Adventure, Dominican Republic, The Great Adventure, The Heroic Life, Travel

The Change In Plans

Jessica and Drew

So much has changed in only a week.

The crossing of the Mississippi was successful. After many well-intentioned warnings, it was almost comically easy: I can’t imagine a more pleasant kayak trip. I can say that Jessica was as tough and capable a partner as one could hope for. She has my heart.

And that’s the thing.

As any reader should know, I finished my time in New Orleans and tuned my bike for 700 more miles. Those 700 will take me to Corpus Christi, Texas where I’ll train on sea kayaks until I can paddle the Gulf of Mexico.

Saturday morning the Giant was all loaded up. At the morning send-off party I popped the champagne, put my arm around Jessica, and made the announcement:

“There’s been a change in plans.”

Jessica and I are running away to the Caribbean.

Taking Risks for Love

I will still bike to Texas, paddle Mexico, walk to South America. But Jessica and I haven’t had enough of each other. So we’re both taking a risk.

For me it means delaying the next stage of my Adventure; for her it means cancelling a summer in New York. We’ll spend the next two months together in the Dominican Republic, in a small village on the beach.

Is this crazy? That’s certainly the word we both use. We’re nervous. I don’t really know if this is the beginning or the end. But together we’ll explore deserted beaches, scramble up waterfalls, motorbike through mountain towns. I’ll learn to cut coconuts with a machete, and maybe we will be happy.

It is right to take risks for love.

This is temporary. In August we’ll fly back to New Orleans—hopefully with a clearer picture of what we want for our future—and I’ll resume my trip from exactly where I left off. The Adventure will go on.


At many points, when the going was hard or temptation reared her head, my friends have said it’s okay if I don’t complete the Adventure. I’m sure that many of you share that sentiment, too—it’s meant in the kindest way, and I appreciate that.

But I care.

I care whether I complete the Adventure. It’s not optional to me. It’s woven in my nature, it’s assigned by my highest self.

There will be a day when I limp, drift, raft, stumble, bike, run, or race the last 18 steps and my heart will be complete. I will know I lived a story and I will know who I am and what I must do. Until that day, I take a step forward, a cautious step forward.

And here’s what so few people know: I care about completing the Adventure, but I don’t care how long it takes.

Running away for love is not, to me, a delay in the Adventure. It is the Adventure.

We had joked about this idea for weeks, always a joke. But then reading, researching, looking at what it would take. I told Jessica we had to make a decision. She said no, I can’t do it, I can’t just run away for love. So I packed my bike.

The next day she held me and breathed: let’s do it. “We have to do it.”

And so we do. Set my bow at the storm, let us sail this ocean again. Let us sail the ocean of fear and trembling, because what else is there? Only islands, islands in the storm.


36 thoughts on “The Change In Plans

  1. So glad you got to that part at the end: running away for love IS the adventure. That was clear to me from the first paragraph. Then, I feared you wouldn’t say it. Then, of course, you did. Let the adventure continue!

    • Arden says:

      And on a lighter note, biking across Texas in the summer is (in my opinion) NOT worth shortchanging time with someone you love. I was balking at that just as much as the kayaking and drug cartels ;)

      • I felt ready for it. Shorter (60 mile) days instead of 100 mile days; more water; better equipment; and easy roads. The heat and humidity are manageable.

        • Arden says:

          I’m sure you prepared– and the wind you get while biking makes the ride itself fine. But given the option, I would have spent more time in NOLA, myself– or something like what you’re doing. :)

          • Oh, that makes total sense Arden. Honestly, I was looking at that particular stretch as something I wanted to blow through as quickly as possible, to get on to “the good stuff” (kayaking). Though then I started hearing about all the towns I’ll go through in Cajun country and it does seem to have its appeal.

    • For me, the overall lifestyle is the adventure – the lifestyle of traveling freely and living for my ideals. This is definitely an expression of that.

  2. Sean says:

    One thing that has always stuck with me from reading stories about heroes in myth and legend is that things do not always go as planned. The winds can shift and blow you in another direction. In truth your Great Adventure isn’t on hold. It only took a turn you didn’t plan for at the beginning.

    It is a lesson we all could take to heart and apply to all our lives. Life can and will throw detours your way. If your planning for a house, a better job, a family . . . or walking to South America . . . you’ll get there as long as it remains your goal.

    • Great question BJ. I think our reasoning went something like this:

      1. We wanted to go somewhere in the Caribbean,
      2. We wanted it to be Spanish speaking (she speaks Spanish and I’m learning), and
      3. Puerto Rico is too pricey.

      That pretty much left DR. Which we were pretty happy about – both of us have always wanted to go there, and it borders Haiti which matches my interests quite nicely.

  3. Congratulations! This sounds like an awesome adventure within an adventure.

    I completely understand what you mean about letting the adventure take as long as it takes. People ask me all the time why it took 3 years to build our house. “I could have done it in a couple of months!” they say boastfully. Well, I probably could have as well. That wasn’t the point. The building was part of the adventure. They hear about the building and miss the adventure part.

    Enjoy this part of the journey.

    • Thanks Laura. In retrospect, I guess I do recall it taking a while for you to finish your house, but it always just seemed natural to me.

      I think the way people view my adventure is changing, now that it’s clear that it’s a lifestyle for me and not just a marathon I’m going to run.

      Thanks for your kind words – and, as always, your warm understanding.

  4. Jill says:

    What a wonderful adventure you are sure to have! I see someone else has asked why the D.R. I am curious too.

  5. kate jacob says:

    I am very happy about your decision Drew, you can always have adventure but a a great person to love and who loves you is rare. And hey, maybe your cell phone will work there and you can call me!,This news makes me happy. Bless you both, stay safe.

  6. Drew. You give me goosebumps.

    Time for my favorite quote again…

    “Every journey has secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” -Martin Buber

    I hope you’ll keep posting from the D.R.

    • So true Susan. Thank you.

      I definitely will! We hope to have wifi in our home, as we both need it to work. Otherwise we’ll have it at a cafe. Either way I will keep publishing every Wednesday!

  7. Lisa says:

    :) :) :)

    I will miss you at WDS this week, Drew.

    It sounds to me like you will be enjoying your own world domination!


    Sent from my iPad

  8. Vee, I totally respect that outlook. Still, for me, my favorite adventure is the physical adventure – the overall lifestyle of traveling freely, and seeking out challenge. Jessica values that too, and that’s part of the reason we can even do this.

    Without that lifestyle I don’t think I would enjoy a relationship very much. Happiness is fleeting, but the journey is forever.

  9. says:

    I went to the D.R. in 2004 with the Village Project, which is a sort of Habitat for Humanity endeavor. It is beautiful country and I found the people to be generous and friendly. Have fun, best of luck to you both, and definitely don’t forget your machete! :)

  10. lol, I hope you two have loads of fun and adventure on your side trip ^_^

    Question: Are you flying or kayaking to the Caribbean?

    *wishing you two all the best!*

    • Hi Rua. We flew! Also during the Adventure, I have accepted a long car ride to Pennsylvania for my grandmother’s funeral, and a number of car or train rides for sidequests around Louisiana and Mississippi.

      My personal policy is that as long as I return to where I left off – I don’t allow a vehicle to put me ahead a single step on my journey – then using vehicles on occasion is compatible with my greater self-powered Journey.

      • Oh I knew your policy and don’t question it. I was just wondering if you two wanted to have your own side adventure involving the kayaks (I had doubted it, but you never know!)

  11. ardatisya says:

    :3 Kind of late checking in here (and new to boot) but I wanted to say that I’m glad you guys are taking the risk, and I hope for wonderful things to emerge~~

  12. Pingback: Inviting Others to Name Me |   Rogue Priest

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