While watching Ben Saunders describe walking across the frozen Arctic Ocean in a TED talk, I understood something I had not been able to articulate before. He likened his love of adventure to having a crack habit. He admitted that all of his money got sucked into his endeavors and that it had caused the destruction of all of his relationships.
I found myself remembering how long it took me to get back to “normal” after my walk down the Camino in Spain. At the time, I described it as having my view of my life shattered, but his words made sense. To break out of our routines, to leave your comfort zone and to live a different life — if only for a while — gives us a taste of “the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days.” remarked Ben. Adding, “There is something addictive about tasting life at the edge of what is humanely possibly.”
Now, he was risking life and limb, literally, to walk across the Arctic Ocean and, of course, I was never more than a few hours away from a warm bed and some fresh coffee, but I get it. I still long for it. I still find my day-to-day life unsatisfying and somehow unfulfilling. We are here to dance, not sleep walk through life.
Once you have broken out of your routine, experienced the possible textures, twists and nuances of needing to pay attention to your life, it is difficult to conform to an everyday existence. The fact that even my morning routine, an almost immutable thing while I am at home, was disrupted by my changing surroundings, made me realize that I normally go through so much of my life without paying attention.
Have you ever driven to work and forgotten your drive? Have you ever realized that you’ve done nothing out of the ordinary for weeks? Is your vacation the only time you see new scenery and do new things? Just thoughts, but they are at the core a truth I am trying to discern.