One of my favorite people, Helen Keller, said, “Life is either a great adventure, or it is nothing.”
Her words have always resonated with me, and seeking adventure has punctuated the many different periods of my life.
Adventure can take many forms. Some people experience it through reading great books. Some spend their lives exploring the great adventure of the spirit within. Some travel the seas or the continents, or both. And some want to experience it all. A day in the backyard planting a beautiful garden is as much an adventure to one as traveling the globe is to another.
My question is, what is it within each of us that one person is happy to adventure in their own backyard but another feels an urge to venture out and peek around every corner?
As I write this, I am at my son’s home in Chicago. Each day is filled with the surprises of a two-year-old and an almost four-year-old as they explore the world around them. Yesterday, we experienced the marvel of a solar eclipse. Today we are putting the planets on our shirts, naming each one. Is Mercury hot or cold? What about Jupiter? On August 21, Brad’s back deck was an adventure for all of us. I’m sure it was for you as well. The adventure for Henry and Tommy was, “why are the grown-ups wearing those weird glasses, and why do they keep putting them on our noses?”
Monday, I will board a Swedish Airlines jet for Greece because I am one of those people who is driven to explore around the next corner. Gardens are beautiful things. I love gardens, but I want to see all of them.
There will be a layover in Stockholm, which will allow me time to take a bus to the tiny medieval village of Sigtuna. The sequel (in process) to Dance of the Hummingbirds takes part largely in Sigtuna. This small beginning in 980 CE grew to become Stockholm.
What mysteries await? What will I discover just over the edge?
The following morning I will fly from Stockholm to Athens, take a bus to Piraeus (the port of Athens) and board an overnight ferry to a tiny island near the coast of Turkey. Kalymnos is one of a group of Greek islands called the Dodecanese.
Dodecanese means twelve islands. I suppose that’s the number of islands discovered by the early Greek seafarers. There are many more than twelve. I won’t argue with the Greeks because I do know the island of Telendos was lopped off of Kalymnos in a 6th century earthquake, and some are called islets, not islands. Homer could not have been aware all of these details. He was blind after all.
For four weeks I will live alone in paradise to explore and to write. No family members will accompany me, no friends for security. This is a solo adventure. My time alone will be an exploration of the edge. What will I find?