The Way of Adventure According to The North Face

45

Photo taken by the author; Lake Country, B.C.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am a curious person and I thoroughly enjoy checking out new places, as well as learning interesting info about other people.

It’s who I am, which only points to my love for adventure and exploring.

Being curious and exploring go hand-in-hand.

You can’t have one without the other.

It’s the same with adventure.

Think of it as a triple-stranded link that cannot be separated.

It’s just part of being a guy and what it means to be human.

Humans, by definition, are adventurous creatures who are explorers at heart.

I love exploring each new house I’m in, each hotel I stay at, the restaurants I eat out at, the sports venues I attend, the bookstores I browse in, the coffee shops I go to read at (but most of the time end up people watching & eavesdropping), every beach I relax at when vacationing, every golf course I play, each new country I land in, and any conceivable space I am in that can be explored.

I do this work of exploration naturally.

Whether it’s small or big, it doesn’t matter as long as I’m exploring and finding out something new I hadn’t known before.

The North Face company has it right with their slogan which says, “Never Stop Exploring.”

This is one of my favorite quotes and I really like their clothing too.

This label is one of my favorite clothing line to wear, as it is a brand I feel fits my personality and what I’m about.

I wear it proudly and am proud to wear it.

When I wear this brand I feel adventurous and in need of some exploration to conquer.

It’s also like the Swiss Army knife I bought a few summer’s ago in Lucerne, Switzerland while travelling Europe.

The name of the knife was called “Explorer”.

Not surprisingly, the name of the tour I was on was called, “European Explorer.”

I hadn’t known this before I signed up and thought this was definitely not coincidental, but confirmation, about the voyage I had signed up for.

In life, adventures are all around us. You just have to be on the lookout for them.

As Kelli Worrall writes as the last advice to twenty-somethings:

“Finally, prepare to be amazed. Your life may look something like you envision. Or it may take you to places that you never imagined. Regardless. Hold on tight. Because God is in the business of blowing your mind.” (1)

For most of us, life (whether good or bad) has not turned out as we had expected.

I want to challenge each of you (myself included) to see this as part of a continual unfolding of adventures that are beyond our control, but in hindsight (and even going through them) are fun and exciting nevertheless.

I came across a cool song recently by the band, Switchfoot, entitled “Restless.”

I would encourage my readers to listen to this song on YouTube, as well as take note of the key stanza below:

          I am restless, I am restless

          I am restless, looking for you

          I am restless, I run like the ocean to find your shore

          I’m looking for you (2)

This song speaks to me about adventure.

For to be adventurous means to be restless; restless of the mundane, the usual, the dull, and the common.

Restless for excitement, freedom, and, you guessed it, adventure.

After all, life is meant to be an adventure and to be lived well.

An adventurous life is one that is well-lived.

We learn things about ourselves and this world by way of adventure.

It is in these rushing moments where some of our greatest understandings, most creative ideas, and deepest insights come from.

This is something to living life on purpose – with zeal, passion, and energy – that releases these ideas to be converged “on the go” that makes life worth living.

Being in the action, in the adventure, in the arena – whatever that looks like to you, is where this takes place.

So reader, when will be the first time you do something adventurous for the first time?

Notes:

(1) “20 Things I Wish I’d Known in My Late Twenties,” last modified March 5, 2014, http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/20-things-i-wish-id-known-my-late-twenties.

(2) “Switchfoot: Restless,” last modified June 8, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4yMQ3sOGd8.

Exploring As Part of Adventure

44

Photo taken by a family member; Wood Lake, British Columbia

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Part of the adventure is exploring.

Now, a guy does this naturally.

Being one, I have found this to be innately true.

Everywhere I go or travel (whether it’s to a friend’s house, a forest in the great outdoors, or a new country for my first time), I feel this inner urge to cut loose and explore all that is around me.

I do this to become well-acquainted with my surroundings, as well as any new areas that are unbeknownst to me and are in deep need of discovery – all for the sake of my inquisitive mind.

The discovery is part of the process of exploring.

It’s what makes the exploration fun.

For me, I can liken this discovery process to finding a golf ball on a golf course.

This is one of my favourite things to do when golfing. It is such a cool feeling to find a golf ball (someone else’s, of course) during the course of a round.

There is just nothing like it to me, as there is just something about this new-found discovery that really enthrals me.

Work with me here, all you non-golfers. Don’t skip over this blog post quite yet.

I’ll be playing my way around the various selection of holes and suddenly, out of nowhere, I’ll look down and discover a white ball sitting there right before my eyes – either in the rough, in the water hazard I’m walking by, or along the tree line that defines the edges of a particular golf hole.

It’s as if all this time it had been waiting for my arrival.

So I pick it up and add it to my collection in my bag. I get so excited by the discovery of a new ball set before me, and it gives me great joy in my relentless pursuit around the course.

This is just one example for me that heightens the exploring process as part of the adventure when I’m golfing.

It’s a simple act, one that probably wouldn’t mean a lot to most people, but it really grabs my attention.

This need for exploring is something that is hard-wired into us as human beings.

It’s something we do automatically and unconsciously.

Just watch the next time you’re in a new environment and see if you do not also start “looking around” in an effort to take in all your surroundings.

Odds are you’ll find yourself venturing off to some remote area of the place you’re in, which you’ve told the people you’re with that this mini-excursion will “only take 5 minutes.”

Get the idea?

We’re all in search of exploring.

We can’t help it.

It’s part of the adventure of life.

It helps take the boredom out of life and replaces it with excitement, which is a good place to live in.

Northern Ethiopia Adventures

10441394_10152229525516958_3175555374596542998_n

Photo taken by the author

Hippo sightseeing on Lake Tana, Ethiopia

“Adventure, without it, why live?”

– Johan Radcliffe

After spending about four-and-a-half weeks at the project site in Harbu Chulule, I then travelled to Northern Ethiopia to take in my own travelling adventures to end off my time in Africa before coming home to Canada.

I went to four different places: Bahir Dar, Gondor, Simien Mountains, and Lalibela.

For the first three of these I hired a guide, whom I was referred to by some friends of mine.

Bahir Dar was a 40-minute plane ride from Addis.

I was greeted by my guide at the very small airport and in one day I saw an Ethiopian Orthodox Monastery, three hippo’s and the Blue Nile Falls, which are similar to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada.

The water level at these falls was quite low, as the rainy season had not started yet.

Now, these hippos, you have to understand something here.

I was told right from the beginning of stepping onto this long in length, white-seated, comfortable, 10 mph engine boat, there would be a very slight chance in seeing any hippos. The percentage was actually quite high of not seeing them – at 75%.

With that, our boat driver ventured our craft into an area on Lake Tana where it drains into the Blue Nile River & where these animals are known to be.

We kept our eyes peeled on the water ahead of us, as well as to the port side and starboard side of the vessel.

We looked and looked, and saw nothing…until the first mammoth slowly lifted its head out of the water, with its two large eyes staring intently at us.

Over a period of the next 10-15 minutes, we would see the other two hippo’s appear on the surface: one-by-one, two at a time, or all three at once. It was as if they were putting on an entertainment show for us to sit back (or lean forward) and enjoy.

After this, I went to Gondor.

The main highlight was being able to go on a city tour and seeing the castle complex.

It was pretty cool to see the ancient library, as I am a bit of a nerd myself.

Also cool was seeing the various castles that had been built by the emperor’s of the day for this city and learning the history behind each of these castles.

10481408_10152229524081958_3611028021712540400_n

Library in Gondor

Next, was on to hike the Simien Mountains for 3 days and 3 nights. This was an adventure in-and-of-itself.

I quite enjoyed the scenery of the mountains and the sense of accomplishment after each day’s hike across rugged terrain.

I met up with 3 American’s, which was fun to have some company for the hike.

One couple I ran into were from New York City, of all places, and we finished the mountain range together.

The three of us ended up travelling together to our next stop in Lalibela, and like all travelling companions and new friends are, my mind was enlarged and my heart was content.

In Lalibela, I toured the 11 underground, monolithic churches and had a tour guide (a different one) help give me the history of these churches.

The structure’s interior and exterior were quite impressive to see. I learned lots about the building process of these churches and the history of each one. These rock-hewn churches have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so I can now cross them off my bucket list.

What about you? What has been an adventurous travel trip you’ve taken? Tell us about it in the ‘Comments’ section below.