I live with something called “Graves Disease.” It reared it’s ugly head the week Hurricane Katrina blew in back in 2005, a fitting harbinger for the health storm that was about to come along for the ride. When I get sick, instead of my immune system attacking the illness, it attacks my organs. There is no cure, and at the moment it’s kicking my butt.
While there’s no magic bullet to knock it down, there are certainly things I could be doing better to manage it. A lot of us underestimate the importance of getting enough rest, managing the stress in our lives effectively, and maintaining a healthy headspace. I’m finding as I get older, ignoring these 3 comes with a much greater price. There are days I am physically ill, others when I can barely hold up the weight of my own head, and more when the pain is crippling.
So how the heck do I expect to live the life of an Adventure Diva with that mess on my plate?
Quite well, not in spite of it, but because of it.
Making choices that make me happier, less stressed, help me sleep better and feel more connected are also the choices that will keep me well. Adventure has medicinal effects. It lowers stress, reducing the flow of cortisol that wreaks havoc on our system (high blood pressure, lower metabolism, depression, diabetes and osteoporosis). It releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, the “happy drugs” our body self-medicates with, reducing depression and improving memory. It gets us moving, connecting, and changing habits and behaviours that have been feeding into a cycle of at-risk health.
The kicker? You don’t have to be rich to do it, to get out there and start having those adventures.
So I’m on a mission.
I’m going to experiment boldly and broadly until I find the secret sauce: micro-adventures, epic adventures, volunteer adventures, pilgrimages, and more. I’m starting small, and bootstrapping my way up.
I’ve been a hermit for the better part of ten years, so I needed to ease my way into it slowly, starting with the tiny little feasts in my own backyard, including hands-on events at the local art gallery and festivals downtown.
This has had me experiencing my very first roasted chestnuts; tasting local mulled wines; making my own books; drinking hand-picked tea from Dawson City, Yukon with a Métis artist; and transcribing historic First Nations treaties onto handmade linen paper that will be pasted onto a canoe and paddled across 3 continents. I even got to be a kid again on the rides at a good old fashioned country fair.
I have met so many different kinds of people, each who have opened me up to new ideas, and even more new adventures. Some have shared interests, like the tiny housing movement or building treehouses and strawbale housing. Others love old analog cameras and getting down in the dirt on their belly to capture a moment in the world, as I do. Some teach belly-dancing and reiki. Some love to write and tell stories that change lives.
There has been a litany of apostles of adventure in all of it’s forms, with each opening a new door as we connect.
The case for connecting.
Kitchen tables, in all their forms — literal, or in a coffee shop, a art gallery exchange, or even online — are great catalysts for all means of adventures, great and small.
For when you start connecting, sharing and guiding each other along the way, everything becomes possible.
That’s why the first place I started here at the Adventure Lab was with our own digital kitchen tables.
(Why not drop in and introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about your own favourite micro-adventures?)
Micro-adventures mean starting small.
I’m now plotting a course that will take me to a ranch to learn how to build a strawbale house; on a summer soul trek to chase tornadoes with professional storm chasers; to work with an orchestra to record at least one of my musical compositions; to Tuscany to write “the Great Canadian novel” (and yes, I appreciate the irony of the geography); and perhaps even a trip to India to help build a school at an orphanage some day.
And I’m going to trade those bloody awful hospital gowns in for a white robe and a walking stick on the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan.
So what will YOU do with your one wild and precious life?
Seize the day, sister Adventure Divas! The world is your damned oyster …