I’ve come to the conclusion there are three groups of people when it comes to exploration. There are those folks who go where there is no trail and build one. Lewis (no relation) and Clark, and Marquette and Joliet come to mind. They walked, canoed, climbed and hiked where no one had gone before. Guts, determination, stamina, perseverance, perhaps a bit of crazy. You name it, they had it. Thanks to them, our early settlers had a map or at least a direction to use as a starting point, a reference. History calls them Trailblazers.
The second group, Settlers, waited until those trailblazers established a route to travel, a path, a direction. They followed behind. While you would think their way was simpler, easier, in many cases it wasn’t. Ever tried to cross a raging river on horseback? Climb a mountain with a wagon? Get snowed in on a mountain pass and run out of food or water or shelter? Nonetheless, their path was made easier by the Trailblazers who went before them. These folks settled and built houses, roads, and factories in lands that were previously uninhabited.
The third group was happy to stay put. They lived in Boston, or New York, or Connecticut, or Philadelphia, or . . . and didn’t see the need to leave. They were content, happy, satisfied. Occasionally they might visit someplace new and different, but in the end, they returned home. They were content, at peace with themselves. They might have called the folks in the first two groups crazy.
I’ve always had a bit of wanderlust in me. I’ve lived and worked in five states. As long as I had a job, I was able to see the country and learn other lifestyles, meet fabulous people. Along the way, I drove a wheat truck, helped with rounding up and branding of cattle. I worked in small private schools, small rural schools, small and large urban schools. You could say that I received a taste of life that I might not have experienced had I stayed put in one place.
Exploration. To me, it means more than just travel and a job. It implies that one is open to change, to differences, to accepting uniqueness in individuals and groups. And if you are open, you are susceptible to risk: hurt, disappointment, sorrow. But also joy, peace, love, friendship.
Leo Buscaglia said, “Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”
I think Trailblazers and the Settlers took that statement to heart and lived it. Many of us still live it. Living life brings risk. But in that risk, there is the awesome opportunity for joy, for friendship, for love, for peace and contentment. For learning, for accepting and acceptance, for tolerance.
How can you extend yourself today? What might you be willing to do to take that first step in Exploration? You don’t know what’s on the other side of that mountain until you climb it and look over the ledge. Who knows, you might like the view. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!