All photos are screenshots from the National Geographic story about the movie “Tracks.” Click here for more.
Rob, I really like what you’re doing. I didn’t understand it before, but getting off your butt and actually doing something for yourself is important for all of us. …. It’s important that we leave each other and the comfort of it, and circle away, even though it’s hard sometimes, so that we can come back and swap information about what we’ve learnt even if what we do changes us and we risk not recognizing each other when we return. ~~ Nancy (a friend of Robyn’s) in “Tracks”
I just finished the book “Tracks” by Robyn Davidson. As a young woman, Robyn decided to cross the Australian Outback. It took her a couple of years to get up the nerve to do it. I loved that she wasn’t a big ‘adventurer.’ She was a regular gal who said she was going to do something and then finally realized that she’d better quit talking about it and do it.
I’m not an adventurer, but I have been on some adventures. I haven’t been hiking in Nepal, bungie-jumping or even skydiving. I’ve come to peace with the fact that my adventures are more common, everyday adventures that stretch me a little each time I attempt one. I read something a long time ago that said the best way to have fun is to make everything an adventure. So, I’ve tried like hell to step into that, and it’s worked for me.
My friend Kristi – whom I met through this blog – met me for coffee the other day. She grew up in the same small town as I did, but she’s a good bit younger than me. She started following Midlife Moments, and we connected. Eventually we met on a trip to Houston. She was in Baton Rouge recently visiting family, and we met over at Magpie. She told me that she had gone on an adventure. Even though she lived close here she had never heard of Bay St. Louis. Inspired by my trips there, she decided to take off alone and explore the area. “I tried to channel Sharon,” she said with a laugh. She’d never done something like this before, and she totally enjoyed it.
I’ve found that just labeling something an ‘adventure’ changes the experience. My second husband and I once took his kids to Chicago. They grew up in Chicago, so they’d been there a number of times. But, I decided I wanted to make it an adventure. We were all a bit nervous because we had just met, and I was this new ‘girlfriend’ that they were going to have to tolerate. I went to the dollar store and bought little cheap, fun toys and old-fashioned candy. When things got boring, I’d have everybody pull something from the grab bag. We looked at the weekend as an adventure and did a few new things just for fun.
At this age in midlife, I look back on my life, and I sort of re-frame it as an adventure. Most of the time I was just trying to get by, but I had some adventures – my kinds of adventures. I got a little boring and scared of everything in my 30s-40s because of some mistakes I’d made, but once I turned 50, I decided to get adventurous again. My marathon trips were adventures where I explored a city on foot. I went to Hawaii with a group of women on an adventurous Women’s Quest. And I even had an adventure at the Piggly Wiggly in Bunkie. I can make anything adventurous if I set my mind to it. It’s a state of mind … not an event.
To be sure, Robyn’s trek across the desert was adventurous. She had the elements to deal with. She lost her dog to poisoning. She had 3 camels that caused all kinds of drama. Sometimes just eating or getting something to drink was adventurous. But, in the book, even her trek at times seemed pretty mundane. She said later that it wasn’t all that dangerous. She thought it would be, but there were stops and people all along the way. It was not what she expected. She wished it had been more exciting. I have a feeling most adventures are primarily mundane with moments of fun, challenge and inspiration.
I’m going camping next week with my dog. I’m sure I’ll think about Robyn and her dog Diggity at some point. Most of the time we’ll just be cooking, eating, tooling around town or hiking in the woods. Some of my friends imagine that I’m out there fighting off bears while I’m camping, but camping is really pretty mundane. I stay in campgrounds that are full of families. The biggest fear I have is getting next to a bunch of drunks who keep me up all night. We probably will hike which will have an element of danger to it, but, honestly, driving around Baton Rouge has more danger to it than hiking. I will have moments of fun, challenge and inspiration. I will have moments that feel adventurous.
I find that I get a little more adventurous every year. Now, I want to learn to backpack which will get me away from the car and deeper into the woods. I’ll take a class and learn how to do it. I’ll probably do it initially with a group. It won’t be a huge adventure, but in my mind it will be an adventure. I’ll be learning something new that teaches me new skills and expands my boundaries just a little bit further. I don’t have to adventure in leaps. I can adventure in baby steps. It makes no difference to my soul. I’m exploring either way.
The question I’m most commonly asked is ‘Why’? A more pertinent question might be, why is it that more people don’t attempt to escape the limitations imposed upon them? ~~ Robyn Davidson
How do you make your life an adventure? For that matter, how do you make an hour an adventure? I’m not sure how you do it. But I can tell you to think about what would push your envelope just a tiny bit. Do that. If you are really shy, tell yourself you are going on an adventure, and you are going to ask three people you don’t know what they like to drink at Starbucks. Go sit at Starbucks and do it. If you don’t like to exercise, tell yourself you are going on an adventure to see what’s around your neighborhood. Take a walk or a bike ride for the sole purpose of noticing three new things that you never noticed before. Your adventures and my adventures may be totally different. Adventure is not about impressing anyone else; adventure is about making an impression on your soul. You are amazing. You deserve an adventure. And if you do cross a desert with camels, please let me know. I might like to see you off! It’d make a great blog.
Of course, I did not mean that people should drop what they were doing and head for the wilder places, certainly not that they should copy what I did. I meant that one can choose adventure in the most ordinary of circumstances. Adventure of the mind, or to use an old-fashioned word, the spirit. ~~ Robyn Davidson