The Unexpected Companion Joining Us On Our Adventure

“Adventure, yeah. I guess that’s what you call it when everybody comes back alive.”
― Mercedes Lackey, Spirits White as Lightning

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The idea of embarking on some grand adventure sometimes overwhelms me with feelings of eagerness and anticipation. Going to the moon, or sailing across a sea, or driving 10,000 miles around the country – these concepts alight in the mind like small, beautiful birds landing on the springy boughs of a raspberry bush. Ideas, you know, and all that.

Yet no sooner had we begun preparing for our trip than the real feeling of adventures descended around us. For no matter how exciting an adventure may sound during its conception, as soon as preparation begins in earnest, you realize why people are so in love with the idea of adventure and yet so rarely embark on them.

Suddenly we spent every waking hour packing. And planning. And buying cheap cereal at BB’s discount grocery. Our house became a disaster zone. Piles formed: the “bus pile,” the “storage unit” pile, the “I-have-no-idea-what-this-is-or-what-we-should-do-with-it” pile.

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“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”
“I should think so — in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

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Then, on the day we wanted to move the last of our things into storage, it snowed. It took me an hour to clean off the cars and get them up the driveway. With the help of some dear friends, we moved our things on that snowy day. With the help of some other dear friends, we celebrated our impending departure.

But perhaps the thing that nags me the most is that during these weeks of preparation for our adventure, I sensed a relatively foreign emotion creeping in on the corners of me. Something I hesitate to admit.

I realized I was afraid.

What if I wreck the bus? What if we run out of money on the trip? What if my writing business dries up while I’m on the road? What if we have to move back in with our parents? What if we come back to Lancaster unchanged? What if we come back totally different people? What if we never come back? What if the price of diesel goes up to $7.00 a gallon? What if the bus breaks down in the middle of Wyoming? What if, after three weeks, we hate it on the bus? What if, after four months, we love it so much we never want to live in a normal house again?

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“Look, when do the really interesting things happen? Not when you’ve brushed your teeth and put on your pyjamas and are cozy in bed. They happen when you are cold and uncomfortable and hungry and don’t have a roof over your head for the night.”
― Ellen Potter, The Kneebone Boy

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But as I think through these fears, both the rational and the irrational, I have begun to understand something: fear is an ever-present companion on any great adventure. For better or for worse, what makes an adventure adventurous is the presence of this uncertainty, this trepidation, this…fear.

I can run from fear, and turn down the adventure. I can run from fear, and continue to live a life when I’m never late for dinner. Or I can stare at my fear, move in towards it, and eventually pass through it.

So for now, I am afraid. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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What is something that you are afraid of but thinking about doing anyway?

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Related posts include:
How a Hare-Brained Idea is Turning Into a Cross-Country Trip
Another Example of How God Doesn’t Play Low-Stakes Poker

Or check out our itinerary here (and help us line up service projects or writers’ gatherings):
Writing Across America

14 Replies to “The Unexpected Companion Joining Us On Our Adventure”

  1. My parents took 5 of us kids on a similiar journey with a pop up camper in tow. Great memories and tips for you!

    …need a break, find the local elementary school. Turn the kids loose to play on playground while you relax and then make breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

    …in the Rockies, plastic tableclothes make great sleds.

    …and regarding a breakdown, driving through the desert we shredded a trailer tire which destroyed the “ice box” in the camper. On the way home, made side trip to manufacturer who treated us like royalty. A plant tour, new wheel well, new ice box compliments of Skamper and we were on our way. Very cool.

    …6 times anything adds up, keep your AAA card handy for savings.

    Have a fun/safe adventure!

  2. God has been tugging at me, asking me to rethink my daily schedule and to create more time for the work he has for me. That can be a little scary, as I’ve been trying to save up money for when our baby arrives in July. It feels counter-intuitive to create more space now, but that’s where I’m at. It’s a step of faith and you just don’t know where you’re going to land.

    1. Whoa, Ed. Stop reading my mind. I’ve been having some of the same thoughts regarding work-writing and my own projects. Good words.

    1. That’s a tough one, Becky. Our society makes it rather easy to live a safe and comfortable existence, at least for those of us in the middle class. Breaking out of that mold is difficult.

  3. When I was going through a difficult time and knowing I would soon be embarking on the unknown fearfully, a dear friend said to me, “Courage is being afraid but doing it anyway.” Another dear friend said to me, “Do you want fear to prevent you from living the life God has for you?” Good words that have helped me walk in faith during unknown times.

    Praying for you and your family to remain steadfast, unmovable, and courageous…

  4. I’ve been considering switching careers and moving out of my parents’ home in order to be in a better place to reach out in the area I feel called to. Lots of fears and uncertainties, but God seems to guiding, so I keep going one step at a time!

  5. Life in general can be pretty fearsome–like walking a tightrope over a deep abyss–so you might as well go for broke and embark on a giant adventure. It does help to have friends, family, and especially God covering your back.

  6. “Fear not” is the most common commandment throughout all of Scripture (I haven’t myself counted, but I’ve read this in a multitude of books). Yet fear seems to be what steers us – both as Christians and as Americans – all too much.

    I think the feeling of fear is inevitable in life. What matters is what we do with that feeling. Frank Bettger wrote that “Courage is not the absence of fear; Courage is the conquest of fear.” There’s a lot of truth in that.

    Props to you and the family for facing fear for what he is .. tolerating his existence, but keeping him in his place. Proud to call you my friend.

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