Some of the best parts of the best adventures are not summiting the mountain.
They are along the way.
They are the unexpected river swollen with snow melt. They are the time our boots got so heavy with mud we had to take them off.
They are the skinny dipping and unexpected love in a lake.
They are the night sky that seemed bigger and more wonderful than it ever had before. They are the morning coffee made over a fire with the hills and the tree’s and the wind as company.
Getting to the top only defines the adventure if that is the only goal.
And sometimes that’s fine. As long as we are okay with the journey up. Some people just want to get to the top of the highest mountains. And for them, they understand that the journey up is not going to be a wishy washy skipping and whistling trip.
It’s going to be damn hard. It’s going to test every part of them and they’re going to be tempted to turn back.
But they won’t. Because the sort of people that want to only get to the top (which there is nothing wrong with at all) understand the arduous journey and sacrifice beforehand.
I, however, am not one of those people. I am the skinny dipping along the way type.
Of course, I want to get to the end goal, see the view and feel the breeze of achievement on my face at the top. But I want to do that as well as enjoy the journey as I go.
And that means that when I have tried to only focus on the top and brace myself for the grueling climb ahead, I have failed. Or at the least, been half arsed about it.
Life is a huge adventure. It has to be!
It can’t just be about finding little pockets of happiness every few years and living off them until the next comes blowing across our path.
To hell with that! Why settle for that? Why ever settle for anything?
I need to pay the rent and bills somehow. I need to get my car taxed and I need to sometimes get up at silly-o’clock in the morning with very awake children. I need to go food shopping and sometimes I even have to wash some clothes and drag out the Hoover. Boring, boring, boring, huh?
Well maybe—but still nope.
What I mean is, yes.
There is no doubting that going and buying broccoli, cheese, beans and milk from a shiny, bright, loud supermarket is tedious. Or that dragging yourself out of bed at 5 a.m. on the whim of a child who “saw the gruffalo in the garden” get’s old and annoying after the 17th time.
Or that having to put aside money to pay the rent and bills means a delay to being able to save up for whichever of our dreams relies on money.
Yes—those things suck.
But so does freezing in the middle of the night in a tent halfway up a mountain. So, what do we do?
We snuggle up to our fellow adventurer.
But more than that, because we’ve decided that we are on an adventure, even the howling winds making our bones jitter seems like a good thing. Because it’s all part of the adventure. Even if we’re on that mountain by ourselves.
So, what if I decided that jacking it all in and going with my kids away to a forest somewhere to live off fish cooked over a gas fire fueled by our own dehydrated feces just wasn’t going to work?
What if I decided that there was a way that even the mundane, dare I say necessary, parts of life were all part of the adventure?
But more than that, what if there was a way that despite the tedious, annoying, inconvenient parts of being a big, fat, fully grown, independent human, I could find thrill and adventure in the rest of life? What if I could do all the things I have to as a member of the western world (opinions on that disregarded for another time) and still achieve my dreams?
What if I could fall in love, pay the gas bill, buy some broccoli, learn a foreign language, save up for a new pair of shoes, inspire my children, love with all my heart, achieve something, find something, lose something and drink the best coffee?
Every. Single. Day.
But what if. What if all those things I think will “make me happy” are actually just a way of achieving a certain frame of mind or a feeling?
And what if. Oh, what if!
What if I could find a way to have that frame of mind and those adventurous feelings even if everything around me falls away or it seems my dreams are put on hold for a time?
What if it’s all about and all in my heart?
Either way, I’ll be chasing the gruffalo out of the garden in my pyjamas at 5 a.m., paying the car tax and buying some eggs.
Then we’ll go skinny dipping in the lake and cook sausages and coffee over a fire.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Andy Charrington
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock