Imagine standing at the edge of a river
As you look up and down the river you see people on inner-tubes and rafts riding the current having a great time. It looks like a wild ride and you want to join in. A few of the people look a little scared out there on the river and a couple have overturned and are working to climb back onto their rafts.
You hesitate, unsure why. Fear, yes…what if you overturn? What if the current is going too fast? Where should I join in? Upstream? Downstream?
Now, imagine this river is life and those on the river are riding it on a current of adventure. The people on their floats are having the ride of their life. They are traveling and mountain climbing and learning to dance in Argentina and drinking yak milk tea in Nepal and watching sunsets over a vineyard in Italy and scuba diving coral reefs and everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Some have overturned their floats and you notice one here and there swimming to the shore, but most all get back on. Some look scared. But the current is SO inviting, you simply know you must jump in.
But then, someone calls and you turn away from the bank. “Hey, don’t jump in, it’s dangerous and scary. What if you overturn? What if you go too fast.”
What if? What if? What if?
So you turn around, away from the river and listen to the caller and start thinking about the “What Ifs”. You begin to imagine everything that could possibly go wrong on the river and you begin to doubt.
Now there are groups of people all on the bank of the river talking about the current. Everyone is excited about the POSSIBILITY of jumping in but no one is doing it. In fact, all they are doing is watching everyone else and thinking how great it must be.
They are pulled to the river by their heart but stopped by their brain…..and stopped by those who call out “danger!” at the edge of the shore.
But they call out to those who are on the river. They call, “How’s the water?” The answer, “Incredible! Come on in!” But then they start to think that they really don’t know how to paddle or how to right the boat if it flips and mostly they have no idea how to steer it downstream and once in the current, they imagine getting back upstream is next to impossible.
What they don’t know … is that at first, the river people didn’t know how to do it either. It looks like they’ve been doing it since the dawn of time.
So those on the bank continue to sit on the bank thinking and thinking and thinking it through, and the current continues to pass by.
And those standing on the bank start to realize they have something in common. They have the desire to be on the river but a fear which holds them back. So they begin to gather on the bank to talk about the great times they will have once they finally jump into the river. They hold meetings and conferences and dream and dream. They invite those on the river to join them for the meetings and ask the river people to regale them with stories about the river. The river people come ashore to counsel and encourage those on the bank to join them. They offer to help them get in the water and show them how to paddle.
But the river people also know that sometimes one simply has to trust the river of adventure to create the path and not try to steer so hard. And this is hard for those on the bank to comprehend and it’s hard sometimes to trust in the river.
The river people then jump back into the river because the current is flowing and they long to be back in it. So they leave the people standing on the bank saying, “You really should jump in and I’ll help you as best I can, but….I’ve got to go”… the river is too strong a temptress.
So the people on the bank decide it’s time to jump into the river and they begin to plan. They plan and plan and plan and try to make the perfect plan. They want to jump in where the water is slow and easy and they can see a long flat stretch ahead of them. But perfect is the enemy of great and there is no perfect place to jump in because the river and the current is constantly in flux. And as those on the bank continue to plan, the river changes and then the planning must begin again to account for the change. And it never happens. Those on the bank stay dry and dream and then decide it’s simply too late.
But it’s not.
Stop dreaming, stop planning, stop over thinking.
In the current of adventure, any place is a good place to start, trust me, I know. And once you are in the river there will be places of strong current and places of lull, waterfalls that make your stomach drop and eddies pulling you backwards against the flow. The river is never dull, full of beauty and there is always something around the bend to explore.
You know that time you spend reading 10,000 travel and adventure blogs? Instead, spend it learning how to accumulate enough miles for your first RTW ticket and SET A DATE to jump in. You know that “How To” travel conference you are spending $1000 on so you can learn how to start your adventure? How about spending it on a ticket to Asia? You can fill a notebook with ideas by sitting in a conference room at a travel convention that will then rot on a shelf.
Ideas, plans and dreams are all great. But if they stay ideas, plans and dreams, they are worthless. You won’t understand adventure until you do it. You must turn ideas into something concrete. You must turn plans into hard and fast dates. You must turn dreams into tickets.
You’ll find a gazillion people out adventuring if you simply start.
And you will find the best paddlers on the river, not on the bank.
Choose. Move. Jump in.
Don’t wait another day.
The current of adventure is flowing.
Someone will catch you.