When was the last adventure you experienced? What makes you hesitate to go on another one?
For me, I went backpacking with my husband.
Quick look into that…
The stove makes a hissing sound and then flares to life with a slight whoosh. Sitting with my down booties, my thermals and my down jacket tucked snugly around me, I anticipate the alfredo that’s for dinner as I watch for the water to boil.
This is no regular stove, it’s a backpacking stove small enough to fit into my tiny palm and dinner is a dehydrated package of sauce and noodles but here in the backcountry, the food smells wonderful and, after hiking over eight miles to reach the pristine Conundrum Hot Springs, I’m reminded that all food tastes better in the backcountry.
My husband returns with the bottle of wine he’s chilled in the nearby river and we sit down to enjoy our anniversary dinner.
I’m out of my home, out of my shell, and loving it, but to get here wasn’t easy. The first night’s hike finished with me puking from dehydration and exhaustion. My own fault, I should have known better, but I was too stubborn to admit I was done and didn’t plan well enough to drink water before hand.
But I learned, I have endurance as long as I don’t ignore my body’s needs and warnings. And I was reminded, I love the backcountry and the escape from a world inundated with technology. The stars in their velvet background, unhindered by man made light, are one of the most beautiful sights in the world.
Now the trick is remembering the enjoyment the next time my husband mentions a trip I know will stretch and challenge me.
Too often we cling to the idea that we enjoy staying home. Not that we can’t learn new things at home, but we tend to gravitate toward the same activities over and over in such a familiar, easy setting.
So ask yourself when presented with a new opportunity:
1. Is this an experience I’ve wanted to try?
Some experiences just don’t appeal to us. That’s fine. Sky diving, personally, really doesn’t appeal to me. But if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do but hesitate because you’re scared, unsure, don’t know how, or whatever reason, try it anyway. Afterward, if you hated the experience, then you know not to do it again and you know why, but if you enjoyed it, you’ve just added something fun to your repertoire. Either way, you learned something.
2. In the past, if I didn’t enjoy such an experience, did I still grow as a person?
I ask this question in particular because often new things are hard to learn and, initially, the experience is painful or frustrating. But if I stick with it, I find growth that I later appreciate.
3. Is this an opportunity to invest in a relationship?
This one’s important. No matter what business you’re in, the relationships are what make it beautiful.
A solo trip into the backcountry I’d argue allows development in yourself because it opens you to listening. Whether you believe in God, Buddha, or are an atheist, you still develop from the introspection. This is still relationship between yourself and your creator or just plain relationship with yourself. There is such a thing. Listen to yourself think, you’d be surprised at the internal dialogue.
On the other side of this coin, if an opportunity opens the chance to spend time with others, take the chance to build those relationships. I’ve had jobs I don’t particularly like, but if the people are awesome, I love going to work. Many times, it’s the people that make life, adventure, and growth worth every minute of the experience.
When was the last time you did something that pulled you out of your comfort zone and made you grow?