adventure awaits.

Unfortunately for us, the most common question a stranger will inquire about us is “What do you do for a living?/What are you studying?” (if you’re a student). Why is this unfortunate? Because it indirectly means they’re judging you. Even with the most kind and naive intentions, this question is forming the basis of other’s opinion about you. Other than your name, it is what people associate you by. However, I could care less about what someone does for a living, I want to know their passions, which might be what they do for a living, but it might not be. I’m curious about what makes their heart beat fast and what they could talk for hours about without taking a breath. Anyway, what’s more important to me is where you’ve been and what you’ve seen. Your adventures. Your experiences are far more valuable than money. So, if you want to have adventures, let me explain some basic rules.

  1. Having adventures does not mean you have to travel somewhere far away.                         …Or actually travel at all. Although at some point in your life you should travel far, not all your adventures have to be somewhere on the other side of the world. To me, adventures can be discovering something that has be right in front of your eyes, just looking at it in a new way.
  2.  Don’t go to see something specific, go and discover and look beyond what you’re expecting.                                                                                                                                                   Don’t go to see, go AND see. Often when we have plans to travel, we also have expectations. Expectations and planning can give us a basis for what our adventure will entail, but don’t make an itinerary. Adventuring involves exploring, trying new things, and looking beyond what you’re expecting to see to find the extraordinary.
  3.  Don’t limit yourself.                                                                                                                       The point of adventuring is going beyond what you would experience in a normal day. So don’t apply any limitations. Try things that scare you. Try things that put you out of your comfort zone. More often than not, you’ll probably surprise yourself with your ability to learn a new skill or do something you’ve never done before.
  4. Don’t go with predetermined expectations.                                                                        There is no possible way to expect or predict what you will see and discover, the magnitude is unfathomable until you experience it in real life. So don’t even bother coming with prepared itineraries or images of where you’re going. The fact is that your plans will change. It is inevitable. They an change for a multitude of reasons, most of which are out of your control. So instead of setting your minute-to-minute plans up for failure, don’t make any, especially if your one of those people that gets upset when things don’t go according to plan.
  5. You can’t plan fun.                                                                                                                               It is true. Enter each new opportunity with an open mind, even if it seems like something you normally wouldn’t do, it might be really fun. It might also suck but you will never know unless you embrace every opportunity that comes your way. Some of the most fun you’ll have might be not really doing anything at all but simply having a mini adventure with awesome people that make you laugh.
  6. Do something you’ve never done before.                                                                                 The key to a fulfilled life, at least in my opinion, is having a balance between change and routine. When you’re adventuring, embrace change. Throw your routine out the window for  at least a few hours. Try living like someone else. Or try a new flavor of ice cream (because, let’s be honest, there’s not a bad one). Learn a new language, or at least a few words. Try painting. And if you’re already a painter, try a new medium. Listen to a band you’ve never heard before, preferably one that isn’t widely known. Adventure can be anything, but once it becomes a new norm for you, find something else new to try.
  7. See old things in a new way.                                                                                                             So maybe you’re in desperate need of an adventure but don’t have the opportunity to even leave your house. Fear not! One of the most important aspects of adventuring is clearing your mind of the preconceived and opening doors to new ways of thought. If you’re stuck at home, look out your window. I bet there are things you’ve looked at a million times but have never seen. Take some time to notice what is around you. The sad part about life is that beautiful things happen all around us, natural phenomena so perfect and extraordinary that it takes your breath away. These things will continue to happen whether your  notice them or not. They are always happening at a constant pace and they don’t stop if you’re too busy to notice them. Maybe wake up a little earlier to watch the sun rise. Or take a moment and just watch as it’s raining. Listen to the birds chirp (you’ll miss them when they’re gone for the winter).

The recipe for adventure can be as simple or as complex as you can make it. And I urge you to have adventures, both big and small. Never let a busy and monotonous schedule keep you trapped inside a cage from which you feel you cannot escape. The hope is that we have the power to choose our own adventures. So, go!

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time your spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac

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Feel. Struggle. Be. (without the whole world watching)

In an image-obsessed world we tend to try to capture who we are with pictures or words. Our posts aren’t going to accurately reflect who we actually are. How naive of us to think that we can define ourselves with such concrete and subjective measures? A word has a meaning that remains the same forever, it might have slightly different connotations to different people but its overall definition remains the same. Pictures are just a screenshot of a moment from a single viewpoint in time. There is so much you can’t see in pictures. A picture can’t compare to reality because it’s missing so much. I think pictures have their purpose and I love pictures because they allow us to remember important moments in our lives. They act as a trigger to meaningful memories. They wont have this effect on others though. They can’t convey the feelings you have felt from those moments or the atmosphere of where the picture was taken.

Its those things that define us. Experiences, emotions, thoughts, and human relationships are what make us who we are. The most important moments in your life are going to be little and they aren’t going to mean anything to others. We need to stop sacrificing experiences by trying to capture the moment. If you’re at a concert. listen to the music. Let it surround you and fill your whole body. Pictures and videos cannot recreate the the atmosphere of the crowd or the booming bass in your chest.

If you’re outside, enjoy what’s around you. Notice details you’ve overlooked previously. Think of everything you don’t even know exists because you’ve disregarded it previously. You may have seen something many times or walked past it, but have you really seen it? Notice the way the veins of every leaf branch out from the center and how beautiful nature is. Notice the pattern and texture of the bark on the trees. Notice how when you look into the sky, nothing lies between your eyes and outer space, try to fathom ho much space that is. Notice how the wind feels against your face when you’re riding your bike. See things without preconceived definitions, see them like you’re seeing them for the first time. Question and explore.

Tell the people that mean the most to you how much you appreciate who they are, but don’t tell the whole world. Why would the whole world need to know? Proving to the rest of the world how you feel about people takes away from their importance. Have meaningful conversation. There isn’t a point in being something you’re not.

Our world is fast-paced and busy. We often don’t have time for ourselves, so when we do get that rare opportunity, don’t waste it by taking pictures, especially if those pictures are going to be used to make people have a certain image of yourself. You know who you are and the people that mean the most to you know too. Everyone else doesn’t deserve to see how special you are. You’re a combination of every feeling you’ve ever had. There is a part of you that comes from those nights when you sit alone and think. There is a part of you that comes from little moments you’ve experienced when no on is around. Humans are complex and intricate, even though most of the time we like to push that part out of ourselves in attempts to provide an image people will desire. We like to pretend we don’t feel, because that makes us look vulnerable. We like to pretend we don’t have struggles because that makes us look weak. We like to pretend that we’re not different. Feel. Struggle. Be. And the whole world doesn’t need to see you do it.

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Regardless of what happens today, make it great. Happy Monday, friends.

Idealism vs. Practicality

This is a war I face everyday. It’s a tight war, it isn’t a battle where one side clearly has the upper hand. And I’m really stuck. Do I do what love? Or do I do what is practical? If only I was involved, the choice would be easy. But I am not the only one involved. There is money to worry about and time and the job market and a lot of other shit that makes my decision seem like either way I chose, it will be wrong.

One of the things I do when I don’t know something is I listen to other people, I see what they have experienced. I’ve listened to people say to follow the idealism route, the route that won’t make you rich but will make you happy. They tell you to live in the moment and love what you do. Then I hear the people that say, “You’re never going to love what you do, at least not all of the time.”

I know that I in no way have enough life experience to give anyone advice on this matter but I think the decision isn’t as two sided as I like to think it is. Practicality? Who is to tell me whether or not I’m living a practical life. To me, practicality is subjective. Maybe some people think it’s practical to go to college and earn a four-year degree and then immediately get married and have kids, all while having a stable and financially secure job. Although this seems pretty practical to me, it might not be everyone’s definition of practicality. Some people thrive on financial security and need that in their life while others accept the fact that they’re going to have to live on less while they pay for things like traveling and higher education. Idealism on the other hand, although subjective, can also be practical. I still think that’s possible! I’m not trying to be naive, I know everyday can’t be amazing because that would actually take away from your really good days but I do think that there is a way to made your version of ideal, practical. It might take some thinking, it’s not going to be a direct route or the same one that everyone takes.

I’m inspired by the people living a idealistic life and when I hear about them I begin to think it would be possible for me. When I hear about people who took on the world head on and found a purpose doing what they love , I realize it is possible. Find those people and listen to them. Find a role model let them help you.

Right now, I don’t have a plan anymore. I can’t tell you where I’ll be in ten years but that’s exciting. I’m learning so much and actually enjoying it. I actually have time to explore and learn and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. Before I reached this conclusion though, I was scared. The unknown used to scare me but now I realize it is more scary to stay on a path I knew wasn’t for me.

So I think our new goal shouldn’t be deciding which one we should choose. We should have a goal to find a way to make our version of ideal practical and to do so we might even need to adjust our definition of practicality.

A Little Unrealistic

Have you ever watched your favorite movie or TV show and after it left you awestruck, you came to the realization that it’s not real. We don’t want to believe that the characters are only actors because we get emotionally attached. As pathetic as that sounds, and I’m really not that much of TV watcher, it sometimes makes me sad to remember that the surgeons on Grey’s Anatomy aren’t actually saving lives and they aren’t even real doctors. The lives they play are so much more interesting than the truth, which is that series of theatrical illusions create the atmosphere of a surgery and talented actors perform convincing roles of actual medical practices. The believable young child inside of me holds on to the idea that the medical miracles and the relationships are reality. This is just one example.

This is not the only aspect of life in which we want to believe fantasy. Even if it’s not as evident as television. The reality of life is that is isn’t going to be interesting, at least not all of the time. When we have a goal, we often think of only the end result, because that is the best part! We never think about the sometimes millions of steps that it takes to get there. We only look at the top of the mountain, even if we are still at the base of the mountain, 12,000 feet below the peak. Even if we have no idea when or how we will get there I think everyone has a “dream house” or a “dream job”. I am nineteen and a college student, I don’t have any money and any money I do have is going to pay for education, yet I know what kind of counter tops and cabinets I want in my “dream kitchen” (Thanks to my sister for marathon watching HGTV ). I have no idea how I will ever get to the position where I will be able to create my dream kitchen, it might be never, but again, I am only thinking of the end result.

I am a firm believer in dreaming without limits and I think we all need to have fantasies in our head, even if we know they will never become reality because it instills imagination in the adult thought process which is so often ripped from our minds. The science behind things, the realities of how life works takes our imaginations and rips them to shreds. Sometimes I wish I still had the child-like ideas that scientific processes are magic and just happen, because that is so much more interesting and fun than learning the theories and formulas behind everyday phenomenon.

Because the thing that we might often forget is that the bigger we dream, the harder is to get there. And there will be those nights or days or even brief moments where we will feel lost or forget why or what it is we’re working for. So, continue to dream, even at all the wrong times, just do it. I find it instills inspiration in me and also takes your mind away from reality for a moment, because sometimes it’s really hard and reality can be brutal and unfair.

I guess what I’m saying is that in a brutally realistic world, it is okay, rewarding even, to be a little unrealistic once in awhile. Even if it’s just for a few moments.

This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies and I think it fits with this post, at least a little.

So dare to dream. Dream your wildest dreams. You can climb the highest mountain. You can drown in a teacup, if you find a big enough teacup. And if someone tells you that you can’t do something, you say, ‘Yes I can. ‘Cause I’m doing it right now!’ -Barry, Dinner for Schmucks

When I Grow Up…

Why do we have the dreams that we do? When I say dream, I use the term loosely, in a sense of not only physical aspirations, but also what kind of person we want to be and what kind of things we want to have done at the end of our lives. I’m in the process of removing from my mind from the idea that career goals need to facilitate our entire lives so I was thinking about not only what I want to be when I grow up but who I want to be.

And at the same moment as I had these thoughts, I then noticed a phrase we often use too much without it having any clarified definition. The phrase is “…when I grow up.” I have determined that I should probably stop using this phrase because technically from a legal standpoint, I am an adult. I don’t feel like one though. When we ask young children what they want to do when they grow up, they say big things. They stretch their imagination to the farthest point and they actually believe with everything inside of them that they can do it. They are the ones who have it right. I’m not sure at what point we begin disbelieving in ourselves or when we begin to let others influence our opinion of what we think we can do, but it doesn’t take long. Then we grow up a little bit and we start to think that adulthood comes suddenly one day, like as soon as you reach your eighteenth birthday, you’ll know exactly what it is you are going to with your life and who you’ll do it with. But sadly that’s not true either. I don’t know when adulthood truly begins but I do know that it doesn’t come all at once. We grow when we don’t notice we are growing and to be honest, I don’t think I ever want to stop growing. I definitely have goals I want to reach but I would like to consider those stepping stone for further growth. I don’t think anyone aspires to land their dream job and then never get promoted. Or be able to run ten miles and then never go any further. So don’t think that if you reach one goal, although you’ll feel immensely proud, that you’ll be forever satisfied. This thought isn’t depressing. I don’t want to come off as saying that you’ll never reach fulfillment in life and that life is just a series of lists of goals that you have to achieve, but just that you might reach it in other ways than you initially imagined, and that you have the opportunity to continue to reach it not only when you become an adult but all through adulthood as well.

I know nothing with any certainty. But the sight of the stars makes me dream.” -Vincent van Gogh