At this time in the semester one could wander the pathways of Humboldt State that fall between the science complex and wildlife building and very quickly notice the ghost-like faces of students passing by with a determined aim in their step. This is a standard diagnostic sign of exam season. Yup, the science majors are chin deep in puddles of stress, taxonomy, key-terms, statistics, and evolutionary material off the yin-yang. I am one of these sad students and have once again taken advantage of my blog by using it as a procrastination device to avoid studying…But don’t worry, friends, tonight I am not alone! Andrew, Mike, and Kayla have joined me and we are all pulling our hair out studying ornithology while looking up Harry Potter memes, trash talking hipsters, and listening to bluegrass….Oh yeah, and challenging ourselves to make our faces as small as possible…
So enough of the silliness, I am feeling an insight coming on! (enter: dramatic, slow building music that induces emotional awareness of audience)
Reflecting on past adventures I have found myself thinking a lot about what I expect from life. I have this feeling that sits heavy in the pit of my stomach as it simultaneously flutters in the cavities of my heart which somehow gives me a flooding experience of both anxiety and excitement. It’s the fuel that pushes my mind to motivation about who I want so desperately to be and what I yearn to do.
My life thus far has been full of adventure; and I do not use adventure in a loose context but rather, in a very precise definition that I have created specifically based on my own experiences and elemental factors. Adventure: according to Ali Osgood is an endeavor which fills my blood with fire whilst cleansing my mind with quiet-natured thoughts, specifically involving wildlife, outdoors, exercise, a bit of effort, an element of discomfort, a portion of familiarity, and an adhesive-like ability to stick to my memory. That is the type of adventure I speak of when divulging in the experiences that fill my past. I have first and foremost my mother to thank for this acquired sense of adventure that I have developed. Growing up outside has been the greatest gift I have ever received from another human being. It has brought me to a sense of myself that I don’t think I could be content without.
I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is about growing up outside that changes a person. It’s true, there are so many aspects to everyday human life that seem to fade away when exploring the outdoors; and yes, having to travel a distance carrying only the necessities on your back until you reach a suitable place to camp induces a sense of importance as well as the worth of hard work and pay off…but still, there is something more, something living innately in all of us that doesn’t surface until sought out and retrieved. It’s the aspect that gives me peace when I set my eyes on a river rushing over granite in a deciduous climate because for some reason it meets the exact criteria of beauty. Or the craving to disappear into the mountains that I am often overcome with when I am stuck inside at work or studying. It is the moment I get out of my car, press my boots to the trail, listen to the birds, and breathe. That breath lets in so much more than oxygen. I am also breathing in that version of me that waits ‘out there’, it takes occupancy of my body as I venture through a forest, or a mountain, a desert, a beach, a wetland, or any other natural setting. Yes, I am still my loud goofy self, but at the same time I am so much closer to the other side of myself than I can only be in nature. My problems and stresses melt away and I am left with just the moment I am experiencing. It truly is meditation.
Obviously, at a young age, I was far too oblivious and excited to understand what was happening, and until recently I didn’t even realize that I had another sense of being, but when I look back on the adventures that fill, and I mean FILL, up my adolescence, I can see the presence of the calmer, quieter, and content version of myself where worries are non existent and forward is the only direction available to move in. Without those experiences, and without self-reflection, I am not so sure I would have the intrinsic understanding of what is important in my life. Other experiences, like falling in love, making mistakes, struggling through school, or getting into debt have certainly developed a sense of direction and importance in the role I want to play in society, but these adventures and explorations have pushed me to care so much more about the world that lies outside of my own, and about yearning to understand it better. Revelations have come to me, literally on top of mountains, that have brought me to conclusions about who I am going to be on this mixed up planet. First and foremost, I want to be someone that helps other people come to these same revelations. This is the entire premise of the nature show I am trying to develop. I truly believe that if people find the encouragement and motivation to get outside and have educated and honest adventures, they will have the likelihood of tapping into that version of themselves that broadens their worlds and softens their hearts.
Adventure is out there! We just need to know how and where to look, both outdoors as well as within ourselves.