Seek Adventure Everyday.
BY KENNEDY DOLBY
“Any new trips coming up?”
This was the question I received often for a few years and still do sometimes. When I ran into old friends from high school or extended family members at the grocery store, they were usually surprised to see me because, according to my Instagram feed, I was usually out of the country on some grand adventure or another.
I come from a family of homebodies, but I’ve always been an adventure-seeker. In first grade, I remember doing a school play that was a spin-off of Dora the Explorer, and I got my chance to be “Kennedy the Explorer,” where I navigated jungles and mountains with my trusty map. My dream job growing up was to be a pilot and get to fly all around the world. Naturally, all of my spring breaks and summer vacations in high school were spent in other countries. My theory is that since I couldn’t travel as a kid, I felt the need to make up for lost time when I got older. I guess that’s why I didn’t think twice when I had the opportunity to move to South America to do missions work after finishing my senior year of high school.
Two weeks after finishing my senior year, I packed my life into two suitcases, hugged my friends and family goodbye, and hopped on a plane to Lima, Peru, where I would live for the next two years. As I got on the plane, I remember literally pinching myself because I had never been so excited about something in my entire life. In just a few hours, I would begin the greatest adventure of my life, and I couldn’t wait.
I remember my first few weeks of being in Peru. Everything was so new and exciting. I was learning a new language, meeting new people, and exploring new places. I got to see the ocean, try new forms of transportation, and learn the history of a new place. Every single day seemed like an adventure, until it didn’t.
The first little bit of doing something new is like a “honeymoon phase.” It’s still shiny, new, and exciting. But once you do something for long enough, it becomes routine, and routine is a hard thing to grapple with when you’re supposed to be on a grand adventure. Honestly, there were days in Peru when I got bored. When I imagined my time in Peru, I imagined myself transforming into the true “Kennedy the Explorer,” jungle, mountains, and all. Instead, the longer I stayed, the more my life actually looked a lot like it did back in Canada – I woke up, worked, went to Bible study or out for dinner with friends, repeat. Now, I’m not saying my time in Peru was bad. In fact, it was one of the most enriching seasons of my life. I’m saying that I had to learn a huge lesson if I was going to thrive there – you can seek out adventure by uprooting as much as you want, but eventually you have to plant roots in order to truly grow.
I’ve learned to love planting roots. Instead of constantly hopping on a plane to feel some kind of traveller’s high, I’ve learned that I can seek adventure in the everyday. So, whether you’re a homebody or an adventure-seeker, here are three ways I’ve learned to seek adventure everyday:
001: EXPRESS GRATITUDE
During those first few months in Peru, I remember feeling grateful for everything. I was grateful for the ocean, for the opportunity to take language classes, for the foods I got to eat, for the times I got to drink a vanilla frappuccino from Starbucks (even I need my Starbucks fix sometimes). When you’re grateful, you begin to recognize the gifts and opportunities you have here and now, instead of focusing on the things you’re not doing or the trips you’re not taking.
002: TRY NEW THINGS
Some of my favourite memories are from when I was trying something for the first time, like that time I took a Salsa class in high school or last summer when I went cliff-jumping for the first time. It could be something you fall in love with doing, or it could be something you decide to never do again. Adventure doesn’t need to be found thousands of kilometers away – it can be found right underneath your feet.
003: Recognize your small role in the bigger picture.
My life became so much richer once I learned how to recognize the way my small role in the world made a difference. Are you a stay-at-home-parent? You have the honour of raising little humans who will someday touch society. Are you an interior decorator? You have the joy of creating safe and welcoming spaces for people. Are you a student? You have the role of learning all that you can so that you can leave your mark on the world. When you realize that what you do matters, each day becomes a little bit more adventurous as you see the impact of your work.
Even life’s greatest adventures can become mundane. Instead of seeking adventure by uprooting, let’s embrace the soil that’s between our own two feet. Here’s to planting our roots deep and living out our greatest adventures here and now.