Publisher William Feather said “one way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” When I found out I was nominated for Blue Ridge Outdoors “Adventurer of the Year” a few months ago I immediately began to toss around in my head what that really meant. And still since having won the honor Ive continues to wonder what it means in our internet age to be an “adventurer.” Friends and family have asked me what it means to me. And while I still think the honor is best displayed with an exotic hat of some kind its one I couldn’t be more honored to have received. Because to me it means people see not just that I am lucky and blessed enough to HAVE some amazing experiences, and see some amazing things, but that the experiences are not wasted. Ive done my best over the years to get the most out of wherever I was, whatever I was doing, and whoever I was with. My chosen medium is two wheels because I am forever amazed by the places two wheels can take me. Ive met amazing people, seen things that have demanded attention in ways which speak to the soul, and laughed and cried in wild far away places. If Sir Edmund Hillary hungered for the highest of heights Ive done my best to seek out the breadth and depth of the human experience in ways which dont just have altitudes or gps coordinates. Whizzing through the Teton Pass with the Grand behind my shoulder, or skittering up a jeep road chasing bird boned costa ricans the places Ive been privileged to see have not been wasted and I think the folks who voted for me as Adventurer of the Year see that.
I wish I could take every vote and bring them to the top of the Rincon de La Vieja Volcano. Literally hearing the mist and rain sweeping by, feeling it on their faces. Bring them to the rock ledges of Zen trail with high mountain mesas across the valley, shining their red clay in bright spring sunshine. And perhaps my favorite; sit quietly in an Appalachian cove forest; deep peaceful quiet as mother nature nurtures her deepest rooted children. Dipping our tired legs in a cold mountain stream with the smell of pines and dry earth our only companions. The earth our own and time un-important. Because for me adventure IS those things. It’s potential energy with us everywhere we go but its actualized when we take the moment to appreciate it! Adventure doesnt have to be from a wild far away place; especially not to residents of the Blue Ridge!
We spend our lives and our days moving from one task to another, prioritizing about which to check off first. While the reality is life is what happens between the checks. Adventure is whats we are missing in our daily lives; happening along the way but not being heeded. Adventure is greeting a life change with positivity and enthusiasm rather than lamenting the loss of how life was. Adventure is taking a bad situation or a mistake along your path and considering it in a different light; a light which brings sudden value to the experience. Adventure is what little boys find in the back yard, making their surroundings exotic and exciting. And perhaps in the the most cliche aphorism of all for adventure; it is the only place where we find ourselves.
So in considering what adventure is, and what it can be I took my nomination and selection as Adventurer of the Year as a charge to continue making adventure out of every step. Taking the to-do list with you out the door doesn’t have to mean a sentence to boredom; the empty space between the tasks can be a blank canvas for adventure. Seeing every step you take as a new opportunity for adventure.
In 2016 lets make our days really count. Lets find the opportunity for adventure.