It’s a Saturday in April and I’m sitting in my backyard in Boulder, Colorado, trying to wash the red Arizona mud off my bike. Yes, it’s a Saturday in April. And yes, we were pedaling in January. I guess I haven’t wanted to wash my bike yet because that implies a certain finality, one that says it’s over, you’re done, and hopefully, you got what you went for. I guess that’s also why it’s taken me so long to finish this project. Once it’s published the experience will end and I’ll never be sure that we captured exactly what we were searching for. While I wash, rinse, and repeat – toothbrush in hand – I’m hit with waves of equal parts pride and loss. The pride is derived from a simple origin: I’m happy to have a story to tell. The loss is something that is more complex, more layered; it’s at once selfish and fearful of banality, it’s charged with a sense of purpose yet imbued with the sense that I’ll feel some sort of empty until I’m out there, somewhere, again.
It’s the instinct of survival, adventure is baked into our coiled double helix. And while fluid and vastly different for every person, it’s something that we’ve always had running around inside of us and it’s something that we’ve always returned to.
“I think there’s always an end goal that we kinda want to live.”
\\ — Manieta
The idea of toeing a line or addressing an edge of some sort lets us stretch our legs and feel alive. For a time, being in an adventure gives us a 4th-dimensional relative placement in this world, something soul-baring and beyond the simple coordinates of latitude x longitude x altitude. It gives us a moment in time that is representative of us. It provides us with a memory of that moment, a journey to relive and a story to tell our friends and children.
Adventure, discovery, community; these are the components that – for me, and many of you, I know – are the keys to creating meaningful, memory-filled lives. Each compliments the next while driving individual and communal growth. Additionally, through the act of shared experience, adventures become integral landscapes that facilitate connection and communication, person to person.
Discovery is paramount to the idea of adventure. Through the act of putting a toe on that line, or pushing past that boundary, we learn about the world around us and how we interact with it. We also learn how we identify ourselves; we discover what is important to us as individuals and what we want to set out to achieve next. When this process of discovery is done in the context of a community - let’s just say, for example, a long patch of rugged dirt stretching from Utah to Mexico - that bilateral understanding takes on an exponential function. Pete knows and understands parts of you. You know and understand parts of Jody SixKiller. Superior recognizes and understands parts of you. You know and understand parts of Arizona. Community is the thread that ties it all together and multiplies the meaning. The possibilities, they are endless.
By bike, by hike, by van, by backpack, go out and seek adventure. Talk to people along the way and invite them to join you for a meal or a moment. This life is a long, unknown trail; who knows what you might find.