— A love letter to adventure.

Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while... you could miss it. 

Ferris Bueller

Adventure belongs to no one but you... it’s your journey, your life and yours to pursue with inspiration and wonder. Sometimes life grabs you by the arm, forces you to face your fears, make a decision and go for it. These are the best days: the ones when you grab the bull by the horns and commit to something big, something challenging… maybe even a little bit scary.

But life doesn’t always show up this way. 

Most of the time, opportunities to experience life are hiding in plain sight. We trade real world adventures for a much lesser version that we follow from the sidelines. We watch safely from behind our iPhones, following the real adventurers on Instagram. We watch their videos and read their blogs. We satiate our hunger by connecting with adventure through the experience of others. We settle and tell ourselves ‘it's enough’.

But the seemingly elusive life that you crave isn’t so hard to reach. Not really. Not in normal times. No matter where you are... nature awaits. As Coronavirus takes hold, adventure is still out there - lying in wait until this thing passes. Land, water, mountain, sky are all around you – waiting for you to take that step outdoors. But step outdoors you must, because nature won’t come to your doorstep. It’s waiting for you to get out and run – to head for the hills, hit the trails, cruise on whitewater. 

Whatever your poison, adventure awaits. Your time will come soon. So when it does, here are five steps to get out and make it happen.

1. Seek it out

Adventure is your right. The life you deserve and the challenge you seek is out there. You might think you’ll never climb that mountain, learn how to surf or complete that Ultra but your challenge is there – waiting, with your name on it. Ignore the internal monologue and the negative self-talk that will rationalise what you can or can’t do. Think about what you want. Become a student, learn what others are doing, find your passion and your adventure is just around the corner.

2. Make a commitment

No one achieved anything without committing to an outcome first. To achieve anything you need leverage. How much do you want it? Are you inspired? If you want it bad enough, you’ll figure out how. But most of us are human. We are social animals because nature has contrived to make us better together. So join a club, find someone who’s done what you want to do. Ask around, train with someone, learn from someone. Grab your adventure and make a commitment. Tell the world, write about it and tell your loved ones. Now you’re doing it for more than yourself. Shuffle forward. You’re ready to commit.

3. Take action

This is the hard part. We’re blessed and afflicted with a frontal cortex that makes us too clever for our own good. We process information, assess risk and we’re softened by so many alternatives. We wait, indulge our desire for comfort, sit back and wonder ‘what if’. Don’t do this. Take action. Take a small step forward, then another, and another. Make a list and do the first thing. Make an appointment and get your first workout done. Rent a board, book a lesson, take a trip. Do one small thing everyday that can feed your future habit. This is about your life, your adventure. So follow through. Take action.

Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.

Jack Kerouac

4. Opportunity knocks

When you seek out and unlock your goal… things will change. You’ll notice something different. The haters will likely still be there but others will take notice, reach out and take an interest. Your initiative and action will attract like-minded souls. ‘How did you do it’?, ‘When did you start’? Your network will grow and you’ll find yourself in a community of folks who share your new passion. What was once a distant goal, is now your reality. New opportunities open up around you and suddenly adventure is everywhere. Don’t forget your journey to now, and the commitment you made. Stoke the fire, put yourself on the line once again. Keep going and seize today – tomorrow and every day after.

5. Stick it out

Nothing in life is easy. Get over yourself. Every athlete from beginner to pro knows that showing up is the game. The event is just a celebration of everything that went before. The early mornings, the cold wet nights, the freezing ocean… that goddam headwind. This is the test that adventurers love to take. The tough times that make you want to throw in the towel. The times when you want to stay in bed, head home early, wait for better weather.

If you feel like quitting, ask yourself: in five years will you look back and wish that you tried. Don’t take the easy road. Grit is a muscle. If you build it day by day, you get to live life on your terms. And life is for living, whatever the weather. 

You have become that Instagram adventurer. Quit now and you’ll never pay it forward. It’s your gift to inspire others to wake up. The time to rest is later. Now is the time to stick it out.

Adventure forever

This is your adventure. It’s in you and it’s always been there. There’s a reason that we’re drawn to the outdoors. We’re designed to run, climb, breathe hard and experience nature. The clock is ticking and the time is now.

As Paulo Coelho once said:  “The danger of adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort.” It’s good advice. 

Adventure awaits if you’ll just let it in. So stay active, do your research, switch off your phone. We’ll see you soon... we’ll see you outside.

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April 03, 2020 — Stephen Shaw