I have been wanting to write on adventures ever since I began the Reasons to Keep Living blog series, but a current photo didn’t arise until yesterday. Adventures, like the blog series itself, can be both big and small, simple and complex, and they differ from “travel” — which I wrote on two weeks ago — in that you don’t have to go anywhere to have an adventure; at least, you don’t have to go far.
This photo was taken yesterday, when I went on a two-hour-long bike ride to Springbank park and back, following the bike paths near my home. The day was verging on cold (about eight degrees Celsius), the sky was a wet grey, and, as you can see in the photo, all vegetation was naked and brown, beaten down by recently melted snow and a lack of sunlight. Despite all of this, and, might I add, an unsettling swampy odor drifting up from the river, I had the best time on my short bike trip that I have had in weeks. I only partly knew the way to my destination, and I had no idea how long it would take. After about forty-five minutes of biking I noticed Storybook Gardens on my left and realized I had made it, then proceeded to flop down on a bench and take the photo that you see here.
The ride back wasn’t nearly as exciting. I was dehydrated, my muscles were aching, my back was sore, and, worst of all, I knew the way. The definition of an adventure, I believe, is doing something you have never done before; it is beginning a journey, a project, a new way of living, without knowing how things will turn out. It is a risk, and it is usually something that scares you in one way or another.
The fear, though, is essential. Without it, whatever you are embarking on would be too comfortable, and it would no longer be an adventure. The fear makes it real. The fear makes it worthwhile.
But don’t worry, the fear won’t always be present. Throughout the duration of my bike ride, I was mostly just serenely puffing and pedaling away, looking to the left and right of me and taking everything in, catching snippets of conversations as I passed joggers and walkers. At times I didn’t know which path to take, and there was subtle fear in that, but most of the fear came before I even started the trip. Sitting comfortably in my room at home, the quiet words came pushing into the back of my brain the moment I thought up the idea to go on a long, Sunday afternoon bike ride: “What about all that reading you are supposed to be doing? What about your upcoming essay? You don’t have enough time.” What about this, what about that. My fear was mainly based in an anxiety to get things done, to BE PRODUCTIVE, and to not waste my Sunday afternoon. Your fear, when you embark on your own adventures, will be different. But it will always be conquerable.
In the old stories, adventures involved epic battles and dragons; nowadays, adventures still involve these things, the monsters have just put on different masks.
If you have a reason to keep living, whether it be big or small, simple or complex, send it with a photo and a brief explanation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your photo and writing will be featured on the Amber Typewriter in weeks to come!
To read the original post of Reasons to Keep Living, click here.