Adventure, The Heroic Life

Sometimes you stand alone

Photo credit: “Venture” by orangeacid

Adventure is a way of life. It is putting your ideas ahead of your abilities, and your dreams ahead of your fears.

Before you begin to adventure you are mocked, judged, criticized: that will never work! But once you take your first step the whole world is rooting for you, the people you meet are amazed, they want you to succeed.

Not every single one of them, but enough.

Along your way you’ll find the lowest times, the deepest pains, fears in your soul that you did not know you harbored. You will look around, gasping, for anyone to blame—and there will only be yourself.

At these times you must pull forward, one hand over one hand, until you can walk again. You will want to give up, but adventure has its own siren call, and you will perhaps keep going. First you must forgive yourself.

You will meet companions. Some whom you trust, some whom you don’t; some likable and some grotesque; you will learn to check your judgment, to silence it, and not to mock others as you were once mocked. Sometimes the people least like yourself will be the ones you love the most.

You will enjoy nights of fatal bliss, nights beside a friend you will never see again: one you understand perfectly, and who understands you. You will speak in hushed tones like two thieves planning conquest. And you will know that, no matter where you go, you will always find your kin.

And when you kiss! When you kiss, it will never be halfway. You will grab them and possess each other.

Then you will learn to talk to storms, winds, streams, and wooded glens: the world will become an old chum, a well-known companion in her own right. You will learn her temperaments, and speak to her not as shaman but as lover. Her rhythms will beat warm against your skin, her temperaments endearing.

The world has both good and bad. When others run in fear, you will walk peacefully toward the wind.

And your fearlessness comes in. Not rashness but a knowing smile. You pull the arrow from your side and tend your sewing kit. You give shelter to those who shrink, you forgive those who run. Sometimes you stand alone, sometimes you are creatures of legend.

This is a simple process. It is not elusive. Adventure gives you hardship, victory, and unshakable peace. It is the practice of heroes.

Can anyone adventure? Yes but—no one will ask you. Every force will hold you back except your heart. If your heart aches for it, the door is open. Adventure is open.

It is the practice of heroes.

You might also enjoy my essay The day I had nothing left.


18 thoughts on “Sometimes you stand alone

  1. Justina says:

    I don’t adventure — not in the sense of travel.

    I’m not ready right now – I have responsibilities to family, I don’t have means of earning income outside of a office job.

    But as you say adventure is “putting your ideas ahead of your abilities, and your dreams ahead of your fears.”

    …my adventure is to be able to be a freelance graphic designer (idea wayyyy ahead of ability :) )and to one day move to Scandinavia for a few years (dream ahead of fear).


      • Justina says:

        Well, for freelancing, I’m really not sure I haven’t ever got a freelance request — but I’m finally building my portfolio site :)

        Once it’s up, I’ll put myself out there informing people I know (I know less than 5 folks well…but thats an incentive to ask people I do meet sometimes lol!) that I’m available to freelance and to spread the word. :)

        Stuff like “How much should I charge?”, I’ll figure out…people on the internet are awesome

        As for moving, hopefully in 5 years time, starting with visits starting 2 years from now. :D Now is “gathering funds+responsibly untangling myself from family obligations” :)

        I guess I haven’t “stepped out of the door” yet but am making a list of items to carry in my metaphorical backpack? :D

        • That’s really great Justina. You are doing it!

          One thing I have learned from experience: prospect. I will typically email 20-40 marketing companies to get a single client. Of course, if I do a good job for them they become a recurring gig, so I really don’t spend that much time hunting for clients. But my first few months of prospecting involved hours a week of googling companies, and emailing or using their contact form to offer my services.

          • Justina says:

            I haven’t thought about prospecting, thanks for that! :) (I was thinking of doing spec work and then realised how that can be really bad, and then felt stuck)

            Part of it is *huge* fear of not being good enough, fearing rejection etc but your blog have shown me that it’s normal — it all boils down to fear of rejection and fear of failure.

            But somewhere there must be people who don’t need an established player, who maybe just need a simple logo, poster or banner for cheap and thats where I can come in as I start off with no “real” work.

            Already I have had people I know pooh-poohing my idea (and I’m socially isolated lol) even if I’m planning this with the relative safety net of a office job — but I dream and even when I feel I am worth nothing, I still dream with a longing that makes me wake up crying.

            I could very well crash and burn and all of them will say “I told you so” but then I know I must try or else I will regret not trying. :)

            You took a huge huge step, and its taken you so so so far. The rough times must suck more than I can imagine (I have never been in physical/financial need) so much but a part of me thinks that the pain must beat feeling “I live a meaningless life untrue to my values”

            I really appreciate the encouragement. I really do. One day I hope I will be able to render the same encouragement to others planning on their first uncertain steps too. :)

            Thank you, Drew.

  2. Rick Neuman says:

    “…you will learn to talk to storms and wooded glens. When others run in fear, you will walk peacefully toward the wind.”

    Can’t fully explain how deeply this struck a chord in me, I still feel it resonating. This was one of the most inspiring posts I’ve read in a long time, thank you for sharing it.

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