Forest floors are my favourite place to rest my head. Some people seek comfort, I seek adventure. I am far from the adventurous soul that some of my friends have dwelling within them. For me discomfort is an invitation to grow and learn who you truly are. I do not want to learn what I want, I want to learn who I am. It is true our experiences shape us into who we are, but they also blast a huge spotlight onto that deeper part of ourselves, those nagging personality traits that will just not go away.
My wife is a planner: plan everything, figure out all the options, organize, execute. In my mind, plans are just a starting point. But there is nothing like waking up for the first time in a foreign country and having nothing planned. My first trip outside of Canada and the US was to Costa Rica. Unbelievably beautiful, friendly, and chalk full of tourist adventures for a young twenty-something to delve right into. My first night was in a not too fancy hostel (we aren’t all rich); you know the kind: bunk beds, cockroaches, weird and loveable Kiwis…all the good stuff! Like I said, discomfort is my jam. I didn’t come here to relax, although reading is easily my favourite past-time. I came to experience something: a world I have never seen. My world in Vancouver was (and is) too small. The times I forget this are the times where I become most complacent and lethargic in life (too much Netflix, not enough chill).
I remember so clearly that first morning in San Jose, Costa Rica. The use of car horns was absolutely baffling to me. Every single movement seemed to require a honk. The lack of demarcated lines seemed to be a large contributing factor to me. But the more time I spent in Costa Rica the lack of lines between lanes seemed less of a factor. The culture itself seemed to invite this crazed horn honking society. Emotions at the forefront. I may be wrong, but this seems to be a thread running through many Spanish cultures. Horns for friends, horns for enemies, horns for anger, and horns for fun. Horns, horns, horns. Horns must be a literal metaphor for those ever-present bubbling emotions. It seemed rather ineffective to me, but I clearly was missing something.
That first day had me wandering through San Jose, in the wrong direction, oblivious to any potential dangers around me. I wanted to absorb as much culture as was humanly possible. I ate only in random places off the beaten path where I could see no other tourists. I wanted authenticity. I wanted to be a little nervous. Everyone seemed so nice to a guy who could speak exactly zero Spanish. The Lonely Planet phrasebook was my only language guide. Luckily enough Costa Ricans seemed to have a relatively generous command of the English language. I am certain I got swindled more than once or twice. My one goal for the day was to get to a bus station where I was to take a bus to Santa Teresa on the Pacific side. I had four friends who got there a few days ago and I did not want to miss anymore of the adventures I was sure they were having.
Santa Teresa, to this day, will always have a special place in my heart. As will the Cuesta Arriba hostel where I stayed with my friends for three weeks. I like adventure, but my friends LOVE adventure. They travel as much as humanly possible, experiencing anything and everything they are able to. They constantly need action, I crave more experience. They do it for the fun, I do it for the growth. Why travel to a far away place and not get up close and personal with the sights, sounds, tastes, and culture? It feels like a shame to me. Don’t get me wrong, I can sit on a beach and relax with a book for extremely extended periods of time. But experience is the sine qua none, the essential ingredient for having an adventure worth remembering. We need more stories to tell our children about how big the world around us is, and how small our own little world is. I do not want my children to think that they have to follow the same path as everyone else. I want them to know that the world is a place where anyone, anywhere can break out from their circumstances to make something out of their lives: a life worth living, something to be proud of.
I sometimes wonder if I should be proud of my own life. Did I actually pursue the dreams I once had? In the end I am fine never achieving my goals, but, I at least want to be proud of the choices I make. If I give up my goals because life got too hard, what am I teaching my kids? Do I want the world to own me? Or do I want to own my world?
I never used to like ginger. And I still don’t particularly like it. But I like it more than I used to. How did that happen? Simple…I tried it more often! If you think you are missing something in your life, the first step in getting it is trying to get it. You may never achieve the grand vision for the life that you desire, but you will proud of your story, it will be something you want to share.
This is where I am! I want to make a story worth sharing. Something someone wants to listen to and read about.
Step 1: Seek Adventure. This is different for everyone. My friends like being catastrophically decimated by raging waves on surf boards. They clearly see things differently than me. I did try it. I didn’t get very far, but I did try it. I also blundered my way through my first time riding an ATV, convincing them I knew what I was doing when I clearly had no idea. Spoiler alert: I flipped the quad twice that day on those dusty Costa Rican roads. No injuries!…somehow. Lets just say I developed a healthy fear and greater knowledge of my limitations around mechanical vehicles. I still kept trying though. After that I spent seven summers in the British Columbian forests, driving quads and planting trees for reforestation companies…this is where my love of sleeping on forest floors became a part of my very nature.
Step 2: Support Yourself and Your Family. I clearly can not just quit my job to go traipsing around the world…or can I? Sometimes challenging yourself involves finding a way to bring meaning to the work that you already do; this is both honourable and necessary in our modern world. Other times challenging yourself is recognizing when you should simply not be doing what you are currently doing, especially if you know deep inside that “this is not for me” or you are constantly thinking, “I desire so much more”, or as I like to think about it, “I want to able to tell my kids a story that is truly worth telling”. Responsibilities do not just go away, and we should live with the consequences of our actions. But maybe we just need to take different actions with different consequences.
Step 3: Friends! We all need people to support us in our endeavours. Not everyone can motivate themselves 100% of the time. I question everything! Analysis Paralysis is a real thing for people like me. I question my questions. You could imagine where that leads. People find me frustrating to talk to sometimes. I am working on it! Thanks Gretchen Rubin (check out her book The Four Tendencies, it will not explain everything about you, but a few revelations in there have changed my life)!
Step 4: Make a Plan and Execute! If you suck at making plans…just DO SOMETHING! Moving in a direction you desire will always be better than feeling stuck.
This blog is a part of my plan. I want to find others who desire the type of freedom I desire for myself and my family. I want to connect with people and share my story with them. I want to share the stories of other people. Stories that are worth sharing. Stories of struggle and growth. Stories of victory. Stories of experience. Stories of fun. Stories of desire. We are all writing our own journeys. Share your stories with us! Let’s grow together!
Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill your soul!
I am Jared Bodner, my wife is Jessica. We have two kids: Emery (5) and Asher (3). Thank you so much for joining us in creating stories worth telling and adventures worth sharing.