The word “adventure” likely conjures up images of remote locales and dangerous feats, but not all adventure involves perilous stunts.
Adventure simply means “to proceed despite risk”. While risk implies potential loss and does include the possibility of bodily harm, I would also suggest that there is an actual beneficial loss – the letting go of our own limiting beliefs about what we believe is possible for ourselves.
Don’t believe everything you believe
Even though I had participated in organized sports from as early as age five, as a youngster, I was informed by well-meaning adults that I was more of a “bookworm” person than an “outdoorsy” one. While it is true I devoured any reading material I could get my hands on and loved school more than almost everyone, I also accepted the label of “not outdoorsy” as fact. For the next two decades of my life, I believed that story about myself.
As it goes, my life experiences were created from my stories. I struggled with being in nature. As an example, I have less-than-fond memories of my Grandpa taking me on fishing trips – bushwhacking down steep cutbanks on blistering hot summer days, having to machete through thick brush, getting scratched by thorny plants, swarmed by biting flies, only to find our way to the riverbank where I would then get frustrated by tangling my rod in the trees or snagging my hook in the rocks. Nowadays, I would have a hearty laugh about the adventure of it all. Back then, I was not laughing. It hurts my heart to think of this as my Grandpa was passionate about the great outdoors and was taking me fishing because he loved me. But my limited perspective prevented me from enjoying this experience with him.
You are who you choose to be
I’ve always been an adventurous spirit in terms of how I inwardly approach the world. To have created and operated four different businesses over the last 18 years has required me to take many mental and emotional risks, however, historically I have been less comfortable with physical risk. In recent years, though, it has been through my earthly adventures that I have most expanded my own boundaries of what I believe I am capable of. Earlier in life, I had been operating under a false premise that a person had to choose between being “smart” or “active”. It seems ridiculous as I write that now. Obviously, there is no limitation to who we are. We can choose to express as many aspects of our being as we desire. Once I made a decision I wanted to be “outdoorsy”, I eased myself into activity starting with those with low barriers to entry such as hiking and snowshoeing.
My transformation was accelerated when I moved to Bowen Island because of my ability to live immersed in nature. Right outside my door are dense rainforest, awe-inspiring mountains, and the ever-inviting sea. This environment is ripe with ample opportunity for outdoor activity – everything from standup paddleboarding to foraging to rock climbing and so much more. Outdoor adventure has become a part of my daily life. I had never imagined that one day I would summit six mountains in eight days, fall in love with slacklining, or be can’t-sleep excited about winter camping on a cross-country ski trip.
What you have to gain
I believe playing outside has brought out the best in me and I believe it can do the same for others. Adventure has helped me:
• Become physically stronger and more fit
• Find peace by being more willing to let go of control (Mother Nature, she’s in charge)
• Face adversity with more humour (sometimes all one can do is laugh)
• Better utilize my strengths
• Trust myself
• Find coping mechanisms for stress
• Enhance my mental clarity
• Accept that sometimes life is hard and that’s just fine
• Acknowledge that we live in an abundant world
• Appreciate the beauty that is everywhere
• Get excited about waking up every day
Sure, adventure involves risk and does mean potential loss, but it more so means that we have everything to gain by releasing our self-imposed limitations about who we are.
What does adventure mean to you?
Kiley believes adventure brings out the best in her and it has the capacity to do the same for others.