If you loathe adventures, whatever you do, don’t step outside your front door. That first step may eventually lead you off the edge of the map of everything you know and into a world that gets bigger the more you learn.
Adventures are lurking just beyond the borders of your little corner of the world. Embark on one, and you will be changed forever.
I speak from experience: my adventures changed me.
I blame my parents entirely. When I was 14, they took me and my 5 siblings to Costa Rica. We lived there for a year, learning Spanish and other things. And all of us changed.
They told me it would happen. When we were in Colorado for mission training, the counselors told us that our adventures would make us look at the world differently. But looking back, I realise that “it” had already begun long before then. We fell in love with travel when we spent weeks tent camping across the United States. The prairies and mountains were our playground, and the whole family explored.
But even those trips only fanned the flames of a desire for adventure that began earlier still. Mom let us, made us, play in our own backyard, and that was a fatal mistake. Children who engage in imaginative play for hours on end–especially outdoors–are at high risk for becoming infected with wanderlust later in life.
Years and countries later, my desire to travel and explore the world shows no signs of letting up.
There are many types of adventures, but I can’t guarantee that any of them are safe. Week-long or year-long, by car or on foot, staying under a roof or under a tent, all our travels threaten to change us, in some way, for life. This is your warning; seven reasons why you may wish to avoid the Road.
When you travel…
1. You will have to test your limits.
How much can you endure? You may have to drive long to reach camp, fly through time zones on little sleep, endure temperatures that your body is not accustomed to, listen to whiny kids for miles on end.
2. You will have to do without.
There will be things you forgot or didn’t have room to pack: A warmer jacket, camera battery, a comfortable bed. And depending on your adventure, you may also lack easy access to clean water, human companionship, or Netflix.
3. You will be unpleasant to be with.
Numbers 1 and 2 tend to bring out the worst in us. If you want to see yourself honestly, don’t coop up in a car/tent/plane/tiny house with your family. Ever. You will have to deal with certain character flaws that are usually avoided back at home where everyone can go to their own room.
At the end of your journey, you’ll realise that the hardest part about travelling isn’t the blisters on your feet–it’s the homecoming.
When you come home…
4. You will lose some of the friendships you had when you started.
Thank goodness this only happens after an extended time away. But if you’re gone for a year or two, expect this. Some friendships simply won’t fit any more (it’s the whole “travel changes you” thing). Some people won’t “get it”; they won’t understand what you’ve experienced, and you’ll have missed memories you could’ve made with them.
5. You will have too much world to think about.
When you see the world, you think about the world, and that can get a bit overwhelming.
6. You will want to keep travelling.
Wanderlust comes and goes, but it never really leaves your system. It will sweep you away again, and you’ll revisit all those reasons you never should’ve left the fireside in the first place.
7. You will be painfully reminded to live more intentionally.
As wonderful as your trip may be, you will have regrets about it when you come home. Why didn’t I do more of _______ when I was there? Why did I never visit ________ ? And all your wishing you’d done more, been more while you were there will inspire resolutions to live more fully when you return home.
Unfortunately, we can never live as “intentionally” as we want to, either on our adventures or in our everyday lives. Sorry, Thoreau, but even you never truly lived.
The good news is that there is a country where we can experience an abundant, ever deeper, always satisfying adventure. It’s called Heaven.
– J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
About the pictures: (In order) Arches National Monument, Grand Canyon at sunset, outside my front door, northern California coastline, Badlands of South Dakota, road at Cheaha Sate Park