By Allen Hamrick
Today, we live in a world of uncertanity, and trying to keep a sound mind through all of the chaos of everything from politics to interest rates is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week hassle. Whether it’s jobs, homes or investments, our lives depend on the need for money and lots of it these days. The idea of an adventure, a reconnection to what we truly need, goes away with the evening’s dinner table budget meeting.
However, a sense of wonderlust still lives in the heart of everybody; our heritage demands it. We began this country with simple people who searched for new and greater places and things. They invented, and they were seekers. Our ancestors expanded beyond a caged in existence and tested the limits of their will and physical stamina. It seems as though those years were the best as now the lands and the mountains have all been explored and no new path for the nomadic heart exists.
While that may be so, in some respect, the opportunity to blaze new trails, whether in an urban lifestyle or wilderness life, still has merit. Unfamiliar lands that our ancestors braved all the elements to cross no longer exist, of course: somebody will have a deed I can guarantee. Since the 1890’s, this country has made sure that huge expanses of land remain in the condition that it was for centuries. From the Appalachin Trail to the great national parks, from Maine to Alaska, opportunities exist for the enjoyment of those that still live in need of a connection to the wild.
Many of the soul gripping books we read today are based on an out of the box journey going head to head with nature or some other notable venture. Our environment in this present day is set for us – sure we have weekend fun on side by sides, camping in mobile homes, fishing trips, and the occasional five mile hike. The quote ricocheting around in the work place most of the year is, “Man wasn’t meant to live like this,” and those who throw their hands in the air and say enough is enough listen to no one but that inner spirit that needs to roam. Adventure is described in Webster’s Dictionary as this, “an unusual and exciting hazardous experience or activity often in strange and unknown territory.” So, it is possible to design an adventure for yourself or your family that can fulfill the very definition of nomadic culture.
These days with the right amount of money we can have the time of our lives handed to us on a silver platter. We can sail down the New River in a raft of white capped waves, ski from the top of vertical mountains, be dropped off in the wilds with nothing but a knife, rope and a bicycle, grit it out in a triathlon or get dropped from a perfectly good plane, just to name a few. There is nothing however, that can match the primeval fresh scent of forest air and getting your boots on the ground and experiencing it. It is wild, untamed, often ferocious yet calming at the same time, where fear becomes maddening or will give way to something new. There is no reason that the time of exploration should be over, not even now because we haven’t seen it all. We need to get out and feel the sense of the unknown just so we can cope with the everyday goings on. Not only is it great exercise, but you never know what you may encounter.
Forget the “indoors man” mentality and get out there, the earth is constantly changing as things die and are reborn. Change is inevitable – the land changes, people change, age doesn’t pause in the years of our youth. One of the first things to do is get in good enough shape to tame mountains, ride the waves and sleep under the stars. Stop asking for directions; get a map and find the fishing spots and have a fish fry on the banks of a flowing stream. There is nothing like it. Going into the wilds and surviving, whether by choice or necessity, requires a different mindset and a different set of skills.
A nomadic life isn’t for everybody because it takes you way out of your comfort zone. Most people will not ever be in a situation that they would need the skills required for adventures in the wilderness but can survive weekend excursions. The best thing we can do is to learn these skills because it is never too late to get out into the wilds and start challenging yourself. Start small in your back yard and then hit the mountains. It’s a ton of fun and a lot of work all at the same time. Learn and practice the skills; you never know when you will need to use them, and you will be a better prepared person just for doing it.
Life is a single journey for all of us, and our ability to adapt and overcome has become a daily ritual that drags us down into a rut. We will prosper as long as there is neediness and destitution barking at our heels. Let’s not grow older and have no more sense than a goat; we have to get out of a box and look for the sun to rise. Age creeps up on us all too quickly, and the earth will swallow us up in time. However, it doesn’t have to be just yet.
We need to get back to believing that we are part of nature and the natural world and not its enemy. Let’s walk with a positive impact and welcome the opportunities. We are all nomads deep down who have been stuck behind a wall for too long. It’s time to get over it and get in touch with what we really are – wanderers, seekers and searchers. So, get out there as they say, and plant your boots on the ground, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you do, send in your story we would be glad to share it.