Add the backdrop of mountains to anything, and the adventure quotient seems to skyrocket. Especially when you put pictures on Facebook, and rocky peaks and rainbows dominate.
But lately I’ve been thinking about how much mountain life resembles pre-mountain life. I know that sounds absurd when I’ve been posting about camping out, but even sleeping in a tent, my days have a familiar pattern. I go to work, I try to cook healthy meals, I struggle to fit in exercise after a long day at the office, and I generally think I could do a better job of carving out time for my mountain bike or climbing. Even in Crested Butte (or perhaps especially in Crested Butte), I carry around a good bit of guilt for not doing more of the fun stuff.
Then there’s the fact that I have a major streak of homebody. Sometimes, I just like to sit around and drink coffee. Or sit in bed (er, tent) with my laptop or journal. I was ecstatic when I had my first night alone at the campsite. I ran, solar showered, cooked dinner, and wrote until I ran down the battery in my laptop.
I feel a constant push and pull between my inner homebody and my adventure-seeker. The unique thing about where I live is that it makes the adventure part easy. Sometimes a little too easy. A sixty minute run out near the tiny settlement of Pittsburg can feel like high-mountain exploration. When I lived in the city, I had to get creative. I explored less physical (and less adrenaline-inducing) activities: I grew vegetables and learned to can tomatoes. I visited a farm that made pizza with its own crops (hmm, I’m sensing a theme here… I do like to eat). I trained for a marathon and a 24-hour relay.
Adventure took more determination and creativity. I was reminded of that last weekend when a few friends from back home ran the Color Run. Every kilometer, they were dusted with a different colored powder (dyed corn starch). At the end of the race, everyone threw a packet of color up into the air. The pictures made me think of the Festival of Colors in India–clouds of color in the air and people smeared with pink, yellow, green, purple.
I didn’t know what to make of it at first. Why on earth, I wondered. But the more I looked at pictures of their speckled hair and t-shirts, I felt I started to feel jealous. To miss my friends. I mean, why not run through clouds of corn starch? Why not do something different?
I felt inspired. I remembered that adventure is about more than mountains. I have a long list of things I want to do, and yet I don’t plan them because it’s too easy to wake up and go with the flow. To let the run or the ride be the adventure. I think it’s time to get deliberate, and do something a little different.