I want to be an adventurer, or maybe I always have been one and just want to do more. How do I know it, how did I figure it out? I think right now I’m measuring it against my two most recent regrets, encountered on a trip to kauai:
- I regret not jumping into this river (or off of this waterfall, depending on your perspective) and only filming my brother in law doing it. It didn’t even strike me at the time, and only later did I figure it out, and now I’ve missed the opportunity:
- I regret not doing a drift dive following the two boat dives I did while on vacation. I felt guilty about signing up for another dive and leaving my family for a day, so I didn’t do it; but now i feel I’ve really missed something.
These may sound like strange regrets to some, but I find myself seriously bummed out by them. This is not to say that I didn’t have fun with my family on my vacation, because I did; I just think I came up a bit short of where I could have, personally. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a midlife crisis, because this is kind of a long standing problem, and I think it’s just a symptom of the fact that I want to be an adventurer. So I’m re-purposing my blog to talk about that.
Local resident gets a cleaning
Where did this start? I’m not really sure. I was a pretty proper kid: a real conscience and sense of right and wrong and playing by the rules. The guilt I felt in not finishing a homework assignent because of procrastination (another fault) was crippling. I was so unwilling to step outside the lines that I never skipped a class in high school – not even once – and I didn’t take a drink of alcohol before the age of 19… In a province where the drinking age is 18! While I think some of these things served me well (I didn’t experience a dire hangover until the age of 19), I can’t help wondering now what I might have missed.
Luckily there have been people there to push me along the way. When I didn’t want to give my scout troop scarf to the duchess of York at the Canadian Scouting Jamboree, CJ89 (that scarf let me fit in with my troop, it was our identity!), my scouter looked at me like I was a proper dumbass and said “we’ll get you another scarf.” They did, and I met and talked to the duchess of York, and years later i got a phone call from my dad asking me why I was on TV talking to her when he saw me in a documentary. My choice would have voided that experience, and the duchess of York would have been denied her bright yellow scarf with the name “Rounding” written in sharpie behind the badge.
Out in the community, earnin’ my way to CJ.
Later, I pushed myself more effectively but still reached points where I’d balk. When I volunteered to help run the Eco-Challenge adventure race in 2002, people thought I was crazy, or they were congratulatory or amazed. The important piece was that it felt right to me, something i needed to do. Because it was in Fiji, I also decided to get my SCUBA certification. This garnered almost more reaction than the volunteer gig – it’s so dangerous (which, no)! My parents, always supportive, approved. It just seemed like the right course to me based on where I was to be traveling. A proper adventure done right.
The finish line – I didn’t cross it, but I helped it happen.
So where’s the balk? Well, there were a couple, and I’ll never forget.
The first happened outside a village called Waivaka in the interior of the island of Viti Levu. See, my job as a media volunteer meant that we were all over the island with journalists covering the event, and there was a checkpoint and mountain bike changeover there. We were hanging out and watching racers come through, and Mark Burnett (the producer, also for Survivor and The Apprentice, among others) turned to a bunch of us and said “so who’s staying the night?” None of us moved. All that was going through my head was the fact that i didn’t have my sleeping bag.
Dumbass! On a trip where i drove stick (i only had an automatic) on the wrong side of the road (British colony), dove with sharks, rode on helicopters between islands, and would eventually hike on glaciers, go canyoning and experience hang gliding above Queenstown, NZ, I couldn’t jump through a simple hoop to hang out with the producer of Survivor, medical staff, and villagers from Waivaka in a medical tent in the middle of Fiji for a night.
I should have stayed the night; Mark Burnett did.
The second balk is almost worse. With Eco Challenge finished, wrap up parties in full swing at the upscale sheraton Denarau resort, and a pack of young volunteers that included Survivor Season 1, 2, 3 and 4 alumni, a couple of volunteers approached me. They’d been asked to help crew a catamaran from Fiji to New Zealand. They asked me to join them. I told them I already had a plane ticket, so no. Dumbass! My stupid rule-following instincts. I was going to New Zealand anyway. Scouter Colin, where were you when I needed you most?
In a tragic (yet, wholly satisfying) twist of fate, thirteen years after saying no in Fiji I got a taste of what it might have been like to be on that crew. We did a cruise on a catamaran in Kauai and it was marvelous. The happiest I’ve been in a long time (and I’m a happy guy in general!). I could very realistically have been a sailor in a past life. I count this as a major lesson learned, even if it took thirteen years to come full circle.
Now as alluded to, I still had a marvelous time and grand adventures in the south Pacific in 2002 and most recently in Kauai, but how much richer could it have been? That’s what you’ll find here: me saying yes more than I have been. If done right, it’ll be me saying yes just a bit more than I maybe ought to. Engage the world and you’ll only grow from it. Time to act like a kid again.
Me and the boy enjoy a sea-borne sunset. Lesson learned.