Campfire stories are always the content of a less than perfect plan. Yes, you read that right. Stories about goof ups, and mistakes. Like the backcountry antics of my high altitude nose bleed in bear country, which resulted in Laurens two day old dirty hiking sock up my nose.
When Lauren and I started camping I over-planned super-comfortable “Glamping” trips. I didn’t want her to experience a failure, or be in any way uncomfortable. We had fun, took lots of selfies, and collected a bunch of fridge magnets, but we weren’t growing.
I had yet to learn that life isn’t about “always” getting it right. In fact we learn very little safely in our comfort zone. As we stepped outside of our bubble we made some mistakes. It was hard for me at first, but as Lauren began to see natures balance and splendor in a new way, I knew those mistakes were part of our journey.
Sooner or later you’ll end up in a leaking tent, or lost. I’m in no way implying that you should be unsafe. For the love of all things outdoors don’t walk into the woods with just a pocket knife, and a flint. But when an authentic mistake’s made and overcome you’ll never forget the lesson.
There will always be variables outside your control. A giant cold front the size of a country doesn’t care that your wearing shorts. A pack of wolves doesn’t understand that your an advocate for conservation and ecology. Muddy trails, freezing rain, and general discomfort are part of the process.
“Life’s a Trail”, applies to more than outdoor sports and adventure. I wasted so much 35mm film learning. Yet with each subpar shot I learn more about perspective, focal points, light, etc. To error is human, yet in a society driven by the image of success and perfection we are afraid to take risk.
Through countless conversations I hear the same narrative. “I’ve always dreamt about doing
blank“, to which I respond “well go do it”. At a moment of broken eye contact they normally say something like, “but I wouldn’t know where to start”, or “I just can’t”. It’s ok to make mistakes in the pursuit of growth and personal development.
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