I write to you while on a journey heading deep into the base of Cooper Canyon, 20,000 square miles of jagged cliffs and gorges slicing through the remote Mexican landscape. Currently going on a restless two-hour-night’s sleep, I’m sandwiched between two other ultra-runners in a van filled with twelve. After 14 hours of driving, my tired body aches from doing nothing but bracing for the next speedbump on this half-paved gravel road. To most, I am nowhere near luxury, but we’d probably agree, this is the beginning of an adventure-
It’s moments like these that sum up my life. The moments that embody my quest for what I call, the luxury of adventure. I’ve long believed adventure is anything that takes us out of our comfort zone, jolts our routine, our system and leaves us with new insight and fresh perspectives, if not a renewed sense of purpose. But what if we’ve grown accustomed to adventure? What if putting ourselves into these situations is what we’ve come to expect? What if adventure becomes our comfort? A state of great comfort and extravagant living, by definition, is luxury.
I’ll take it one step further and suggest living a life of meaningful luxury is finding the positive in the world around us, no matter the time or location. Sure, a summer holiday aboard a boat in the Mediterranean is the obvious; but what if a quiet night at home under a blanket, candle lit and fireplace cracking, offered the same reward? What if savoring a cactus carnitas gordita, cooked atop a steel barrel turned working fire and stove, while standing in the rain, satisfied my soul just as much as it satisfied my hunger? Sometimes they’re unexpected moments we didn’t know we needed but, more often than not, the luxury of adventure are the moments we allow ourselves all we need for our personal wellness.
It’s what we chose for work, how we workout, the friends we surround ourselves with, where and how we travel, what we wear; in essence, it’s the adventure of how we choose to deliberately create our lives. It’s living solidly, confidently, as an individual; boldly making choices to further and nurture our unique wellness. In the luxury of adventure, we stand tall in who we are as individuals, understanding we are unique beings capable of whatever our imaginations draw. We humbly celebrate ourselves each as a complete person while we’re able to drop into a new group, participate in foreign rituals, contemplate ideas different from our own.
We step into situations open, willing and confident in our ability to change our thoughts, beliefs and actions. We are aware that everyone’s sense of wellness is as tailored to one’s being as a tortoise’s shell and, like that shell, it’s constantly evolving. Storyteller, researcher and author Brené Brown sums up the luxury of adventure paradox well. In Braving the Wilderness she writes, “Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness - an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared...it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.” It is, perhaps, in my case, physical adventures that ask greatly of my body, mind and soul, during which I am the most comfortable, the most at ease in the present moment, living my most extravagantly. Yet I’m fully connected to the world around me. The luxury of adventure asks us to go deep internally, to be vulnerable, explore what it is that best expresses who we are. It means embracing the extremes then determining what works best for us.
An afternoon crying out unrealized frustrations in a sweat lodge induced by a shaman. A four-handed massage with scents of eucalyptus. A homemade meal of lentil and potato soup, jamón steak with fried beans and savory guacamole. It means attempting to run as a local in huaraches, a basic sandal made of old tire and beaten leather straps. The luxury of adventure asks us, at its most basic, to actively participate in choosing to treat ourselves as well as our inner most desires crave, asks us to expect, to see, the greatest in our lives, and to choose our own adventure... and do it while finding the luxury of the moment.
Photos: The Riker Brothers Photography
As originally published in Beverly Beverly Lifestyle