If you asked us before we set out to predict the most memorable moments of our then-pending trip we’d likely have described the destinations we were particularly excited to visit. Three years later, we’d say the things we’ve done, rather than those we saw, are the ones that made the most lasting impressions.
That’s mostly because some of those things changed us in important ways. It would be clichéd to say that they expanded our horizons, so I won’t. What I will say is that when we pushed against our comfort zone we found that, time and again, it yielded. But it did more than just give way. It grew and created space for other things we had never previously considered. The more we pushed, the more became possible.
In some ways, RVing is the most important of all our “firsts.” Without it, none of the rest would have ever happened. Moreover, it looms largest as a life altering-decision.
Prior to selling all of our belongings and moving into an RV permanently, we had never spent a single night in one. We never owned an RV before and had never driven anything like it. We had no idea what we were doing and all of our careful plans hinged on it working for us. It was a huge gamble; one that happily paid off.
I’ve always been an adventurous eater. After all, everything I enjoy today I had to try for the first time at some point. A new first is just another opportunity to discover a new favorite. So when I heard about the “best boiled crawfish in New Orleans” I knew I had to give them a try. There was only one problem. I didn’t have the faintest clue how to eat these things.
Zipping along steel cables strung between trees high in the Berkshire Mountains was our first real taste of an adventure sport. Apparently it just whetted the appetite.
A story about sharing drinks with strangers in an unfamiliar bar that leads to an invitation to accompany those strangers home and ends with our legs wrapped around a giant but gentle steed might be the stuff of bad erotica, but it also pretty accurately describes our first horseback riding experience.
Crawling around through cramped spaces in the dusty dark is not something we ever imagined doing, let alone enjoying. Today we think it is the single best way to experience the world’s subterranean riches.
Sea creatures are among the things Shannon most fears in life. Swimming, face in the water, out to the depths of the ocean deliberately searching for scaly things never seemed to make it on her to-do list. Until we did it once, and then added sharks.
There is one thing to be said about biking down Colorado’s Pikes Peak: it beats the hell out of biking up.
“Remembering our guide’s counter-intuitive instructions I tried to lean toward the rocks that conspired to capsize me. The water had other ideas, though. As I threw my weight against the high-side of the kayak, the current turned me completely around. The boulder threatening to tip my kayak was suddenly on my other side. Instead of using my weight against a capsize I found myself leaning into one.”
“At 140 miles per hour, we cruised over the vast Kaibab National Forest in no time flat. Before we even had a chance to get used to the thrill of the helicopter ride, our pilot told us to ‘get ready.’ Suddenly, the forest speeding by beneath us ended and the entire world fell away. We were no longer flying, it seemed, but floating with the Grand Canyon stretching before us as far as we could see.”
Without even knowing or planning for it, all of the boundary pushing we did over the past three years led us to the moment when jumping out of an airplane was simply the next logical, um, leap.
What comes next? Your guess is as good as ours.