We all have in mind a romanticized idea of what explorers look like i.e., a Marco Polo, a Christopher Colombus, or a Ferdinand Magellan surely fit that explorer stereotype. We should also include in that list Hollywood characters such as Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. Those explorers and adventurers are truly exceptional individuals with a very special set of skills and a level of courage and determination that set them apart from the rest of us. For sure those explorers have been real trailblazers and we should give them the respect and recognition that they deserve, but from my perspective, we are all explorers.
We don’t have to be navigators, scientists, archaeologists, adrenaline junkies to be an explorer. You can call yourself an explorer as soon as you decide to start a journey of discovery that will unveil some hidden knowledge, myths, truths, and lies about the world as we know it. As a modern-day explorer, you represent the human specie that is in danger of dying from conformity and an inability to think critically.
We are all explorers. Olden-Day explorers & Modern-Day explorers
Explorers have been the driving force behind humankind. Everything we know today has been the result of explorers who have gone before us. The intangible desire to explore and challenge the boundaries of what we know has provided significant benefits to our society for centuries. From the beginning of time, humans had an irrepressible impulse to move, to discover, to cross new frontiers, to adapt to new environments, and to appease an unquenchable curiosity.
Travel started as a survival necessity and throughout history travelers and explorers have sought adventure for various reasons such as the search for trading routes, religious sites, pilgrimages, fame, and fortune. And doing so meant testing the limits of their endurance, their willpower, and their capacity to withstand pain, discomfort and discover their own limits whilst contributing to science and exploration.
It is important to remember that we don’t always have to look at the past for inspiration. Modern-Day explorers exist and are here to remind us that there are people out there who have a different take on how one should live. They are people with a dream and with the resolve to achieve it, able to face “insurmountable” hurdles, opposition, criticism, and adversity. Being an explorer isn’t just about discovering something new that wasn’t there before, it goes much deeper than that.
You don’t have to be a thrill junkie to be brave. Being brave is waking up every day to face all that life is throwing at you with courage and determination. Being brave is being able to stand strong in the face of rejection, criticism and continue to work on your life purpose without loss of enthusiasm. Being brave is being able to be alone without feeling lonely because it is in solitude that you can hear that little voice inside you who has been trying to tell you what you already know deep down but you were too busy being distracted by all the noise around you. Being brave is taking care of your body, mind, and spirit and make yourself strong, healthy and resilient each and every day.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.Marcel Proust
A voyage of self-discovery. A walkabout Down-Under
Let’s go on a journey Down-Under to explore the different facets of going on a walkabout. Indigenous Australian culture requires that young males between the age of 10 and 16 years old go on a walkabout for an extended period of time, which can last up to 6 months, as a rite of passage to adulthood. Their mission: survive, find sources of water, hunt for food, not get hurt by all kind of creepy crawlies, develop their survival skills, gain in the process confidence in their own capabilities, reflect on life and gain a sense of their own spirituality before returning to their community. Quite a program (you cannot learn these skills in a classroom for sure) and failing is not an option!
Despite what most people believe these walkabouts are not random wanderings. If you want to survive in the Outback, there are several things you must know before you go on your journey. Having an intimate knowledge of the environment is the only way to not die. These young boys must know which plants are edible, where to find animals to hunt, and most importantly where to find water holes. How do they find their way around? Safe paths are known and are transmitted from generation to generation through songlines made by their ancestors. A songline is a traditional song or story describing through lyrics the paths across the land (and sometimes the sky) which mark the route followed by their ancestors. Songs, stories, art, dance, and paintings were also used to record information about species of plants, plant remedies, and animals across Australia.
Exploration is an excuse to find out who we really are. In Aboriginal culture and tradition, a walkabout is not just a journey in the wild to prove that you can survive alone in harsh conditions; it is also a time for reflection. Being alone for 6 months or so gives you space and the time to reflect and think. Aboriginal spirituality derives from a sense of belonging to the land, to other people, and to one’s culture. In Aboriginal culture, the quest is to find through that journey in the wilderness one’s own person and test one’s own abilities. Geographical exploration has limits, but the exploration of ourselves as human beings is infinite.
“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
What you need is to start looking at life with a sense of curiosity. You want to become an explorer. You want to keep learning and growing. Be open and receptive. Become involved in life. Be in the arena. You want to venture to places you haven’t been before. You want to do things you haven’t done before. You want to connect and engage with people you wouldn’t normally interact with. You want to taste new dishes. You want to climb to the top of a mountain, canoe across a lake, ride your bike to work, walk barefoot in the grass. You want to sing in the shower, dance in the living room, have pajamas parties with your friends. You want to wear outrageous and colorful clothes. You want to dance in the rain ad get wet.
You want to take your time to think and pause and meditate, to reflect on who you are and what you want to be. You want to gaze through a window and breathe, taking in the beauty of the scenery.
And this my dear friend is your Quest.
This article contains some extracts from Chapter 1 & 2 (Olden Day and Modern-Day Explorers and Adventurers) of my book “This Is Your Quest”.
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