When legendary travel writer Don George asked me to become a contributor to the Adventure Collection blog, I laughed.
I am not what you’d call an outdoors woman. Let other travel writers mock terms like “glamping;” I see tricked out cabins and outdoor excursions that include wine with dinner as unalienable rights, not luxuries. I would never take a bike trip without checking to see how often I could bum a ride in the escort van. Oh, and regular readers know that I get sick when I’m on the road – often.
I wasn’t always like this. When I was younger, I lived life with a little less maintenance, a lot more bravado. In the days before the Internet made keeping in touch as easy as pushing a button, I took off for months at a time, my only address an American Express office where I’d pick up mail every six weeks. I hitchhiked across countries with people I barely knew, picked up jobs that paid beer money. I cringe now at the worry that I must have put my parents through.
During this time, I always wondered why it seemed that the “adults” around me seemed so stuck in their ways. I vowed never to become a cubicle worker, to live for a paycheck instead of a passion. And I believed for most of my 20-year newspaper career that I accomplished that.
But it turns out that I didn’t leave fear behind. Although I loved my work, journalism turned out to be as much of a crutch as any office job. I hid behind bylines and third person narratives, rarely showing the readers what I really believed. I worried incessantly about what my coworkers thought of me, of what my standing was within the profession. Even now, most people would be shocked if they knew how much I shy away from controversial subjects, revealing encounters, situations where I might look silly. I’m scared, much of the time.
Perhaps that’s the purpose of this new gig. I want to reconnect with my younger self, the one who approached the world as a giddy playground, the person who wasn’t afraid to befriend strangers and jump into new experiences. I want to show others – and myself – that you don’t have to be a buff beauty to enjoy the outdoors, that taking chances doesn’t have an age limit. After all, adventure isn’t defined by whitewater and black diamond ski runs. It’s by not being afraid to grow.
Maybe my journey will help you too.
Besides Don, who is the Adventure Collection’s big enchilada, other contributors include noted magazine writer and blogger Everett Potter, photographer Rick Sammon, and family travel expert Jamie Pearson.