Friday, April 20, 2012

WHERE DO  YOU FIND ADVENTURE?



I’m one of the lucky ones. In my life I’ve been some pretty spectacular places. I’ve lived in Germany twice. I spent a year in Canada. Perhaps most spectacularly of all, I lived for three years in Alaska. It was not hard to find adventures in any of these places. I mean, when you live in Anchorage you’re within sight, on a clear day, of the great Denali.
I’ve seen 900 year-old cathedrals, I’ve seen EuroDisney. I pet a kangaroo in Australia and took horseback riding lessons in Germany. And, I’ve been truly grateful for every new experience. So, you might think it would take a lot to impress me.  You’d be so wrong.
Believe it or not, when we lived overseas we had colleagues who hated being away from their familiar worlds. I was marveling over the size of German washing machines (think trash compacter) and they were literally whining that their Big Macs didn’t taste the same as in the U.S. (They so did.) I couldn’t help but think they’d be unhappy in a pile of gold because their eyes hurt from the glare.
I live by one simple rule: adventure is all around me. I remember a weekend business trip several years ago, when my job as managing editor for a farm magazine took me to a John Deere press conference in that globally iconic city, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  It sounded so un-exotic that my hubby decided to accompany me. He sat through the John Deere thing patiently and afterward whisked me off for a getaway.  If you’re all going “oh, wow, that sounds sooooo cool. Not,” you’d be wrong again. Who knew Sioux Falls had so many interesting nooks and crannies? Who knew the namesake falls were so amazingly . . . exotic? We had a ball.
And I’ve seen Sioux Falls. That’s pretty cool!
I was equally enamored of Madison, MN, (the lutefisk capital of the world and hometown of Eloisa James), and Ames, IA (a great park for running), tiny Father Hennepin State Park (one mile to a hidden lake), or Big Lake, AK (where you might not want to have a discussion about guns in their tiny café—HI DeNISE! – talk about an adventure!). 
My point is that whether you’re in Denali National Park & Preserve, AK or Granite Falls, MN there’s an adventure if you look for it.  As I’m writing this, DH and I are returning from a 360-mile round trip to a nursery in Wisconsin just to buy some apple trees, blueberry bushes, and raspberry plants. We’re driving in the rain but we found a little jewel of a place that we’ll always remember. On a potentially boring trip we had a ball, because we’re always up for an adventure.
How about you? Where do you find adventure? Do you long for the Eifel Tower or can you explore your own neighborhood and find fun? Or both?  Do yourself a favor today and find something adventurous in your own backyard.  There’s a great saying I remember that goes something like: “You can learn more by climbing one mountain a hundred times than by climbing a hundred mountains once.”  Go forth and explore!

---Lizbeth Selvig

9 comments:

Pauline Trent said...

While I am totally a "both" type o'gal, my favorite adventures take place where most people don't see adventure. The grand experience is great, but so is exploring around the next corner.

DeNise said...

(waves) Hi Liz, yes, that little cafe got fired up evesdropping on our conversation.
I've been fortunate to be raised by gypsies and wanderlust never leaves my blood. No matter what or where one can be still and listen.

LizbethSelvig said...

Pauline - you got it! "The next corner" is always an exciting proposition isn't it?

LizbethSelvig said...

Oh DeNise -- that cafe story remains to this day one of my very favorite to tell. It was a very fun "adventure." And I've always admired how you embrace your gypsy upbringing -- you're endlessly inspiring with your stories!

Maxine Mansfield said...

It's a wonderful treat to see something you've never seen, or go somewhere you've never been. For a moment, it brings back that new to the world feeling we all had as children. :) Great Blog!

Tam Linsey said...

Hahaha! When I tell my kids we're on an "adventure," they groan. It means we're lost. I love getting lost :)

LizbethSelvig said...

Maxine,
You should be a poet -- that's just exactly the right description. Exactly how I feel!

LizbethSelvig said...

Tam,
It was always my hope to teach my kids just what an adventure "getting lost" was. One of them got it, the other would rather not get too far off the path. But, they, too have had some great adventures. Your kids are lucky to have you!

Lynn Lovegreen said...

So true!!! I find adventure everywhere. There are always interesting people or a good story from history or something going on that we can enjoy.

I also see beauty everywhere. People are not surprised when I stop to see a view of Denali or watch the sunset. But pussywillows or chickadees or a stray berry on a branch are also beautiful. You just need to look around you.