When was the last time you had an experience so profound and soul stirring that it changed you for the better, forever? At it’s best that is what adventures can be. It’s not something that you can plan or construct. Most often they are wholly new experiences. Things you’ve never done before in places you’ve never been, with a magnificent touch of the unexpected. Sometimes with people you’ve never met before. Sometimes experiences happen that are more miserable than fun. But you look back on those miserable experiences with the people you shared them with and laugh at how miserable it was. Ultimately you realize, after the fact, that it was fun and it made you a better, stronger person. Those memories inspire a chuckle of good humor. Steve Rinella talks about the type of fun that is not fun while you’re doing it, but is fun looking back on it. He says that’s the best kind of fun. I tend to agree.
But adventures don’t all have to be miserable or amazing. Each adventure will offer you something new and different. Each adventure builds your experience, and each one has it’s challenges and rewards. Then you get to a point where each adventure becomes it’s own ‘badge’. Just the mention of the location or the adventure name carries a weight with it. Think Alaska, or the AT/CDT/PCT (Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail), or the Boundary Waters, to name just a few that are well known.
You can’t get to the point of Adventure Badges until you’ve been on some small adventures first. Just like each experience builds who we are and each work experience builds our resume. At a certain point you stop putting your high school job on your resume, but it is still a building block towards your professional career. Similarly, your very first weekend camping trip or hunting trip or canoe trip falls from your Adventure Resume once you start really going on ‘the Big Ones’. But those first trips, however small, lay the foundation for ‘the Big Ones’; one is a necessary step towards the next.
The sooner you get started on those first, middle, or big trips, based on your current experience level, the sooner you can start accumulating those soul stirring experiences; that profound, humbling sense of awe and wonderment that etches a mark on your being that will last with you into the next life. That’s what adventure and exploration are really about: connection and communication with our deepest sense of self and the natural world. Once you have one, it’s nearly impossible to ever let it go.
In a way it’s like feasting at the table of the Gods. You have to work up to it; you have to earn your place. And there’s no better time to start than right now.
If you’re interested in building your adventure resume, send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be invited to the next building block of adventures.