March 13, 2020
Written by Luke Whitmire
It is incredible to read and listen to the stories of outdoor adventurers that have been pushing the boundaries over the recent years. Names such as Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, and Colin O’Brady have become household names through their daring adventures and accomplishments in the outdoors. Why do their stories matter to us? Many of us will never accomplish what these professionals have, so what can we learn from them besides a cool story?
One of our values here at Outdoor Recreation is adventure. Adventure is a very vague word and can be used to describe everything from a daring new type of activity to a late-night run to Walmart with your friends, so let’s dig deeper into the word. Our department defines our adventure value by striving to use exciting undertakings to intentionally explore the people and places that surround us.
“We strive to use exciting undertakings to intentionally explore the people and places that surround us.”
-Outdoor Recreation Core Values-
It is important to recognize that this means that adventure is subjective to each person and will vary based on a person’s comfort levels. We see this often throughout our daily lives here at Outdoor Recreation. A great example is our zipline and high ropes course. Our zipline here gets many different reactions from many different people. To the experienced zipliner, our setup may not seem the most exciting, adventurous thing out there, and that’s okay. However, to someone who is afraid of heights and is uncomfortable with being suspended in the air, it can be extremely terrifying and adventurous! It is important to recognize that both of these experiences are valid and acceptable. If you are comfortable with it, seek something else out at a higher level that will be challenging for you! However, we must always remember not to look down on others based on what they are comfortable doing. We must always seek to challenge ourselves, whatever level we are at. The important thing is not the level activity you are doing, such as a calm paddle down the James River versus level four rapids, but the fact that you are seeking to challenge yourself and grow through adversity.
Adventure can teach you very important things. In order to challenge yourself and combat your fears, it requires self-discipline, to force yourself to continue through the fear and adversity. It requires the ability to set goals and persevere to follow through on those goals. These lessons can be applied in all areas of our lives. The area you want to challenge yourself in may not even be in the outdoors and it may not even be something you are afraid of! Maybe you want to be more consistent in exercising or maybe you want to read more. Whatever your goals may be, the self-discipline and goal accomplishing mindset that can be learned in the outdoors is applicable to you no matter where you go in life!That’s why we should pay attention to things like Collin O’Brady’s crossing of the Antarctic or Alex Honnold’s free solo climb of El Capitan.
What’s your El Capitan? What’s something that sounds absolutely crazy, yet is attainable through hard work and a willingness to push yourself? The best way to grow, both in the outdoors and in your everyday life, is to seek out adventure and to be uncomfortable. So, face that fear, go on that new trip, and seek out adventure every chance you get. Get uncomfortable.