One of the puzzling moments that we sometimes experience as we’re out Adventuring, is waking up in the morning quite in a fuzzy state of *I haven’t had my coffee yet* mind, and not being sure, exactly, where we are waking up at. Have you ever woken up with that moment of perplexed uncertainty?
Why, you might be hearing the distant noise of traffic, as you’ve overnighted in a Wal-Mart, Flying-J or a nearby Casino?
Perhaps you’re at some spot you’ve found near the local lake, that’s just plum peaceful.
Or you’re in a campground, with all its amenities: Laundry? Showers? Water, dump and power? A firepit! WITH firewood! And SCORE! Campfires are allowed that day.
Or you’re on some Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, with access to none of the above. **
That particular morning in question, as the outside world connected with the inside mind, we knew we were waking up in our comfy cosy beds in our UnityIB, on BLM land. Quite literally on the edge of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. WOW!
And sometimes on those unclear mornings, as the mind collects its random musings into focus, you realize EXACTLY where you are, and that there may just be an Adventure ahead. The excitement is the fuel that will literally jump you out of bed. Possibly even more potent than coffee?
Adventures are a funny thing, aren’t they? “Unusual or daring experiences” as defined by the dictionary, or perhaps, “a bold, usually exciting undertaking with uncertain outcomes”. I remember once reading: “Go on Adventures to find out who you are”. Isn’t that Spot On? Doing something new (not necessarily unusual or daring) certainly provide for the building blocks of confidence and empowerment in the becoming of you.
We didn’t set out to be Adventurers. With research came knowledge, with time came to experience and confidence. And as we met folks along the way and exchanged tales of “Oh, places we’ve been…”, and “Wow, the things they’ve seen…” Well, we got inspired, and then motivated, and then we kind of just… Became.
We often get asked:
“Well, aren’t you scared?”
Doing something different can certainly bring feelings of fear. And it’s certainly all about perspective. But we answer with a shake of the head:
“Not usually, no.”
I remember the first time we moved to a new house in a new province and walked the streets of our new neighbourhood. It was kind of scary, as we didn’t know anything or anyone. With time, the *fear* dissolved. Even then, when days of routine had set in, I always strived to seek new ways of expanding my horizons. Like taking a different route to work some mornings, *just for fun!* Adventure could be as simple as putting on your sneakers and going for a walk somewhere new to you. When was the last time you did something for the first time?
I remember the first time we stopped to overnight at a Wal-Mart. I have to confess that as both of us sat there, feeling totally weirded out. I mean, who sleeps in a parking lot? At Wal-Mart? Turns out, plenty of people do. As the evening sunset, dusk descended and filled the inside of the van with a bit of anxiety. Our overactive imaginations envisioned the worst of the worst as we peeked out our windows. There were dark shadows behind every person walking around, every moving car, and every noise we heard!
We always spend a few minutes sitting in our seats, feeling the vibe of the area. And if our views and our guts tell us that we’re uncomfortable? We move on! For example, there was this one time we were well parked, feeling comfortable and just settling down for the night when we heard noises just outside our bedroom window. OhOh! A truck had parked right beside us, the loud sounds of upbeat music had permeated our space and were shaking our walls. Shortly thereafter, a car joined the truck, there was a quick exchange of hands, and the car drove off. And then another one. And then a third one. We quickly moved to another area of the parking lot before we could see if there would be any more cars to count. And spent a perfectly comfortable night.
This Season we experienced firsthand the availability of BLM lands. Areas, that somehow, if but for a moment and certainly the first time we tried them, felt in their remoteness somewhat even scarier than the busyness of the box stores and truck stops we’d allowed ourselves to get accustomed to. Because sometimes, there feels a comfort in noise and numbers.
This time the intense sounds of silence, and the shadows of the trees felt just a little spooky.
But with time, that too became the new normal. And so we Adventure On.
It isn’t always all about having an Adventure, and certainly not to any unhealthy limits of your own tolerance. Our Adventures are not your Path to Follow. But we hope, in writing this, that they might inspire you to Adventure on your own Path.
We met fellow travellers on their way to bungee-jump off a bridge. Kudos to them, certainly not something either one of us would do, although we certainly feel the thrill when we helped them toast their achievements, what fun!
We went on what we thought would be a short walk three miles down the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. As we navigated the switchbacks, walking straight downwards, we got hotter and sweatier, knowing full well that when we turned around? We’d have to come straight back up! What a challenge lay ahead of us.
And that’s when we crossed paths with a group of ladies who were on their way up, looking just as hot and sweaty, and just as exhausted, if not more.
As our Paths crossed for a moment, we exchanged stories. Once a year the group of them get together for An Adventure, something they’ve been doing for years. This year? They were on their last legs (pardon the pun) of hiking the Rim-to-Rim Trail of the Grand Canyon. These ladies had started at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, descended down to the depths below, and were now emerging on the South Side. What an accomplishment! And who knew *that* was even a thing? Being avid hikers, we were certainly intrigued. With further research and planning, not to mention some training, *that* might just end up on our Bucket List!
Whenever we’re about to head out to do something new and different, we feel the familiar twinges of butterfly wings in our tummies. And although those twinges can be a little unnerving at first, they’re a great reminder that you’re alive. Heading out on an Adventure!
And as you go, you might notice that your breathing quickens. Sure it’s uncomfortable, you don’t know where things are, you’re not sure if you can do it. But your senses wake up!! Your muscles might be tense at first, but then somehow, they relax and you know what? That flutter of butterfly twinges? They’ve disappeared. As your eyes settle on what they’re seeing, you might notice that things seem brighter, more colourful? And perhaps later, at the end of it all, in the telling of tales and ensuing conversations with family and friends and fellow travellers? Why they might notice something different about you. They might just comment how you have a jig in your step, a hint of a song in your voice, an enthusiasm that is catchy!
Adventure is a Passion that’s Contagious.
One of the items we received from Leisure Travel Vans for writing our story was an LTV JournalBook.
And as I held the black-bound hardcover book in my hands, the empty lined pages stared solemnly back at me, I wondered just what I would do with it.
As boat owners & cruisers, one of the tasks of our Passages is to keep a LogBook. Mine happens to be a digitalized columnized record of departures and arrivals, miles travelled, places stayed. Engine hours, issues dealt with, and such. And that’s when I knew! I would do the same for our Adventures on Land!
I keep my JournalBook readily available on the Dash and I note the date we left, and where we stop. I record the Fuel Cost, and if I’m industrious enough, I’ll note the financials of that day. I note the cost of the campground. Or a Big Fat Zero with a smiley face gets jotted down if we’ve been Wally-Marting or BoonDocking. All of which will *someday* allow me to input those numbers and calculate just how much we’ve spent in a day, month, year or trip.
I also keep a record of maintenance *stuff*: for example, when we topped up with propane. And will highlight the day/place we crossed borders into the USA / Canada to make it all easier to find when need be.
But the best and my most favourite part of my JournalBook? When we’re spending time with folks, perhaps around the campfire sharing stories of respective Adventures, and I inevitably hand them my book and a pen, asking them to write a little something-something.
Sometimes they simply write their names and the date. And sometimes I get paragraphs full of words of times shared.
Inevitably sometime later, as I’m perusing the pages of my well used, dog-eared JournalBook? I find myself stopping to read those words… what great memories of great times, meeting great people, all of us out here living Adventures.
We look forward to crossing paths with you. And if we do, you can rest assured that we might just ask you to sign our Journal Book. And perhaps, you might just ask us to sign yours?
** Note: Some of the BLM lands we’ve been in, actually have allocated spaces and fire pits!