This life lesson relates to my previous blog #54 Run with the Bulls in Spain.
The San Fermin Festival in Pamplona is known around the world by millions. Just as a flipped coin has two equally weighted outcomes, it would appear that 50% of people think that the festival is an incredible experience, while the other 50% think it is despicable. Unfortunately, my ex-girlfriend Sarah, her mother and the loud-mouthed English holidaymaker on the airplane were part of the latter 50%.
I never tried to impose my beliefs on any of them, but they did their best to bring shame to those very beliefs. I wasn’t doing it for them, and I didn’t need their approval, but their disapproval made it tough on me. It took a lot of resolve to ignore their harsh words and stick to my plan. I had my reasons, and that was all that mattered.
From a young age, it was obvious that I was an extrovert. My group of friends through school was probably better described as a gang since there were so many of us. Whenever we went anywhere, we were usually a group 10-strong, at least. And not a lot has changed today. I can’t remember the last time that we did a weekend of mountain biking in Rotorua without at least eight of us sharing an Airbnb or a cabin at our favourite holiday park.
Just as this has not changed, neither has my independence and my drive to take the path less travelled. From 13 to 31, I am still ending up on adventures, alone, because my direction is not shared by the rest of the gang. My drive to seek out novel adventures is clearly superior in my hierarchy of needs, when compared to my desire to be around my peers. More on this in my post about The Adventure Gene.
For eight years, I tried to persuade my friends to come with me to get certified for scuba diving. At the age of 20, I gave up and just booked in my course to do it alone. Out of my vast group of local friends in New Plymouth, I am the only one who is involved in skydiving. The same goes for BASE jumping. I entered all these activities alone, but it did not take long to realise that I was not alone.
The path less travelled is, as it suggests, less travelled, but not void of travelers. I have met a whole other group of friends that share a passion for these activities, the same as I do. Each new adventure and activity helps to grow my network and the connections multiply exponentially.
Being my own thinker and carving my own path is what has led me to this point in my life. It is this attitude that gave me the willpower that I needed to accomplish this bucket list item.
It takes bravery to deviate from the social environment that you are used to, but with that, comes great reward. I encourage everyone to follow their true desires and do what you want to do, not what feels safest. Safety is overrated.
When have you taken the path less travelled? Let me know in the comments below.
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Dave has been on a mission, since 2010, to cross off the 100 items on his bucket list. The stories of his adventures are complimented by life lessons learned along the way and his travel tips are unique to his experiences.