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?

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  • http://jwfinancialcoaching.wordpress.com/ Jon White

    Chris, thanks for letting me be a part of your adventure! It was great getting to meet you in person and share some fellowship, as well as a good burger and milkshake! Glad to hear you had a great adventure, like you said, often life can happen and we can go without adventure in our life, however the need will always be there.

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      Absolutely Jon. Thanks for meeting up and letting me in the know about Culver’s. I stopped at one in Illinois on the way home to grab another Concrete! It was great to connect in person finally!

  • Quest For Passion

    Chris, what an awesome post:) Adventures, especially those shared with friends are like batteries – charging us with a new level of energy:)
    I find that it’s one of those things where the more you do the more you want to do it- it’s addictive.
    In my personal opinion, I don’t think there is a difference between men and women in their need for adventure, and I find that the happiest couples are those that share their adventures.
    My latest adventure was participating in ColorMeRad 5K run with 7 of my friends- an absolutely crazy experience where you get paint thrown at you while you are running. I don’t remember the last time i felt so completely childish, and absolutely thrilled- a highlight of 2013 for sure.

    Thanks for a great post, Chris!-)

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      Thanks so much Alena! We definitely need recharging throughout the year. I agree – it’s addictive so it become a part of who you are as you incorporate adventure more and more into your life.

      I should probably clarify that women also have adventure written on their hearts. Coming at it from a male perspective, I see so many men who discard their desires for adventure when they get married and have kids. If nothing else, men and women should be even more intentional about having adventures with their families and friends.

      Sounds like you had an incredible time with the 5K. Keep living the adventure!

      • Quest For Passion

        So true…I think when people say “i do” or become parents, they feel guilty spending time having fun because now they are “responsible” adults-) I know so many mothers that truly feel guilty to have fun, or spend time with their friends. The thing is, the best way to teach kids to live life to the fullest, or deepen connections is through example of having experiences like these;)

        • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

          I agree. It’s hard to give your best for your kids or spouse when you don’t have a chance to recharge. While it may take a little bit of planning as you gain more responsibilities, adventure can be had. And it is a great example to set for the kids since it’s not exactly responsible to plant them in front of the TV for hours on end. :)

  • http://www.fatherofone.com/ Michael Wright

    Chris, the past 6 months have been so full of challenges at work that haven’t been so soul-filling. I still imagine that somewhere in there I have a God-given role to be salt and light. It doesn’t feel like an adventure per se, but I am growing by being in uncomfortable situations regularly. But a man needs adventure and activity for sure – so is that why I just picked up a Kayak from Craigslist? Most definitely, my heart longs to be outside, away from the screens that draw me in everyday, to a place where it is just nature. An hour of paddling yesterday was more than refreshing for me. I think it’s a little taste of bigger things God has in store for us.

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      Michael, it’s great to hear from you again! I sensed that you had probably been overwhelmed a bit with work and life. Sometimes there are no easy answers and life just seems overwhelming. Praying for you.

      You purchased a kayak? Awesome! We own a 2-seat ocean kayak as well. It is absolutely refreshing to navigate the calm waters and experience the peace of God. Enjoy your new adventures on the water, and I look forward to the day we can kayak together.

  • http://www.elevatedgolf.com/ Daniel Holterhaus

    What a great time charging around the bases at the Field of Dreams! Haha, thanks for not sharing those pictures…

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      Great time indeed! You actually looked like a real player. I was out there in my flip flops, so of course I’m not going to share those. :)

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