On my blog, I write about finding intention and adventure in our everyday life. This theme has its roots in my deep desire for an adventurous life, to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am not a skydiver and I don’t travel the world, but I want my life to be rich and nourishing. I want to feel alive.
Each of us has a unique and valuable story to tell, and I believe that no matter what we spend our days doing, whether it’s hiking up mountains or going to the grocery store, we can live an adventurous life. Our stories matter.
I have this photograph sitting on my desk. It’s of a woman and her child standing next to a simple water well in Marsabit, Kenya. I’ve never been to Africa, and I don’t know how to build wells, but I helped bring water to that woman and her family – just by making a choice to ride my bike.
Here’s how it started: I was sitting in my dorm room. It was senior year, I was avoiding studying, and my college graduation was approaching. I was feeling antsy. I didn’t have a job lined up, and I sensed that I needed one last hurrah! before I signed up for the yawn-filled desk job I needed in order to pay my student loan bills. I remembered that an acquaintance of mine had rode his bicycle across the country two summers prior to raise money for a clean water project in Africa, and I wondered if I could do the same. I was not an avid cyclist. I had never been on my bike for more than 30 minutes. But deep down in my heart, I wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than myself.
Five months later, I was in San Diego, surrounded by 15 cyclists who would be trekking up the Pacific Coast Highway with me. Our destination: Seattle. Our goal: to raise funds and awareness for clean water projects and health initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. Our fuel: a passion for adventure.
I’ve never done anything so hard in my life. I really didn’t know what I was getting into, to be honest. One moment I was in my dorm room, wishing for an adventure, and the next, I was sweating and pedaling up San Marcos Pass in Southern California, my lungs heaving for breath. And while the physical pain was tough, the personal refinement was even tougher. The lessons I learned about myself, about community, about hard work, about leadership – they’re burned deep into my soul. They’re never going away. Just like the scar from the road rash D got when he wiped out at the bottom of a hill in Big Sur. Or the love between Erin and Dan, who met on the trip, fell in love on the road and got married a year later. What I learned, and the people I met, are a part of my story forever.
Adventure isn’t just about zip lines in the jungle in central America or backpacking the Appalachian Trail. It is about making intentional choices every single day to live life with love and courage. To take on the daily challenges of our lives with vigor, to reflect upon them, to learn from them. Just as the landscapes of the world are different, so are the landscapes of our souls. An adventurous life is uniquely yours, and is always at your finger tips, always one step away.
What adventures are you living today? I want to hear your stories! Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me at my blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. I can’t wait to hear from you!