The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually –their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on –and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same –like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?
Sure, stories of the great alpinists, mountaineers, and explorers captivate us and drive our own quest for a life greater than the mundane; yet, why do we treat these stories as far off possibilities beyond that of us ordinary mortals? Jim Wickwire’s impromptu bivy 450 feet below the summit of K2. Mikey Schafer’s “accidental” first ascent of one of the Sky Line Peaks of Fritz Roy (watch the FORCE here). Alex Honold and Tommy Caldwell nabbing the first ascent of the Fritz traverse (watch here). Emily Harrington scoring an amazing ascent of Golden Gate on El Capitan (watch one of the most pure climbing vids I’ve ever seen here). Those of us who are not climbing 8,000 meter peaks or 5.14 treat these people as though they are Gods. In reality, the only difference between them and ordinary humans is that they had the tenacity to leave the Shire; 99% of humanity is still setting in the garden smoking pipe weed thinking adventure is for a special kind of person.
Here is the truth about a true adventurer: they are ordinary humans. They just don’t want to spend their short life behind a desk wondering about the vastness of the universe; they get off ass and go see. I guess you could say that they have their priorities straight. This does not mean that you must become a narcissist in order to realize your goals; no, you need balance and a hefty dose of stoke.
The adventurist lifestyle is about living a sustainable life of balance and flow. It’s about realizing that you already make up the stuff people write stories about, you just need to give them a reason to write. Jim Wickwire was an attorney. Alex Honold was not born into a climbing family. Yet, somehow, both of them are among the greatest adventures that ever lived. I think it is time everyone realizes that mythical stories from far off lands are not the deeds of superior humans, all humans are ordinary until they give you a reason to write about them. Leave the garden and give people a reason to write a story.