Adventure is wherever you find it, on whatever budget you are willing to spend. Adventure is always a choice. I love adventures … crave them, actually. They make me feel alive and fuel my dreams. They give me determination and teach me I am strong – I am strong enough to choose to be fully alive with every day I wake up to.
This time last year I was in Canada traveling around, speaking in places and meeting with friends and family who cheer me on in my work here. In previous years I would dread the thought of staying in a different bed every couple of nights, driving long hours and participating in activities that were so far from what I do best (i.e. public speaking). As much as I love the people I visit on these “tours” I usually feel so completely exhausted and drained by the end of them. Last year I decided to do things differently. I planned on approaching the journey the same way I would here: an adventure, during which I would look for every opportunity to really see and then give. The difference was astounding! I found places in my home country that I had never heard of before. I participated in people’s lives with depth. As I drove from one place to the next I encountered generous people who have come to love my adventures as much as I have. In one home I arrived to delicious muffins that had been baked just for me … all because I bake muffins and share the joy with others when I do. When I got to my home town I was greeted with several invitations to an adventure with other friends! People experimented with meals just for me. They took me to cafes and constructed beautiful day outings just to experience the wonder of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Turning the ordinary into the extraordinary adventure is not as complicated as it looks. If you’ve been on an adventure with me, you already know this. All you really need is:
To notice – The cafe you have always walked past. The path through the park. The shape of a leaf. The feel of the breeze. The emotion of the environment. The little brown sign pointing off the road to an historic site you have never heard of before. Not that I really want to, but I could probably sit in my living room every day for a month and notice something new without even moving. It has to do with forgetting the familiarity of the mundane. It has to do with seeing the different colours of the sunset from one day to the next, watching the shadows dance, wondering about the curves and creases of fonts over that shop across the road, savouring each flavour and texture of peanut butter and jam on toast.
To stop – Noticing is only enough to make a day interesting if you don’t stop. It doesn’t have to be long, just a moment at the very least. Sometimes it is to stop the direction you are going to follow the rabbit trail. To stop is to let go of the fear of trying something new, being somewhere new, of losing control.
To feel – Only when fear is gone can you really begin to feel – from the ground beneath your feet to the sun or rain on your face; from the lazy meanderings of small town life to the tension filled street of a driven city. Let it all soak in – what the senses pick up and what is revealed without any evidence at all but leaves impressions in the mind. To feel is to acknowledge and allow the moment to interact with your own thoughts and emotions. These things will change you but they won’t consume you.
To memorise – Replaying the moments over and over again seals them in our memory as enticements to really live. Remembering the moment is more than a picture that paints 1000 words. Remembering the moment is giving validity to your existence and experience. I have begun to own the experiences I have and take them to heart as gifts that I have been given to treasure. From them I feel the heartbeat of something so much more that whispers purpose and love on my heart. I no longer have to grasp and claw for the experiences I see others having, but rather feel generous in genuinely wanting others to know the same.
Believe it or not, my adventures are not costly apart from my own willingness to take my eyes off myself and put them on everything else, cherishing this broken and beautiful world that grows old beside me … every single day. That includes you. You are in this world with me. You are part of the adventure. Join me. Take an adventure today.