exploration. The Field of Dreams. Incredible local dives. Renewed creative energy. And the deepening of friendships. Adventure.

From the Coast of Virginia to the Cornfields of Iowa

The spurts of adventure we occasionally experience provide a small glimpse into a more satisfied life, the one in which we were created for and so desperately desire. In fact, adventure is written into every man’s heart, even though most would not recognize it in today’s modern world of “responsibility.” The word “adventure” implies an exploration into the unexpected, and that was certainly the case on my recent trek from Virginia to Iowa.

As I cruised further and further away from my familiar surroundings, I had a bit of unease wash over me. I wasn’t playing it safe, and my mind was sure to remind me of it 10,000 times in case I had forgotten the first 9,999.  I’ve learned to discern the voice that attempts to hold me back from advancing up higher peaks, both figuratively and literally.

In addition, my final destination wasn’t exactly on the list of top American vacation spots – laying on the beach or waiting in endless lines at Disney World. My unique trek took me to the heartland of America, with a final destination amongst the cornfields of Iowa.

Adventure Incorporates Both Planning and Flexibility

I am a planner by nature, but I have adopted and developed a much more go-with-the-flow mentality over the years. There’s something thrilling about the unexpected trail that I have yet to explore. Still, I prefer to have a loose plan in place when taking off 1,100 miles away from home. Loose turned into complete overhaul right up until departure day.

My original plan was to hit the state high points of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania on day one. The weather had a different idea, sending heavy downpours with strong wind gusts, and thunder and lightning effects throughout those areas. Additionally, I intended to stay with a long-time friend in Ohio, Indiana High Pointbut those plans floated down the Mississippi River. Often times, the best-laid plans fail to materialize, and that is where we have to be willing to adjust. I chalk it up to being all part of the adventure.

Nonetheless, I was able to knock out both the Ohio and Indiana high points along the journey out to Iowa. While neither offers much in terms of great views or difficult climbs, my high point challenge is in-part about exploring off-the-beaten-path America that I would never experience otherwise.

Whenever we intentionally pursue adventure, we experience refreshment of the mind and nourishment to the soul, but adventure isn’t the full equation. We must wisely choose those whom we take along on the grand adventure.

Adventure Pursued in the Company of Friends

I appreciate so much the community here at Trail Reflections, and I was fortunate enough to connect with four people who are intentionally pursuing life: Dan Holterhaus, Jon White, and Steve and Jody Berkey.

All four have become good friends, and the most important aspect of my recent adventure was listening to and learning from each one of them. Dan has been one of my accountability partners for well over a year, and after spending several days with him last week, I recognize that he regularly pushes me beyond my own confidence level and makes me better in the process. We must have someone to go into battle with us, who will have our backs and motivate us when the battles rage.

Field of DreamsWhat trip to the Hawkeye state would be complete without a visit to The Field of Dreams movie site. Of course Dan and I ran around the bases like a couple of little leaguers. Having lived 45 minutes from Iowa’s most famous baseball field, Dan had never had an opportunity to see the plush green field nestled in the midst of cornfields. Yet, it reminded me that adventure is best shared in the company of trusted friends. After all, “If you build it, they will come.” And it’s often in the midst of adventure, we embrace the opportunities to share the depths of our desires with those in our trusted circles and cultivate depth in our relationships.

The Effect of Burying Desire

Men, your desire for adventure does not suddenly come to a screeching halt when you say, “I do.” It does not end when you “grow up” and “become responsible.” Sure, you can bury the desire for years, but you can only suppress it for so long. However, you lose the right to live the adventure when you fail to be the provider and caretaker of your family.

Ladies, your man needs adventure in his life. It is how we are designed by God. If you are preventing the man in your life from living out the adventure God has placed on his heart, he will not fully become the man/husband/father God has called him to be. He will be a shadow of his full potential – bored out of his mind.

The desire for adventure remains written on our hearts just as the sun rises in the east. It’s up to us to embrace its mystery and invest in those who are taking the same adventurous, fulfilling trail.

My adventure took me all the way to the Midwest. And embracing the unknown led to personal and relational growth and memories to last a lifetime.

What adventures have you taken lately? How have you grown from them?