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A Letter to the Adventurer

doi inthanon kew trail

Larissa Delgado, 130 YinD

Dear adventurer,

Is there anything that makes you crave normalcy, whatever that is, and appreciate the simple, mundane even, more than being on an adventure?

When you’re in your “normal” life you may find yourself seeking novelty. But then once you’re 10ft deep into novelty, you from time to time find yourself desperately reaching for any little element that resembles the familiar, or that is reminiscent of the very “normal” life you just left. Which is why novelty can be an elusive and dangerous thing to seek. Thankfully, it wasn’t my reason for coming here. But I can see how detrimental it could’ve been if it was the reason. And it probably explains why many people quit their own adventures.

See the issue lies in people wanting to experience the highs without the lows. They want to acquire a highlight reel, which doesn’t truly exist. And when you pursue something that isn’t real, sooner or later, you’re disappointed. Like chasing the end of a rainbow. You can experience the highs, but not without experiencing the lows too. The gritty, terrifying, and sometimes polarizing lows.

Going off of that, an adventure as a total high is a misconception. It inherently comes with struggles and challenges. It’s just that challenges don’t photograph well and struggles never sit still. Sometimes it includes being so far out of your comfort zone that your layer of comfort, like skin, peels off, and in doing so, uncovers your true colors that comfort had never previously permitted to unveil. In your new raw state, you begin to learn a little bit more about who you are as a person. Not always pleasant surprises. And when the discoveries seem obvious, you wonder how you had never seen them before. Well, it was because you were comfortable. There was previously no reason for them to introduce themselves.

As I mentioned before, in my opinion, novelty should never be the primary reason to go on an adventure. However, that doesn’t stop a lot of people from getting addicted to chasing novelty. And chasing as fun as it sounds, falls short from knowing. There are so many examples of these cases in travel. I never understood the people who bragged about visiting 100 countries in a year, or who visited multiple countries but spent less than a week in each of them. Or who when visiting a country didn’t interact with locals, and confined themselves to their little bubble of the group they came to the country with. (I’ve had travels where I was partially guilty of the last one though.) It doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the trip. But treating travel in such a manner only gets you to experience the very surface level of any place you visit. In other words, you can’t know a place in that little bit of time. You only begin to know it after you’ve finished perceiving it as a novelty, and after you’ve begun to see it for what it really is, and not for what you romanticized it to be.

It happens after you intentionally take steps towards beginning to understand the people place, or thing. When you’re no longer chasing, but walking, strolling, skipping even, or being still (my favorite.) From that point on you choose. In the case of service: you choose to serve, choose to stay, choose to intentionally love people, and you choose to walk into something that is different than always being comfortable. It’s this immersion that brings you down from the ever so brief honeymoon period, and to a place where you get skin to skin with the reality of the “new” place you’re in. But remember, whatever is new to you is someone else’s “normal.” Try wrapping your mind around that without losing it.

And then things you wouldn’t even consider becoming problems are now problems outside of your comfort zone. On the flip side, because luckily there’s always a flip side, things you wouldn’t have considered worthy of appreciation become appreciated, and so deeply. The other day I genuinely thanked God for my simple good day. Even though I’ve had plenty of them in the states, ask me if I ever did that. It never even crossed my mind. Such is the danger of being too comfortable.

Full immersion. It’s what follows after the period of novelty, and is not something that you can get addicted to. But it is something you can experience, ponder, work through and grow from. And quite definitely something you’ll remember. Maybe even vividly. Sure you’ll never be fully normal again, (whatever that word means,) and that’s ok. But I guess I mean you can’t revert to your old self after growing no more than a tree can return to being short after the many years it took to grow to its current height. But with that new view why would you even want to? Besides, I hear the air is great up there.
Some may point out “well anyone can just cut it down.” But are we not just as mortal?

Maybe things won’t phase you as easily after this. (Sorry no segway.) Or when they will, because you will never be superhuman, maybe you’ll handle them differently. Because isn’t it surprising that you are already different? Your impulsiveness is more evenly distributed according to what’s appropriate, you think before actions a little bit more, you choose to be silent until you are able to nicely talk through an issue (most times), and you are more considerate of how you affect others. For all of us by such simple acts can affect others. Like ripples in a river. And then you also even begin to become aware of how prideful and narcissistic human beings, starting from your own self, can be, because it surfaces without shyness here. These are the shades of the true colors that you maybe would’ve preferred to stay ignorant of, but surely benefit from seeing. Now because of your newfound awareness of them, you consciously choose and learn to be less of them. You work to make the changes.

With one change follows another, that slowly occur over time. Changes that in my faith can be summed up in running the race and fighting the good fight, where obedience to God leads to growth. The changes that happen towards personal growth are the best gifts I can imagine receiving within an adventure. (Whatever you define an adventure to be.) Even change in the smallest scale. Since humans insist on having a measurement for everything. I guess our minds need constructs right? But how weird it is to walk into your adventure one height, and then come out 10ft taller, and yet properly feel 10ft shorter? And probably one of my favorite changes that is still underway is when you learn to be present, and more than ever. The beauty of being present. It’s in scripture too: to not be anxious, to know the difference between preparing for the future to dwelling on the future, the difference between learning and fondly remembering the past to living in the past, and to have faith, and to trust God. “Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,” (Romans 12:12). Taking each day in for its incredible value, and learning and changing as you are day by day humbled.

Sincerely,
Lala


Read Larissa’s previous articles and contributions.

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