Everybody has an adventure waiting for them. Let’s explore how to overcome what keeps us stuck and embrace taking a leap into the unknown, listening to your call to adventure.
I had everything; a beautiful one bedroom apartment in a nice Philadelphia neighborhood, a moderately fulfilling job, a consistent yoga practice, and great friends. Still, I couldn’t help but find myself sobbing into my pillow most nights. I just wasn’t happy. And after my on and off boyfriend of three years finally left me for good, I hit an existential rock bottom.
I was hopelessly depressed and had been squeezing myself into a tiny little box of what others told me would make me happy and successful – but I was miserable. I wasn’t pursuing my dreams or being challenged, I was trapped inside the bubble of my own comfort zone. So I did something crazy: I bought a one way ticket to Morocco.
An Extraordinary Escape
It was an idea first proposed to me by a close friend who had traveled in Thailand. I knew it was exactly what I needed; a fresh start. In the following months, I sold all of my belongings, gave up my apartment, and said goodbye to the life I knew. It was utterly terrifying, and I spent the weeks prior to my departure in absolute horror.
What had I done? What about my friends and family? What about everything I was leaving behind?
But all of those concerns melted away as I slowly made my way North – first, to the western coast of Africa, up through the Sahara, and into the South of Spain. I found my confidence, my courage, and my identity. I rediscovered my relationship with myself and my independence. Although there were hard times, those challenges proved to be the most fruitful times of all; they taught me exactly what I was capable of.
This is an entirely true story, and it was the beginning of my whole life’s transformation. It was something so profoundly transformative that I was able to build a foundation for a new life I was proud to live.
The Hero’s Journey
Some years later, I stumbled across something called the “ Hero’s Journey ”. It’s a mythical storyline: a regular person who has failed to launch in the past is called to adventure, meets a mentor, embarks on their journey, encounters many dark challenges, and finally “wins” or gains something spectacular . It has since been popularized by an American professor by the name Joseph Campbell , who made a convincing case that the Hero’s Journey is actually an echo of a universally collective roadmap to personal growth.
My life had run totally parallel to this theory. I was depressed, hopeless, and felt totally worthless. I was suddenly inspired by a close friend who had previously traveled; bought a one way ticket, had an epic adventure, returned and felt rejuvenated and ready for my real life to begin. And the only reason this was possible was because I answered my call to adventure.
The problem is that so many of us ignore this call – closing the window that has been opened for us, shutting out the fresh air – saying no to new adventure. And this keeps us from realizing our true potential to be real heroes.
Why Do I Feel So Stuck?
When we feel unfulfilled or that our lives lack meaning, it’s typically an indication that we’ve stopped challenging ourselves or dreaming big. And it’s easy to understand why; new experiences can be scary. We ordinarily enter them without feeling prepared to do so, without any clue as to what’s next or how to get there. They are gigantic leaps of faith into the unknown (in my case, traveling to a foreign country).
But if you consider the beginning of my journey, you may realize something; that I didn’t necessarily begin as a brave. I slowly became courageous over time, as I conquered harrowing physical and mental challenges (such as; a six hour hike, and being robbed in Valencia). I was forced to explore and overcome the flaws that were keeping me stuck in my daily life.
Though new adventures may appear to us dressed in a cloak of the fearful unknown, at its core lies the most valuable gift of all; liberation and self discovery.
Consider the seed of a flower. No matter how fertile, scattering seeds openly amongst soil leaves them over exposed and unable to grow. Digging holes, placing the seeds inside of them and packing the dirt in on top is crucial if we want to see them bloom.
Humans are the same. In order to grow and experience the bliss we crave, we have to approach discomfort and unfamiliarity with courage and faith in our hearts. We must take a leap of faith into the great unknown.
Along the way, we discover so much about ourselves- about our ability to act fearlessly, the limits to our perseverance, our profound ability to love unconditionally. And it’s this way that we learn about the infinite power we have lying dormant inside of us.
Stop Ignoring Your Call to Adventure
Every call to adventure is unique. For those of us who are truly ready, it will be presented to us in a glaringly obvious fashion. It may feel super exciting, but also difficult to trust. It may feel like a “too good to be true” scenario, or it may require great sacrifice. Many call to adventures require leaving important people behind, investing money, or abandoning something we’ve been working on for many, many years (mine included all three ). Recognizing this call is the first step. If it has appeared to us, that’s because we are ready and capable of taking it on.
If your call has not yet come, there are a few ways of inviting it into your life. The first step is to set an intention; that you are ready to implement change and engage in your personal growth head on. That you want to become the most empowered, badass version of yourself – that you’ve prepared to become your own hero.
You must arm yourself with coping mechanisms against the excuses we make, our worst fears, and anything else that may hold us back. All of these things will arise. It’s pertinent that we identify them ahead of time so we can simply move forward when they arise.
The next step is to notice. Observe . Once you begin setting the wheels in motion for your own personal growth, signs will begin to appear. Opportunities will openly present themselves. People will come into your life with important messages. Be open minded and listen. That is your Adventure answering your query.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Pantanjali that we love, describing what happens internally when we actively choose growth and to embrace your call to adventure:
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
We can be the hero of our own lives.
We just have to listen; answer the call; and embark.