I am the kind of person that likes to know where I am going. I research, plan, and plot before I pick my destination. I like to be in the know. There is nothing more satisfying than checking off landmarks as I go, knowing I am headed in the right direction. It’s a coping mechanism. I cope much better when I know what to expect. Wandering aimlessly on some unknown trail causes me stress. Of course that trail leads somewhere and can be adventurous but it mostly just creates angst. And, perhaps that means I am not all that adventurous after all. I mean since when do the best adventures have every detail planned out?
This personality trait of mine presents itself many times in life and even on hiking trips. While venturing some trail I didn’t completely research I start to get a pit in my stomach. How much longer will we have to go? Does this actually lead where I wanted it to? I start bombarding my husband with worrisome questions. “Does this trail ever end?” “Are we even going in the right direction?” “I think we should go back!” But, every time we have ventured the unexpected, all turned out fine. The trail did loop back around, it lead to a destination, and ended. Or we simply turned back when we felt like it. Even so, I’d rather have all the information before hand if possible.
But planning and gathering info never means the unexpected won’t happen. I’m sure we all know that. researching is just my way of thinking that I have it all under control. But how much control do we really have over anything? I can honestly say the best parts of hiking have been the unplanned unexpected turn of events during the journey. Although I guess you could also say that about the worst parts as well. We’ll call them the most memorable.
Like the time my dog Gunner had a rabbit between his teeth. I quickly yelled, “Gunner, Drop!” My husband gently held the little guy, checking for injuries, when fleas jumped from the rabbits back into my husbands beard!
Or the time my dad climbed up a rock wall just to prove he could, only to be un able to get back down. He did get down… with help.
The many times I couldn’t control my laughter because my husband fell to the ground tripping on some rock or, lets be honest, his own feet. (Although now I expect a fall from him every hike… he’s pretty clumsy.) And I have never tripped once on any hike!
The getting lost and frustrated trying to find seemingly hidden tails only to find beautiful views on the way. Not to mention all the times my husband popped out and scared me on a creepy paths.
And last but not least, the pure joy that came when the beauties of nature snuck up on me before I even reached the destination. These are the stories of getting there. And they are just as good if not better than the destination itself.
Sure, the destination is why I go. I see what I want and research how to get there. And once I reach my destination I am happy. But it’s the journey to the destination that challenges me and helps me prepare so I am more proud and appreciative at the end. Sometimes the path may be worrisome and you may even decide to turn back and venture towards an unexpected result. But maybe the journey was needed in order to get there. The parts that make up an achievment are the miles you put behind you, planned or not planned, expected or unexpected. Yes, you may have a destintion in mind, you may plan and gather all the info, and you may reach it, but it’s the journey will change, surprise, and prepare you. And that is what I call adventure.