The questions that we ask define the paths that we take. And what marvelous paths they can be; so reflects Bruce Kirkby, travel adventurer. The video of his paddle boarding trip from Vancouver to Victoria is not just rich in natural beauty – endless ocean, wind-churned clouds, brilliant sunsets, rugged island cliffs – but it also speaks to a life philosophy of self-discovery, adventure and finding one’s path in life.
Adventure, he muses, is a sentiment that has become hard to define. Magazines and TV shows invoke and market the extreme, the accessories, the foreign trips, the adrenaline, the rush; but that is not part of it. Adventure, he suggests is “curiosity, the willingness to embrace uncertainty, and wondering about the possibility of doing just one thing differently than before”.
Reflecting on his message, I was reminded of Dr. Seuss’s ‘Oh, the places you’ll go‘. In his disarming, witty way, he too talks to us about journeying, adventure, life and being.
The places you will go. There will be times of flying high, of seeing great places, of joy and laughter. You will feel like the best and “wherever you go, you will top all the rest”. Except when you don’t. There will be times for hang-ups, when “your gang will fly on and you’ll be left in a lurch”. There will be slumps and bumps and sprains, times of being lost, times of loosing and falling and much sadness. Times of being afraid and times of loneliness. Times of idle wandering where you can “get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place…The Waiting Place”.
You wait and wonder and ponder about your life and the path you take and the things that you do and are done to you. Waiting. “Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow..”
Yet times of waiting end and you will un-slump yourself. No! you say ,this is not for you, and you “will escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing”. You raise your banners and claim your space. Your story. Your path.
On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
So his tale is woven. Together, the modern-day travel writer and the departed and always great Dr. Seuss offer the most precious of gifts: perspective. Life is not easy and too often we get caught up in the thick of things and it is in those moments that we do need a helping hand, in whatever form it may come, to open up a space for us to reflect, re-group and to consider what is really important to us.
The questions that we ask define the paths that we take. What then shall we ask ourselves? To what and whom shall we commit ourselves? How shall we write our story and with whom, with what? Where shall we go and what shall we avoid? I wonder…