Adventure offers every human being the ability to live “the” moment of his or her most passionate idea, fantasy or pursuit. It may take form in the arts, acting, sports, travel or other creative endeavors. Once engaged, a person enjoys “satori” or the “perfect moment.” That instant may last seconds or a lifetime. The key to adventure whether it is painting, dancing, sports or travel is to throw yourself into your quests with rambunctious enthusiasm and zealous energy. Your exploits will lead you toward uncommon passion for living. By following that path, you will attract an amazing life that will imbue your spirit and fulfill your destiny as defined by you alone. In the end, you will savor the sweet taste of life pursuing goals that make you happy, rewarded and complete. As a bonus, you may share your experiences with other intrepid human beings who laugh at life, compare themselves with no one and enjoy a fabulous ride!
Adventure! Marco Polo traversed Asia for 24 years. Captain Cook sailed the seven seas and all the oceans around the planet. Ernest Shackleton walked toward the South Pole under excruciatingly bitter conditions. Captain Nemo submerged to 20,000 leagues under the sea.
Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic Ocean. Indiana Jones, wearing a fedora and carrying a whip, pursued the “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Reinhold Messner climbed the highest peaks on seven continents. Eric Weihenmayer became the first sightless person to climb Mount Everest and also climbed the tallest peaks on seven continents. Bob Wieland, with both legs amputated at the groin, walked across America on his hands. Junko Tabei became the first woman to summit Mount Everest. Ultimately, Captains James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard raced at warp speed to “Go where no one has gone before.”
Each of those characters, either real or fictional, defined or defines humanity’s longing to explore the far reaches of this planet and beyond. Each of those personalities possesses a certain excitement or true-grit to struggle or suffer for some ultimate prize.
“What reward?” you might ask. That can only be defined by the persons questing for it and only they can answer the pursuit for themselves. In the end, it’s the living of adventure that expands anyone’s world and brings a sense of triumph to whatever degree the difficulty of the quest he or she chooses.
Let us add this reality check: adventure doesn’t have to be wild, crazy or dangerous. It can be as sublime as constructing a bird house, painting a picture, sitting by a pond like Henry David Thoreau, writing poetry like Robert Service or sharing a walk with a friend down a leaf-strewn path through magnificent autumn colors. You define your own adventure style and you pursue it at your chosen speed throughout your life.
Another item that I am thankful for in my youth stemmed from how my parents brought me up. My mom always encouraged us in activities. My dad introduced us to multiple sports. He instilled in us a never-give-up attitude.
If I faced a difficult task, academically or athletically or even a problem that arrived on my doorstep whether I expected it or not—liked it or not—my dad put his arm around my shoulder and said, “Son, you can do that!” That truth locked into my mind and gave me a foundation of confidence and fortitude that carried me through many challenging adventures.
For those that choose vigorous exploration, remember this: adventure may not always be comfortable, but it is always adventure.
As a high school teen, I noticed a picture of the Great Wall of China in my 10th grade world history book. I mentioned to my teacher Mrs. Rainwater, “I’m going to climb the Great Wall of China some day.”
She answered rather sternly, “You can’t climb the Great Wall because China is closed to all travelers.”
“My dad said that things always change,” I replied. “If I am persistent, I can do anything I set my mind to do.”
“Harrumph,” she muttered.
Years later, China opened up.
I purchased a one-year plane ticket around the world. Along the way, I stepped off the plane in Hong Kong. On my bike, on a train, and then, on a bike again into Beijing, I pedaled up to the Ming Dynasty tombs. A day later, I pedaled up to the Great Wall of China. I jumped off my bike to the enthusiastic attention of Chinese kids selling “Great Wall” T-shirts. I bought one and still wear it on special occasions.
Moments later, I climbed the steps and walked on the Great Wall of China. Of all the mementos on my memory-shelf in the front room and on my adventure wall, I treasure the shot of me standing in the foreground and the Great Wall of China curling over the mountains in the background. Naturally, I sent a picture to Mrs. Rainwater.
Years later, on one of my transcontinental bicycle rides, I pedaled through the town where I graduated from high school. A film crew met my brother Howard and me at the edge of town. They filmed us and asked us a bunch of questions. A newspaper man interviewed us, too.
That night, they splashed us all over the local news. Next day, the newspaper arrived with a half-page filled with our pictures and the interview. Our mom beamed all over the place. Then, the phone rang!
“Hello,” I answered.
“Is this Frosty?” the lady asked.
“Yes ma’am,” I said.
“This is Barbara Rainwater, your 10th grade teacher,” she said. “I saw you on TV last night and in the papers today. I have to say I am very proud of you. I never thought that you would amount to much, but when I received that picture of you on the Wall of China, a big smile came over my face that one of my students did well in this world. Your mother must be very proud. I can hardly believe all the world travel you have done, but it sounds like you are living an interesting life.”
“Yes, Mrs. Rainwater,” I said. “Thanks for being such a great teacher. You brought out the best in your students. Unknowingly, you set a sense of determination in my mind to walk on the Great Wall of China.”
“I remember telling you that you would never walk that wall,” she said, “but you proved me wrong and I am glad you did. Just goes to show what a little resolve will do for you.”
I invite you to incorporate this understanding: the resolve within your mind makes everything in your life possible.
Along my life path, some folks have said, “You’re one lucky son-of-a-gun!” Others thought somebody helped me out financially. Never! I worked hard for every mile I ever traveled across this planet. While luck may carry anyone into positive life experiences, the smarter and harder one works, the luckier one becomes. In other words, you make your own luck. You create your good fortune. In the end, you dream, you choose and you live your adventures. Your choices propel you toward a rewarding life, or for those who make poor choices, a life of regrets—or an average life with little to cheer about when that person faces his or her last moments.
I read once, “By passionately believing in what doesn’t exist; you create it.”
Hopefully, along the way, you inculcate and incorporate expanded ideas and understandings that add to your wealth of confidence and resolve to live your dreams. At first, you may feel some trepidation. That’s normal. Try out little adventures until you work up to the big ones. If you didn’t enjoy a dad to tell you, “Son, you can do that,” then use my dad’s arm over your shoulder and stand tall with a sense of, “Sure, I can live my dreams.”
In this book, I will share many adventures with you to whet your appetite. Please enjoy instructional sections alternating with adventure chapters that may inspire you toward your own passions.
Additionally, you will learn the techniques and mental understandings that will propel you into a life of adventure. For that matter, you may use these tenets to live a successful life and enjoy fantastic connections with friends who share your same zest for living.
You might note the dramatic cover shot for this book comes from a moment with my friends Doug Armstrong and Bryan Halleck on their way to the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Doug and Bryan have traveled across all seven continents via bicycle, backpacking, train and bus. Both of them came from average families. Since they lived their dreams, you enjoy the same opportunities.
Additionally, Bob Johannes, Jayne Sutton, Linda Humphrey and Sandi Lynn added their excellent editing and critiques to make this book its very best. I thank each one of them for their guidance. Of special thanks, bestselling author Dan Millman provided me with key ideas that transformed this book into its final rendition. On a special note, I am deeply thankful to each one of you on a personal level. You took a lot of time and interest in this project.
Thanks goes to my parents Vivien and Howard Wooldridge for their steadfast support and loving care over the years. Thanks to my brothers Rex, Howard, John and my sister Linda for their support and sharing of these adventures. A huge thanks goes to my lady Sandi for her enthusiasm, creative efforts and endless support during this project. Thanks to Adeline Helma for her delightful enthusiasm that touches my life daily. Big thanks to Gary and Marty North for making a huge impact on my life in my early years that has guided me all my life. Thank you Don Collins and Sally Epstein for your work for all of humanity. Thank you Denis LeMay, Gary Hall, Jeff Blackburn, Paul Austin, John Brown, Bob and Marie Johannes, Steve Boyka, Doug Armstrong, Sandy Colhoun, Diane Fisher, Mary Gruda, Elaine Gingrich, Lance Hill, Hans and Erika Matzke, Deb and David Martin, Dr. John and Marylou Tanton and many other friends that have made a special impact on my life. Finally, thank you Al Wilson for your friendship and sharing many adventures.
To you the reader, at the end of your life, much like a baseball game, you will have enjoyed great times, dangerous times, heroic times and mundane times. As you round third base heading into home, you will be battered and scratched. You will have endured a few broken bones and scared yourself half-to-death several times.
More importantly, you will have lived any number of amazing adventures.
As you slide into home, you will be worn out and used up. You will have left your guts on the field. Without a doubt, as you stick out your foot to tag home plate on your final breath, you will show everyone a mile-wide grin as you chuckle to yourself, “Wow! My life has been one heck of a fantastic ride!”
Excerpt from How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, Kindle, www.amazon.com
, copies 1 888 280 7715 , publishes July 10,2011