Imagine you are standing on the picturesque coastline of some undiscovered country. The placid, soothing waves strike the white sandy beach, and the orange sun lifts itself over the horizon. The breeze is temperate, and you have everything you need to survive in this particular environment. And imagine you have a map stretched out in between your hands. The land stretches out across the paper, and the image of it disappears into the margins. This is some wild land, and you stand on the very threshold of discovery, a whole land to wander and explore.
Then there, that spot on that map that corresponds to the sand underneath your feet reads “You Are Here”, and where before you might have been filled with a childlike interest, you’re now shackled to the sand; your interest replaced with dread, and you become morbidly aware of how dead that cat was as the herald of its curiosity.
If you’ve ever felt like this, fret not! You are not alone. And if you haven’t felt this way, and now are questioning the sanity of the author of this blog, just do me a solid and hear me out for a second.
You have this whole remarkable world stretched out in front of you, and you can’t bring yourself to take a single step. Why? You’re safe on the beach. You have all the tools you need for shelter, food, you might even be seen and brought back to a place more familiar. A place so familiar that you can slip back into the world you know, disappear into the masses, go back to your job, your home, your family. You could live a normal life, with normal things, and die a normal death.
It’s tempting, isn’t it? But then… so is this place; to discover it, to conquer it, and claim it as your own. You could be the king of this undiscovered country, and people would know you, and remember you, and tell stories about your adventures. Your life would have been a life worth living, and would be coveted by the multitudes of young adventurers and dreamers that come after you.
But… to reach for something new means to uncover something new within yourself. And that’s what all this is about, isn’t it? We uncover ourselves as we uncover the Earth. We seek for new things and we seek to know ourselves. It is at once daunting and beguiling. You could stay in safety or you could venture into infamy.
I’m 28 years old, and I’m just facing these fears now. at 17, my favourite author Hunter S. Thompson wrote a similar line:
So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?
And I ask myself this question now, and I step forward.