Why do we seek adventure? Is it to stave off boredom, or maybe it is to meet people? Whatever your reason is for going on an adventure there are some things that I believe will always be true. You will discover things about yourself you did not know and you will discover some things about what you truly value. In any adventure you will be confronted by fear and by facing this fear you learn about how you react in tough situations. There will also be situations when you must weigh what is important to you and act on your best decision. Adventure brings us closer as we undergo hardships together and it makes us feel more alive as we must focus purely on the present to overcome the obstacles.
These past two weekends I have had the fortunate opportunity to lead an Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking Class and an American Whitewater Rafting Class for Adventure Outings. On both trips I did my best to share my love for the outdoors and the adventures I enjoy. I saw many of my participants battling fear, pain and nervousness. The most notable examples that I can recall was when Jose twisted his ankle and after realizing that he had severely strained it, he still decided to hop on a raft and travel down the American River. In the Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking course I saw a whole group of new kayakers that when given the option to walk around a six foot waterfall, decided that all of them would huck themselves off of it. I see the smiles on their faces after conquering adversity and it is apparent to me how valuable these experiences are. These kinds of decisions require you to look deep down within yourself and decide your values. It is not something that happens in everyday life as it is only in the face of adversity that such a reaction is warranted. The consequences of your decision are immediate as there are real risks in your decision and you must constantly balance the risk vs. the reward. For me, the feeling of accomplishment, excitement and joy that I get from my adventures is unequaled in anything I feel in my daily life. When I see somebody that I taught fall in love with the river, it is an awesome feeling and I know from experience that their adventures will lead to self-discovery and a higher standard of living.
The lessons that the outdoors brings us has largely been forgotten by a majority of the people. They become immersed in what society has planned and muddle through unaware that there is more to life than money. That is why I hope that people will read this and go on a hike, go kayaking and go on an adventure. I believe that life is not fully lived in the cubicles that so many of us live in but it is fully lived while facing an adventure with the friends you trust and the tools on your back.