I often wonder about the things that form and shape us. The things that make us the people that we are. I have no problem grabbing a map and planning a trip. Over time I have learned the things I need to be thinking about. But I am not sure how I did it the first time. Eventually I went to school to learn the right way to do things, But that first time I think I must have just thought it through.
In studying risk management I came to realize how important it is not to fall into the trap of 'I have done this 100 times before so that must mean it is safe!' On the contrary, it just means you haven't been 'caught' in a bad situation yet. I regularly hear people say 'but I have always done it this way!' like that somehow means what they are doing is safe.
The other side of this coin is the people that are paralyzed by fear. They are completely unable to decide what to do because they are afraid they are going to make the wrong decision. By not making the decision they have made the wrong one. There has to be a happy medium.
I have been pondering the amazing life I have had, and the way I got it started because I am seeing my son do the same thing. He didn't follow me into the outdoors. Yes he did rock climb for a while. And he has kayaked with me. But it never really attracted him the way it did me. When he went away to college I was excited that his fraternity did backpacking trips and was happy to loan him and his fraternity brothers gear and advice - well, I guess the advice was a gift, not a loan. But he was still never drawn into the outdoors the way I was. That is why I was excited - amazed really - to learn that he was planning a very ambitious trip.
This summer just after graduation from college he is going to ride a bike across the United States, from west to east. He is doing it with a group from his fraternity and they are doing it for charity. My adventures are much more self-centered than his will be. They are riding across the country to raise awareness on behalf of people with disabilities, they also hope to raise $500,000 dollars, he needs to raise $7000. As I am not much of a cyclist I have ended up having many conversations with people who spend much more time on bicycles than I do. We helped him get the right bike, and cycling shoes and all the other gear he will need. I have ridden with him on a couple of occasions as he trains for this trip, which has been fun for me. The one way I can help him with this is the psychological aspect of doing a long trip. That is an area where I have some expertise, and we have had a few conversations on the topic and I suspect we will have a few more. You don't really know what it is like on day fourteen of a long trip until you get there. The first and last days are easy!
Another area of expertise I have that was able to serve this project was multimedia. I helped him make a video to aid in raising money.
I am proud of him as he takes these first steps into adventure. I am very curious to see how he does, and his changed perceptions upon completion. We plan to meet him in Washington D.C. when he is done. I am glad that he is doing the trip with a supported group, and that he doesn't have to make all the detailed plans that I do for trips. If he enjoys this experience there will be time for him to learn those skills in the future. You can read more about the trip here, as it was picked up by his schools website. You can read more about the trip and if you can help him reach his goal here.