Reasons to Explore: Discovery

Adventuring is something that my parents introduced me to when I was younger through family trips. Today, I have found that I have gained a better appreciation for going on adventures. There are many reasons why traveling and exploring the planet have become a passion and a hobby of mine over the years. As I continue to build my exploring resume and visit new places I begin to realize and discover what it is about exploring  that captures me and gives me a desire to go to distant lands and into the wilderness.  

Stumbling Upon Something New

I find that one of the most exciting things about traveling and exploring is the thrill of coming across something you have never seen before or viewing something you have seen in a different light.  For example, this past winter in February, my travel buddies Bobby and Landon and me, we call ourselves “Asharu”, headed up to Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a weekend of exploring.

Landon making his way through the caves

Our journeys consisted of touring parts of Marquette and Munising.  One exploration we made was a 2.5 mile sub-zero hike to the Eben Ice Caves, something we had only seen pictures of until then.  While the hike was cold (-25 degree F) and a little dangerous, it was the excitement of discovering or viewing something we had never seen before, something that was new to us, that made the hike something I wanted to make.  Discovering the beauty of these caves, hidden away in the wilderness, for myself was pretty amazing and dream like.

In fact, this whole trip was full of discovery for the three of us.  This part of the world is a place we have been to and explored countless times in the past, but viewing it as a frozen world, was something new.  We were seeing it all in a different light, it was as if we were re-discovering it all, giving us a new appreciation for this small section of a seemingly endless planet.

In those rare instances you come across things that most people, if not, no one has seen before.  Instances like these are not likely to happen, but are more likely than you might think, and it is the chance of it happening whenever you venture out that makes exploring that much more exciting.  During this same winter trip to the U.P. we walked along the coast of Grand Island where parts of the cliffs were decorated with frozen waterfalls of blue ice. During this journey we came across hidden caves of ice whose doorways had been frozen over by snow and ice, we were the first ones to break down the doorways revealing a hidden world of blue and clear crystals formed by water freezing to ice.  It was apparent the not many people, if not no one, had seen what we were viewing in this corner of the world.

From front: Bobby and Landon walk past a wall of blue ice

“The further I go, the closer to me I get”

Aside from discovering the world around you, traveling for me helps me to discover things and aspects about myself.  Exploring allows me to test my fears and find out how I react to different situations, allowing me to grow and become more adventurous.  I read this quote once from a man named Andrew McCarthy and it read: “The further I go, the closer to me I get,”  and I find it to be quite accurate.  The more one dashes out of their comfort zone and comfort of the place you call home and into the world and the farther from home they venture they can learn so much about themselves and discover a new view on Life, Earth, and the Universe.   While you discover the world you also discover you.

I have always felt that moments self-discovery are found out in the wilderness.  I remember the first time I went camping without showers, it was also the first time without my parents so I was in control.  The thought of this freaked me out, but I was able to learn that I could adapt to the situation and make the best of it.  It turns out that had I not booked a campsite with no showers, I would have never gotten to experience what it was like to shower in a waterfall, as me and my buddy did on this trip.  Aside from this example, the outdoors can teach you so much about yourself, helping one to find an inner peace with problems, learning what one likes and doesn’t like, and possibly what makes you feel alive.

Sunset from 14,000 ft. on top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii

Not only can you learn about yourself, but you can also learn about those who you travel with.  This is one of my favorite parts about traveling with others, whether it be friends, family, or strangers.  When I travel with friends and family I am able to learn more about them, even if I have traveled with them countless times before. This allows me to grow closer to them and appreciate them more for the person they are.  When I travel with strangers I enjoy experiencing how quickly traveling can bring complete strangers together.  A few years ago I took a small weekend trip in college to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with 14 other students and it was so cool watching how closely we all got in just a weekend of exploring.  By the end of the first day it was like we were best friends, which is crazy because I have spent entire 16 week classes not getting to anyone.  The way traveling allows people to discover things about one another and brings them closer together, is really quite fascinating.

Notice Everything

The world is a beautifully bizarre place and if you make the choice to venture out into the wilderness of it, away from big cities and into nature, you will find a world of discovery and a whole new view of Life and the Universe.  Like Planet Earth, the benefits of traveling are seemingly endless, but the thrill of discovery that comes with it is one of the highlights for me.  So when you embark into this great big world, seen as a pale blue dot from space, take time to appreciate the Earth and its place in the Universe.  Take time to notice where you are physically and spiritually, take in every view, respect the places you go, allow yourself to draw close to your travel companions, keep your eyes open, find the hidden beauty, and notice everything.  Most importantly, don’t ever feel alone for the Universe finds you so significant and the Creator of the Stars watches over.

Happy Exploring,

–  dustin








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