Drum roll please…this is my 100th post! I know, where did the time go?
It’s been 100 adventures: some smaller in scale, some larger, some had me (and you) laughing, some made me cry. But one thing all my adventures have in common is that they all taught me something new, and usually that something was about myself. I have been surprised by what I’m capable of (remaining calm while bee keeping), and humbled by my very obvious limitations (of the vocal variety). But each week I put myself out there—comfortable with possible failure and potential public embarrassment on an ever-growing scale—all in an effort to find what I am truly passionate about.
I’m constantly developing, and soliciting, ideas for what to try next. Sometimes these ideas come from you, sometimes I come up with them myself after reading or watching someone incredibly interesting, and sometimes I’m inspired by my friends…some of whom you have met on this blog in the past.
A few weeks ago, while I pondered the milestone that this post represents–and what goals I want to set for the next 100 posts–I watched a documentary that was stunning, both visually and emotionally. The Other Side of the Ice is the story of one family’s adventure sailing the Northwest Passage, the icy route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and which hugs the arctic. Full disclosure: my friend Chauncey Tanton not only field produced the film, he also takes on the role of moral compass during a critical part of the journey that he set off on with his siblings and stepfather. Having made documentaries myself, I know how challenging filmmaking can be. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to make a film while navigating one of the most dangerous waterways in the world.
This is a family of adventurers, and that is what inspired me most. I call my weekly escapades “adventures,” but I’m being very generous using that word to describe what I do. Watching The Other Side Of The Ice made me hungry for a real adventure. I spoke with him as I started brainstorming what I could and should do, to find out what a true adventurer thought of my novel plan. I was excited that Chauncey was full of ideas for me.
“When you step into the unknown, that’s where adventure begins,” he told me, and he’s right. An adventure for me, may not be an adventure for someone else, and certainly not for Chauncey. Whenever we as individuals step outside our comfort zone, whatever that may be, it’s an adventure. It crystalized for me when Chauncey described adventures as “where itineraries don’t exist.”
Chauncey describes this trip as “the adventure of a lifetime,” not only because it was so grueling and so remote, but because they were blazing a trail in many ways. He and his family were under near constant stress. He said the stress manifested itself as the feeling you get right before riding a roller coaster…for six months straight. They were making critical decisions about icebergs and polar bears all day, every day. But for as difficult as it was, it was hugely rewarding both because it brought his family closer together (one of the most powerful story lines of the film in my opinion), but also because they went where only 24 other boats had ever been before. That is a spectacular accomplishment.
And in yet another example of how the biggest challenges lead to the biggest rewards, two weeks ago, The Other Side Of The Ice won an Emmy for best topical documentary.
Now let’s be honest, I don’t think I have a six-month-long arctic expedition in me. But I’m going to find something that truly pushes me past my limits…and for longer than just a day. So far I have one vote for climbing Kilimanjaro (a friend said he hiked it with a 13-year-old, so I should be able to survive), and Chauncey suggested I find someone to let me tag along on the seasonal boat migration from Newport to a warmer winter destinations (he did warn me that I would be considered “dead weight,” so this may require some sweet talking on my part), but I’m also looking for other suggestions. So bring the adventures on! This will take some planning, so this may not happen next week, or even next month, but I am pledging to do it…and write about it.
Chauncey, too, is embarking on his next adventure. This guy, who has already lived a very adventurous life (professional snowboarder, conqueror of the Northwest Passage, with a little high finance sprinkled in for good measure), is now poised to take on New York City. As a recovering New Yorker myself, I have no doubt that he will make his mark on the city where every day is an adventure in some way. After all, as he told me, he sets lofty goals, focuses, and doesn’t give up until he achieves them. Sounds like someone else I know…
Thank you to Chauncey Tanton for sharing his story with me. The Other Side Of The Ice is available on itunes and Amazon, and obviously, I highly recommend it. I was not compensated in any way for this post.