LIVING THE ADVENTURE – after 20, after 40, after 50

The other day in a coffee shop in Flagstaff I over heard a fellow say how much he enjoyed traveling and hosteling when he was in his twenties. Then he said he would love to backpack Australia but that he was too old, “I don’t want to be that 40 year old guy hanging out at the hostel”. All I could think was, “Why not?” It doesn’t get any easier after fifty and if you never do it then all you’re left with is regret.

Road biking Idaho
On my way to the bunny hill
RAGBRAI 2012
Some had enough energy to dance at the end of the day
Others preferred to just chill out

Over the last few years I’ve lived some of the adventures I’ve always dreamt of but never got around to when I was younger. Many of the dreams involved physical challenges like hiking the Appalachian Trail, bicycling/camping the American West, learning to Alpine Ski and cycling across Iowa with thousands of crazies in the 100 degree heat as part of RAGBRAI 2012. Other adventures were simply moving and living in cities or parts of the country I had never lived in before like upstate New York, Williamsburg Virginia and the desert southwest. Some were technical and emotional challenges, like starting this blog. Ok, laugh but if you’re from the era where you typed all your college papers with the help of “white out” then you might understand. Plus putting your thoughts and feelings out there for all the world to see is a little daunting.

Biking Williamsburg Virginia
Crossing the James River

One thing I have learned from pursuing these goals is that most of the people that do these things are decades younger than I am. Sometimes it seems funny to share a common goal with people so young but it also illustrates how much age is related to attitude. What I find inspiring about the twenty-somethings is that they are filled with enthusiasm and are not afraid to dream. Those are traits that we tend to lose as we get older. At hostels some young travelers are a little inhibited when we first meet because of the white hair but it doesn’t take long to find common ground and the conversations flow smoothly from that point forward. Being around young people does help to keep you young and let’s you see the world from a different perspective. I have learned a lot from speaking with these folks, especially when it comes to technology and music. In return I hope they learned a little from the old guy riding the steel framed twelve speed.

Appalachian Trail – Hitching into town to resupply

The biggest difference between me and the younger travelers, other than the speed at which we move, is that they are much more interested in testing themselves, i.e., hiking 40 miles in 24 hours. Such behavior is normal for that stage of life. I’m content to be at the stage of life where the only goal is to finish in one piece.

So don’t let your age or attitude keep you from living the adventure you dream of.

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Categories: Biking, Hiking, Travel

Tags: , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Oh yeah. You are inspiration.

  2. Age should never be an impediment or an excuse – life’s adventure doesn’t start tomorrow. We might be slow but we have the wisdom to admire the view.

  3. Simply awesome! Loving your photos!

  4. More photologs !! they are wonderful for people like me coupped up in a small country with no place to go 😀

  5. Completely agree! I do not mind getting older but I rebel against the “age-appropriate” expectations that most people take on with that. I want to be hiking and traveling and doing interesting (to me) things all my life.

    • Sounds good to me Robyn. Thanks for commenting.

      “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

  6. Well said! I might move a bit slower, but I am no less enthusiastic about doing my best; and that has nothing to do with age. I think we’re kindred souls, i.e., I just turned 58 and I retired when I was 50 essentially because I knew what I wanted in life . . . and that wasn’t to keep on working. Actually, I had the epiphany in 2000 after my divorce. I did much reflection with regard to what happened. It turns out that I always selected work and squandered moments I could be with my family. In short, I was a workaholic. I did two things; 1. Cut my hours to 40 per week and also cut back on business travel; and 2. I swore back then that I would retire early. Fast forward a few years later – I retired and have never had any regret about that decision.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks and congratulations! It sounds like you discovered the secret of life early enough to enjoy your discovery. Have fun!

      tom

      “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

  7. Completely awesome post.

    Thanks for coming by and liking my blog today.

  8. I used white out and correction ribbon, forced me to be better with my spelling. I agree with your philosophy–getting older all too often involves regret about the “shouldas” in life.

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