Photo by Garry Knight
“I’m not telling anyone to go out there and take a bullet,” Mike said. “I don’t want people to get hurt.”
Mike Dilbeck is the creator of the Hero Pledge (a pledge you can make yourself) and was our keynote speaker at the Hero Round Table. Like most real-life heroism advocates, he suggests starting with small steps.
He laughed and added: “Plus, I don’t want someone to sue me.”
I laughed too. “Well, I do tell people to do something dangerous,” I said. There’s no doubt that adventure carries risk. “Luckily, no one listens to me.”
That brought a chorus of guffaws from around the table.
“People listen to you,” Mike assured me.
I grinned. I knew what he meant—people do listen—but there’s a catch.
“Most people just want to here my stories,” I said. “Not very many people want to adventure themselves.”
That’s really the problem with adventure as a practice: it’s good for you, but it’s hard. People always have a reason not to do hard things.
But at the Round Table I was thrilled to meet small handfuls of people who do want to take the risk. A dozen of them responded to my call and walked outside into the cold to collaborate. Some already had adventures, some are planning them right now, and others don’t know where to begin. We talked honestly about how.
How do you make journey accessible? How do you give people the confidence to start? How do you fund a group? Can poor people travel too?
What I’d really like is for groups of travelers to head out together, traveling by foot or bike as simply and self-sufficiently as possible. I’d like the more experienced ones to help the newer ones, but with a high degree of freedom. I’d like people to experience their individual quests on a shared journey.
For the first time, I thought of stories as a potential asset. If so few people want to adventure, but everyone wants to hear the stories, then don’t the adventurers have something that’s in short supply and high demand?
What if these small groups of adventurers offered storytelling performances in the communities they visit? The stories would stand out because they’re not just exciting but true. And the tellers would stand out because they’re not actors. They’re exactly what everybody wishes for: real life heroes on the road.
If these events were offered in every town, would they raise enough funds to keep the travelers going?
Could the art of travel be sustainable?