I wouldn’t call myself an extreme adventurer, but I do like to do activities that some would consider a little crazy. For example, last weekend, I took my older Scouts (Venturers: 15 – 17 years-old) on a weekend camp-out.
We rode our bikes from the city to a campground approximately 20 kilometers away where we setup our tents and camp. Not too insane, right? Probably not, but it gave me a pretty good idea about traveling longer distances without a car (and wearing a pack).
Then, the next day we went white water rafting. This is an activity I last did when I was in elementary school more years ago than I would like to consider. None of my Scouts had ever done it before and I thought they would enjoy it.
We (wet)suited up, did our safety briefing and got out onto the river. For those of you who have done white water rafting, the river we were on has Class 1 – 4 rapids (number goes to Class 5 which are virtually impassible). That meant we were in for a wild ride in places. A couple of the guys were more than a little apprehensive so I gave them the whole speech on, “it’s good to do things that scare you.”
So on we went and everyone survived the rapids (and even had a good time doing it). Then we came to a spot where we could cliff jump.
Let me say right now, I’m not the biggest fan of heights. So, I decided to take my own advice and challenge myself with the jump on the higher of the two points. The point where we were jumping from was over 10 meters (30 feet) off the water. I got up to the spot, looked down and was ready to turn around and go home.
Instead, I forced myself to jump before I could think about it too much. From that I gained a slightly better understanding of gravity, a much better understanding of what “glacier-fed river” means AND how it feels to have all the breath blown out of my lungs. Oh yeah, and I have an appreciation for what cracked ribs feel like.
All that stuff pushed me out of my comfort zone (WAY out of it) and I have some new experiences I can fold into my writing.
It has also made suspension of believe a little more difficult for some movies (like Star Trek 2 when Kirk and Spock jump off the cliff to escape the natives and immediately swim down to the ship.)
I’m not saying you should jump off a cliff to get outside your zone of comfort, but do something, no matter how small that scares you to broaden your own horizons.
And with that, I think I will take another series of shallow breaths to ease my aching ribs.