Reconnect with adventure

With the school year coming to a close and graduation drawing nearer, nostalgia hits us with full force. Now is the time to look back at how the decisions we made have brought us to where we are today.

Thankfully, I am able to look back on my time at university with many fond memories of great people and experiences. One experience two years ago, was a road trip with my five best friends that changed the way that I see the world, make decisions and handle uncertainty.

We coined the trip “The Open Road Project” and set off for the great West Coast of Canada in our 1979 GMC RV we called Lily. We have made subsequent trips to the East Coast and the Northeastern United States any time we could afford to.

I learned many things while on the road and one thing that has stuck with me is how many of us have lost our sense of adventure. We know the model well; there is pressure to succeed at school, to make money during the summer to pay for school and to find a job once we are done school.

Therein lies a nasty trend: many of us are working towards something we don’t really know if we want, but rather, have been told we need. I don’t believe we need to have every last detail of our future figured out, but should view our lives as a grand adventure and consciously seize opportunities to try new things.

We should engage in activities that challenge our thinking and allow us to make dynamic and informed decisions. My experiences on the open road have helped me take these insights and apply them to my everyday life.

Even the mundane and routine experience of school can be rife with lessons and opportunities to grow. For example, how different is failing the BU111 midterm from being stuck in Calgary with a broken transmission on your RV?

You don’t know how you will recover, but with some hard work, you pass the course, and have a fun story to tell. Similarly, compare winning $1,000 in a bull running competition with being accepted as a don after multiple years spent applying. Sometimes you have to risk your ego (and your life) in order to reach your goals.

How about having to decide which city to visit next with an ailing alternator, differing opinions, and a dwindling bank account? There has been no better experience than situations like this to help me to get along with my roommates or make decisions that favour others’ interests too.

With student debt piled high and the demands of life always knocking on our door, it’s no wonder we are trapped as observers instead of people who experience life in its absolute fullness. It’s time to not only turn everyday life into more of an adventure, but also, to begin saying yes to new experiences. Take a weekend off to go hiking at Elora Gorge with your friends or steal a weekend away to visit a friend at another university.

Now is the time to explore other cultures, faiths, and schools of thought. We have so much to learn from each other and new perspectives on our complex world are valuable. How we spend our time today enormously impacts the rest of our time here on earth.

So as the year ends and the memories of another year gone by are fresh in our minds, let’s look ahead with excitement and make the most of this journey we are on.

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