An adventurous start

I was raised to love adventure. Although I was born in LaGrande, Oregon, it was  before my first birthday that my parents packed up 17 boxes, 3 kids and a cat and headed for a new life in Alaska. My parents were seeking employment opportunities, they weren’t adventure junkies. It was through proxy of the surroundings that our life inherently became intertwined with an outdoor adventure lifestyle. From substance fishing and razor back clamming on the rugged beaches of the Kenai Peninsula, to my dad  shooting moose in the backyard, we used the land and resources to fill the freezer for our family of six. Adventures were natural, a way of life.. 

I began traveling internationally when I was around 15 years old. It was through my church at the time (post about spiritual recovery coming in the future!). And although there are plenty of memories of homesickness while living in tents in the boondocks of Thailand for over 2 months, once I started seeing the world with all the beautiful places and people, I was hooked. I felt comfortable going outside of my normal environment, experiencing other cultures and areas of the globe. 

Why did the adventures stop?

Did I actually stop adventuring, or did I stop finding enjoyment in life and all its adventures, great or small? 

Before I began healing, I was still returning to AK to fish and hike. I was still exploring new places like Jamaica, Cuba, and Europe……..but life overall felt different. It was clouded with dark layers of secret heaviness. Drama that happened behind closed doors. The kind of drama that loved ones of addicts know and understand. 

A chaotic fire, with raging winds that carry the sparks into all aspects of living. Sometimes the fire is raging hot and flames are high, other times the fire is subdued, but the hot coals are still lingering, creating damage beneath the surface. A slow progression into darkness, into a totally charred forest……full of seething anger, bitterness, confusion, despair, overwhelm, shame. 

A struggle that slowly smothered  my enjoyment for life. All the parts of adventure that used to bring joy, now clouded in chaos. Life and adventures were still going on around me, but I was not partaking with the same clear, excited, joyful heart. 

An overarching spiral of blahness increased, and my “old me”- vibrant, adventure seeking, independent, full of hope and self confidence, was nearly completely hidden from myself……..even if others didn’t seem to notice. I noticed. I longed for the excitement and passion I once held for adventures and life. 

Why are adventures important to our wellbeing?

Why did I feel the effects of lack-of-adventure so tremendously? Adventure opens us up to new experiences, refuels our connection to nature, people and places, replenishes our spirits, fights off stagnation and encourages growth, but most importantly…….adventures are meant to help us feel good. 

Dang, I no longer felt good, even within adventures. Let me not be superficial, I still liked to eat chocolate cake, swim in the ocean, and see old friends…….but there was a dullness. A numbness grew. Behind each adventure, there was a fear of the unknown chaos that could rise up and “destroy” the adventure within a moments notice. 

An Adventure Everyday

Atlas my recovery began, check out my yoga page for more info on the start of the journey.  

The journey back to adventure began with small efforts everyday to find adventure in the present day. The struggle was not in the specific adventures, but in rewiring my mind to find joy in each day, and each day held adventures that were a delight. I would write in my list of todo…….”find adventure”. There were no rules attached, and I didn’t immediately look at mundane tasks and think, “WOW this is great Heidi, what an adventure we are having today.” 

  • First, at the end of the day I would reflect back to my list and find what could have been an adventure. That’s how it started. 
  • Then I began to notice throughout the day that I was in the middle of an adventure, and I could write the event down on my list that evening.  For example, I’m at the dog park and the wind and snow are swirling completely around me, the dog is running like an excited spastic child, it feels like a scene from a movie, that would be tagged as an adventure. Or, a simple stop at the coffee shop with my journal,  a time of connection to other people, exchanging smiles, noticing local art on the walls, sipping fresh coffee, writing. I slowly noticed life a bit more “adventure filled”.
  • After that I was able to start searching out adventures with intentionality. Making specific plans to stop by a new walking path in town, visit a small museum, drive to the mountains and sit. Little efforts to reclaim the joy in exploring life. 

It has been 10,000 little steps, one each day, that has helped navigate my mind back to a position where I have a more awakened appreciation of life. Don’t get me wrong, I still get lost in the business of life, forgetting to be present and rushing around, but I can recalibrate more quickly now. And the most rewarding part of my efforts………even when the chaos of living around addiction is relentless, I know life is full of adventure, and I can choose to partake, or be smothered by the drama. I have a choice. And now, more often than not, I choose to see life in all its beauty. I have retrained  myself to connect to the abundant exploration, both large and small.

Next, explore the post WHY KILIMANJARO?  See how BIG I have learned to adventure again! 

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