This Is Your Quest - Author Joanne Reed

You Are Too Old For This. Too Young For That!

Age is often an issue in our society. It is not uncommon to be judged just by age alone with the verdict coming in the form of statements such as “Sorry you are too young, come back in a few years’ time when you have gained more experience” or “Sorry you are too old, we cannot take the risk of taking on board someone of your age. Age should not matter. Being young or being old should not interfere with your mission in life, if you have the conviction, the energy, and the willpower to follow your gut-feeling and pursue your dream, then go for it. Through this article, I will introduce you to some amazing people who didn’t let their age define what they could or could not do.

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear, as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”

Samuel Illman

You are too old for this

Explorers are a special type of human being. They have physical endurance, mental toughness, abundant determination and willpower, a deep feeling of purpose; they have faith in their pursuit and live every day with the conviction of their Quest. Meet Alexandra David-Neel and Sir Ranulph Fiennes two extraordinary explorers who engaged in hazardous and demanding adventures at an age where most of us would want to put our feet up and take it easy.

This Is Your Quest - Author Joanne Reed
You are too old for this?! Meet Alexandra David Neel. Photo from @LesEchosWeekEnd

Alexandra David-Neel[1] claimed to have this deep desire for adventure since she was a child. She was born in Saint-Mandé, a suburb of Paris, and her earliest childhood memory was the desire to explore further than the confines of her own yard; her first break for the street being when she was just two years old. Later, during her teenage years, she recalled feeling distressed by the long, idle vacations her family took.

“I cried bitter tears more than once, having the profound feeling that, my life was passing by, that the days of my youth were going by, empty, without interest, without joy. I understood that I was wasting time that would never return, that I was losing hours that could have been beautiful.

Alexandra David Neel

Alexandra David-Neel was 56 years old when she undertook her expedition to Lhasa, Tibet when it was still forbidden to foreigners. She disguised herself as a beggar and traveled for many months along very difficult terrain, including a 19,000-foot mountain to get into Lhasa. She witnessed murders and battles, had to barter with warlords, suffered from hunger, and traveled through snowstorms. She is believed to be the first Western woman to ever visit the holy city of Lhasa, the center of Tibetan Buddhism, and she lived to the remarkable age of one hundred years old.

This Is Your Quest - Author Joanne Reed
You are too old for this?! Meet Sir Ralph Fiennes. Photo from

Sir Ranulph Fiennes[2] was described in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s greatest living explorer. He is also a prolific writer and poet. Fiennes served in the British Army for 8 years. He later undertook numerous expeditions and was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot.In May 2009, at the age of 65, he climbed the summit of Mount Everest.

Prior to that in 2003, he had suffered from a heart attack and had had a double heart bypass surgery. Several months later he agreed to complete seven marathons in seven days on seven continents in the Land Rover 7x7x7 Challenge for the British Heart Foundation. In June 2005, Fiennes had to abandon his attempt to become the oldest Briton to climb Mount Everest, forced to turn back due to heart problems, after reaching the final stopping point of the ascent. In 2007, Fiennes made his second attempt to climb Mount Everest, getting to within 400 meters of the summit before bad timing and bad weather stopped the expedition.

On 20th May 2009, Fiennes reached the summit of Mount Everest, becoming the oldest British person to achieve this feat. Ranulph Fiennes demonstrates that age and even a heart condition is no good reason to stop you from going achieving your own Quest.

Photo of Deshung Wang from

But you don’t have to climb Mount Everest or travel through Tibet to be extraordinary, you could just go to your local gym or your local swimming pool.

Meet 80 Years old Deshun Wang.

“My name is Deshun Wang. Born and raised in Shengyan, China. Many people started noticing me after a catwalk show. Some people call me the hottest grandpa. Some people said that I am an instant internet sensation. But you know what, to prepare for this day, I have been getting ready for 60 years. At 24, I was a theatrical actor. At 44, I started learning English. At 49, I created my own pantomime troupe, I went to Beijing and became a Beijing drifter. I had nothing to my name, starting everything from scratch. At 50, I stepped into my first gym and I started working out. At 57, I returned to the stage and created the world’s only form of performance art called ‘Living Sculpture Performance’. At 70, I really got into working out. At 79, I got my first catwalk. I am 80 this year and I still got some left in me. I still have some dreams to achieve. Believe me, potential can be explored. When you think, it’s too late, be careful to not let that become your excuse for giving up. No one can keep you from success except yourself. When it’s time to shine, be the brightest. I am Dushun Wang.”

This Is Your Quest - Author Joanne Reed
Your are too old for this?! Phot by

You are too young for that

Jessica Watson[3] is Modern-Day adventurer and explorer. For her, it started when she read (at the age of eleven years old) the book Lionheart by Jesse Martin, an Australian Sailor who in 1999 became the youngest person (at the age of 17) to circumnavigate the globe solo, non-stop, and unassisted. How many of us have heard or read about people doing amazing things and said to ourselves – “I can do that” and then gone ahead and done it?!

Jessica Watson became the youngest person who, at the age of sixteen years old sailed solo, unassisted, and nonstop around the world (18 October 2009 – 15 May 2010). She explained during an interview for the Los Angeles Times the reasons for her journey:

“I wanted to challenge myself and achieve something to be proud of. And yes, I wanted to inspire people. I hated being judged by my appearance and other people’s expectations of what ‘a little girl’ was capable of. It’s no longer just my dream or voyage. Every milestone out here isn’t just my achievement, but an achievement for everyone who has put so much time and effort into helping me here.”

Jessica Watson

Not all of us want to sail solo around the world but Jessica Watson’s story is an inspiring story that shows how grit and determination can help you achieve your dream, even at the young age of 17. In the same vein is the amazing Laura Deker[4] from Holland who started her 2-year-round the world solo trip (with stops) in 2012 (at the age of 14) but only after winning a fierce legal battle with the Dutch authorities who did everything, they could to stop her adventure because of her young age. Laura Deker’s inspiring message to us all is that: “You have everything you need to become the hero of your dream”.

Youth by Samuel Ullman

Youth is not the age of life, but the age of the heart. Not rosy cheeks and red lips and a flexible body With strong will and abundant imagination.In the fountain of deep and deep life. It is freshness that elutes.

Youth is not a spirit of courage. Jumping from great love. It is in courage and adventure. 20 years old without courage is an old man. Courageous 60 years old is youth.

People don’t get old just because they get older. You grow old only when you lose your dreams. Although time increases the wrinkles more, the mind that has lost its enthusiasm becomes wrinkled. Worry, fear, and self-harm kill my mind made of garbage.

The important thing for everyone is to move and what’s next? Childlike curiosity. It is a heart-warming and joyful challenge to an unknown life. Close your eyes and think. The wireless base in your mind. Numerous antennas soaring high in the blue sky. That antenna will receive.

The message of the great man and the message of the noble Mother Nature. How beautiful and wonderful the world is. How cool it is to be alive! As long as you keep receiving the message of life without losing your courage, hope, and smile, you are always a young man.

If the antennae of your heart collapses and is covered with snow-cold cynicism and Ice-hardened disappointment; you are certainly an old man, even at the age of 20. But while your antennae constantly received the message of life, you are always young, even at the age of 80.

Youth, not in a young body. It is in a young spirit.

[1] Alexandra David-Neel (24 October 1868 – 8th September 1969 – France). Explorer, spiritualist, Buddhist, anarchist, and writer. Best known for her exploration trip to Lhasa.

[2] Sir Ranulph Fiennes (OBE) (born 7 March 1944 – England) – Explorer and holder of several endurance records.

[3] Jessica Watson (born on 18 May 1993 – Australia) – Sailor – Author of the book “True Spirit” – “True Spirit”.

[4] Laura Dekker (born 20 September 1995 – New Zealand) – Sailor – Author of the book “One Girl One Dream” – Maiden Trip.

This article was inspired by Chapter 1 & 2 (Olden -day and Modern-Day Explorers) of my book “This Is Your Quest

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on

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