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Why You Shouldn't Let Doubt and Fear Keep You from a Life of Adventure

The truth is, you're holding yourself back.

By: Riccardo Marino + Save to a List

It is in our nature to be afraid, to doubt, to be insecure. Just as much as it’s in our nature to explore the unknown. Oddly these two natural instincts seem to contradict each other. The truth is these facts of life couldn’t be more essential to one another. This is something I have learned throughout my travels over the past few years. Though the growth I have experienced can’t be measured in what most people call the “real world”. I don’t have a degree in something I likely wouldn’t pursue, I don’t own a shiny new car with $300 monthly payments, and security in attaining a career with a $100k salary is far from a future goal of mine. These ideals didn’t just effortlessly escape my mind. I chose to sacrifice all of them, and did so simultaneously with each adventure I pursued. We are all raised with a similar expectation from society, but it was only until I had left society that I could see clearly. 

The defining moment of this change in mindset was a month shy of my 21st birthday in May of 2013, after my first visit to Havasu Falls. The only way I can explain this place is an anomaly of nature. A tributary of turquoise water endlessly cutting into the red sediment of the Grand Canyon. Continuously cascading into pools that dreams are made of, until finally reaching the confluence of the Colorado River. Bringing to life a vibrant array of vegetation that clutches to the ground and walls of the arid sandstone. It truly is paradise and truly is a pain in the ass to visit, but thankfully so. After 2 years of doubt and persistence, 4 months of anticipation, and 14 hours of driving to the middle of nowhere, eleven miles of blistering hot desert was all that stood between the oasis and I. At the time I wasn’t a very experienced backpacker and some of the 9 friends joining me had never been at all. Despite all the odds, we made it. Our reward, a heavenly campsite perched atop a sheer cliff where water plummeted 200 vertical feet into the depths below. After four unforgettable days of endless cliff jumping under the hot sun and skinny dipping by moonlight, we exited in style. Rising out of the Grand Canyon by helicopter only to be safely deposited where it all began. Until that point in my life I hadn’t put as much effort into anything else than I had that trip. I received no college credit, offered no job, and had spent less money than you would on a one way ticket to Hawaii. After all of the doubt I had overcome I received nothing tangible; what I was left with was something much more valuable, the passion for adventure. 

A big factor I see in others interested in a life of adventure is the reluctancy to commit. The fear that you have to dedicate so much in advance to simply visit a place. Doubt thrives on this fear you create, further disinclining you take the risk of pursuing the endeavor. So what do you do instead? Continue the futile redundancy of an existence deprived of excitement? Pretend that the slightest change in your boring daily routine is adequate enough to satisfy your needs? If you continue down this path your jealousy will only grow of those out there indulging in the life you wished you lived. This rises the question, do those people even experience doubt and fear? I think I can speak for all of them when I say that yes we do, but only by embracing these facets and visualizing them as obstacles to overcome is when the reward presents itself. The prize awaiting you on your travels is the purest form of excitement that is rarely encountered in the “real world”. This exhilaration is all of the sudden at your finger tips and around every corner in abundance. Stimulating your every sense and captivating your every thought until finally you realize that you are addicted to this lifestyle. 

Still to this day fear exists in my travels, it's often unescapable. I’ve endured life threatening lightning storms that have trapped me at nearly 13,000 feet. Walked for 40 days through the Colorado Rockies, tackling 30 mile stretches that potentially had no water sources to refill my supply. Ridden on boats to cross international boarders where if things went wrong there would be no one coming to my rescue, and risked my safety for a night of unforgettable romance on the beaches of Nicaragua. Just to skinny dip, wake up with sand in my hair, and tell one hell of story. You wonder, why would you put yourself in such dangerous situations? In my defense I live by the belief that you are never truly "safe". Life is unpredictable, so why not live every moment like it's your last? I know a girl who during her serving shift almost got killed by a car crashing through the walls of the restaurant. Let me give you a tip (pun intended), stop basing your life decisions on doubt and fear. The moment you flip your perception on these inevitable feelings instead of running away from them, is the moment your bags will be packed and you will be looking at your one way ticket to my real world.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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