Wild Roamers: Adventure is a Mindset
By: Melisa Dettbarn
My appetite for adventure started with an old tarp and a forest. As a kid, my brother and I crafted a tree fort in the woods behind our house, stretching a tarp among old trees and crooked branches to create a secret shelter. I spent copious time studying vines, hunting wild berries and following animal tracks and sounds in the sun, rain and snow. I found alien insects, newborn animals, rode my bike along railroad tracks and visited the secret trash dump found beyond our land. My world expanded with every careful observation and discovery, around every bend of a trail.
Adventure in the woods turned into adventures in the winding halls of college dorms, new relationships full of mystery, steps to an apartment in a new city, a train to Canada, walking meditation at a temple, tickets to see a band in a loud, dark club, a door to my classroom and even a car ride in labor to meet my children under the white hot lights of a hospital delivery room. Now, adventure has a rich, deeper, duality. Every new experience is lived twice- through my children’s eyes and from my own, aged vista. The smallest of details and the biggest of questions, surprising things I’d never see on my own are adventures anew illuminated by my children.
I’ve found adventure on the top of a mountain and on trips to the grocery store. I’ve met people with fascinating stories on a greyhound bus and at cancer treatment centers. I’ve discovered surprises under the rocks of a stream and at an elementary school band concert. These days, adventure is watching my daughter learn to play a new song by ear, a walk in a silent forest on snowshoes and learning to eat hot, garlic edamame tucked in a cozy basement restaurant. There’s always something to see, ask questions about or explore if you lead with an open heart and a hungry mind.
Adventure is a mindset who’s only constraint is curiosity. In a world where nothing is permanent, no moment will ever be the same again. Every experience from epic to mundane, painful to exhilarating, can be a unique opportunity to wonder and learn if you suspend expectations and look closer. Adventure is a fleeting opportunity to find out more, ask why and say yes more than no to the moment in front of you, no matter where you are. Life has been a mentor without match and I have been the luckiest of students.