The nature of adventure is that it’s intrinsically wrapped in a challenge. Think about it. Adrenaline and adventure are often tied together. The unknown is always part of a great adventure. As I started off into the distant Ben-Lommond summit in Queenstown, the legendary turquoise lake thousands of meters behind me and this alien landscape before me, I thought of how far I’d come.
When I began to film my first adventures of Global Child, I would often go out for walks in incredible places around the world as I pondered what might make a good show. In those days, a lot of ideas would come to mind that were activities that, if I were being brutally honest I’d tell you I really did not want to do. Why? Mostly fear with a hint of discomfort and a touch of self-preservation. Growing up I was never the adrenaline guy: I do not like roller coasters, motorcycles, speed racing, violence or anything that might be associated with risk. At the age of twenty-five, I’d never scuba dived, skydived, paraglided nor gone on acrobatic airplanes. I’ve never tasted any drugs, I don’t like to gamble and I look at both sides of the street before crossing. Sure, on the plus side I’ve always loved playing sports which do carry an adrenaline component. I’m hyper competitive. I played soccer all my life and got many balls kicked at full speed kicked right at my body and we won the Mexico City championship as the top high school team. I do stand up to bullies and I volunteer in prisons. I won a rugby city championship with a last-second kick when I studied abroad in Canada for a year and I did ask the prettiest girl in school to prom. All these are risky-adrenaline inducing things, but it’s not my natural bend at all.
The sign up to Ben-Lommond pointed forward into the unknown of rising slopes of rock and grass with a gorgeous backdrop of snow-capped peaks far away in the horizon. There was no one around and thick metallic clouds were gathering in the distance. It was chilly but I had all the right gear. It would be a long hike but I was in shape. In today’s world, it’s odd being in a place where you can’t see a human nor signs of one for miles around. My risk-averse nature raised a major caution flag. If I took on this hike it would be at least a couple of hours to the peak, which was ominously hidden by clouds. No wonder they filmed Lord of Rings here. I thought. I prayed for protection, took a deep breath and started walking. After all, this is what life is about: taking on challenges, exploring, living and growing. We might all have different temperaments and thresholds for the types and scope of adventures we are initially willing to take on, but we all have to choose to step out in faith into the unknown… that’s the nature of adventure.
One of the most incredible things I found out about New Zealand is that there really aren’t any species that are mortal to man, other than man of course. There are no wolves, bears, lions, poisonous snakes or anything like that to fear. In this case, the only thing left to fear, as the saying goes… is fear itself! Spoiler alert, I made it to the top. When I was deciding whether to do the final ascent or not, I ran into a guy making his way down. He was young and jovial, freckled and happy. I asked him if he thought I could make it up. He gave me a big smile and said: Sure mate! If I did it anyone can do it! I nodded my head and an hour later made it to the top of Ben Lommond, one of the most extraordinary sights you will ever see. It reminded me that the views in life are often directly proportional to the effort of the climb. Today, no matter what your dream is, remember that the nature of adventure is that it’ll be scary, it will challenge you and it will be brimming with unknowns. Step out and get going… the view at the top of your challenge is always worth it.