“We were brought up on the Space Race, now they expect you to clean toiletsWhen you’ve seen how big the world is, how can you make do with this?”
With the Arctic Adventure truly over, and the notebook exhausted, we take a break to bring you this important message.
I need a new adventure.
I’ve explored North America on Greyhound buses and slept on pavements in southern California. I’ve hiked the Inca Trail to the “lost city” of Machu Picchu. I’ve driven a pack of huskies across the frozen lakes and hills of the Arctic Circle and gazed at the Northern Lights. Now I want to know what’s next.
You think about an adventure. You play with various ideas until one sticks, and you tell people about it. Maybe they’re admiring, maybe they think you’re crazy, maybe they’re envious — but it all excites you. After too long of thinking about it and telling people about it, it becomes time to put your money where your mouth is and actually sign up. Having dreams is one thing, but you don’t want to be the person that dreams and never does anything about it.
Once you take the plunge, it’s serious. There is now a finite space of time between you and the adventure, and a seemingly infinite number of things to do. But there’s the other end, too — this end of the adventure when you’ve already been back a month, and you’ve got nothing to train for, nothing to dream about or talk about, nothing to have mini freak-outs about on the way to work.
I signed up for the Arctic Adventure last July, and that was several months later than I ideally wanted to (because I was a bit dense and was looking in the wrong section of the website for the type of event I wanted). Now I have been back for two months, have completed the fundraising, and long for a new adventure.
I took on John Williams and Selina Barker’s “Screw Work, Let’s Play” 30 Day Challenge — after all, these two were influential in getting me to actual sign up for the Arctic, and last year were instrumental in getting me to start writing “Atlantic City” my zombie novel. I thought great, this will get me started on a new adventure. After many discussions with Selina, she encouraged me to focus less on the big ideas and to instead find adventures in the small things, every day.
Away I went. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do, or afford, 30 adventures in 30 days but would do what I could and blog about it. Have you noticed any of those blog posts? That’s because there have been no adventures. I didn’t think the idea out carefully enough, and even some things that I thought I would do — go to a martial arts class, learn latin dance — didn’t happen. Things seem less like “every day adventures” and more like…just doing stuff.
Now I’m in a kind of limbo. I still want the big adventure, I still want to save the world — I want to help people after natural disasters or in war zones, even if it’s just picking up the rubble or painting walls — and be able to help further by inspiring others to help by writing about it and taking pictures. As strange as it seems to me, there are also people out there who see no appeal at all in hiking the Inca Trail or dog sledding through the Arctic Circle — but these people like the opportunity to live vicariously through blog posts and stories about adventures.
There’s still so much I want to do, and no practical way of doing it.
As for the every day, since the Arctic I’ve struggled a little with a lack of purpose. Nothing to train for, no big “adventure” to look forward to, to tell people about or sometimes worry over. My fitness has taken a nosedive, and I’m now taking on the challenge to better handle my depressive moods.
In the every day, things can be a struggle sometimes — but I’m trying to resolve that while there are some things I can’t change, I can take responsibility for how I react, and what I do about it. This week, I have taken to Tribesports to give me challenges and an excuse to get some endorphins flowing — while I try and get a handle on what adventure means to me, and what I can do, while balancing it with all the things I love so much about being at home.