Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

The Secret to Living the Adventurous Life (It’s Not What You Think)

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Stephanie May, a world-traveling journalist. When she’s not traveling, she’s writing for The Lipstick Gospel. You can also follow her on Twitter @LipstickGospel.

The best stories start with the most unlikely characters.

They never quite fit the bill, but they’re always passionate — risk-takers, rough around the edges, and a little bit naive to the disaster that awaits them.

And I’m discovering that’s what it takes to live an adventurous life.

Hot air balloon

Photo Credit: Let Ideas Compete via Compfight cc

My story of insanity

I moved from Colorado to Georgia for a job, the perfection of a position eclipsing any fear or reservation I had. Shoving everything I could into a teeny two-door sedan, I drove 24 hours to a state I knew nothing about.

For the first three weeks of my life as a Georgia Peach, I cried every single day. Overwhelmed and under-qualified, I considered that, for the first time, maybe I’d just done something truly crazy.

And then things got worse. I was asked to lead a group of my peers in growing a community of storytellers.

I accepted the challenge, not knowing what I was getting myself into.

The first meeting

A few weeks later, we all sat around my living room — some on the couch, some on the floor, all clutching steaming mugs of coffee as if it were the elixir of life.

They looked at me expectantly, and I looked right back. We were there to tell stories, or maybe to learn how to tell them better — we weren’t quite sure.

As my face grew red and my palms began to sweat, I blurted out the first question that came to my mind:

Why do you care about telling stories?

And, miraculously, that was all it took. The questioning eyes and morning grogginess faded away into a flood of passion as, one by one, they explained their love for stories.

We’d seen the life-changing impact of one person’s honesty. We’d seen lives saved, money raised, marriages rescued, and people brought together — all through the power of story.

The passion hung in the air, and we were left with one all-important question:

If stories are this powerful, why don’t more people tell them?

The saddest epiphany

Together, we tossed out ideas and chewed over solutions like flavorless gum. Was it insecurity or lack of experience? Fear or a lack of training?

But those answers lost momentum mid-air. It wasn’t a lack of experience that was stopping these potential storytellers.

People weren’t aware they even had a story to tell.

But we all do, and this is one of my favorite things about life: Our messy past, current disasters, and most recent failures can teach us and help us grow into the kinds of people we were born to be.

And if we’re paying attention, we can even take what we’ve learned and offer it to someone else, bringing wisdom, comfort, and inspiration to another.

Call it advice, words of wisdom, or even mentorship. I call it storytelling.

And we are all capable of it.

How to live a great story

When your life is the same, day after day, though, it’s hard to believe you’re living a story someone would call great.

It seems like great stories are reserved for the world-travelers, the thrill-seekers, the fearless. But that’s just not true.

And for the first time for many of us, my friends and I began to believe that we were already living great stories.

The life we were longing to live had little to do with specific events and everything to do with posture: a willingness to try something new and see what had been there all along.

Together, as we told more stories, we observed that the beautiful and miraculous were always unfolding around us, inviting us to dance and dream together. We just had to take time to see.

That’s the secret: pay attention. You just might be surprised at what you see.

Birth of a magazine

In doing this, we saw a need, knowing how impossible a great story feels from the confines of a everyday existence.

And we wanted to change that.

It became our dream to tell the stories of people who were already living courageously every day, taking risks and making little leaps to see this life for the adventure that it is.

That’s how our little magazine got started — as a rag-tag group of rough-around-the-edge storytellers too naive to know the risk we were taking.

But we’re ready. Ready to lend our voices, declaring to the world that everyone’s story matters and every life has the makings to be called great.

It just takes time to notice the things we tend to miss and a willingness to share the story inside you.

Read the latest issue of Venture Magazine for free here, and if you have a story of venturing out to tell, you can submit it here.

What story of adventure in your own life have you overlooked? Share in the comments.

About Stephanie May

Stephanie May is a world-traveling journalist. When she’s not traveling, she’s writing for The Lipstick Gospel. You can also follow her on Twitter @LipstickGospel.

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  • http://www.theworldwhyweb.com/ Jonathan Thompson

    Thank you for this great post and reminding us we all have great stories to tell.

    This is not a Jesus juke, but it is true that even God, while on earth, used stories to impact the lives around Him. He knew the value of a story, and He created us in a way that we would respond to them in a powerful way.

    Words are powerful, and when combined, mixed, and forged to make a story, they become a force to be reckoned with.

    People often ask, why does God allow such “bad” things to happen in my life? The answer – He wants you to have a great story. The only “bad” thing, is when you don’t tell it.

    Here is my latest story:

    http://theworldwhyweb.com/why-did-i-let-my-teenage-daughter-drive-7-hours-away/

    • Stephanie May

      I love those words: They become a force to be reckoned with. You’re absolutely right Jonathan. “The only bad thing is when you don’t tell it.” Cheers to using your story for good.

  • Sue Neal

    Hi – I agree we all have stories inside us. The trick, in the telling, is to make those stories resonate for our readers, by making connections to which other people can relate.

    • Stephanie May

      You’re right, Sue. We have to be sure and make those connections, otherwise we’re just creating noise.

  • Shannon Unger

    Absolutely beautiful!

    • Stephanie May

      Thanks for reading Shannon!

  • Allison

    I’ve checked out the site, and it seems really cool, but I’m an athiest…and I was planning to submit a story about how I found out I’m bi…would this be okay?
    I’m also a teenage writer, so just wondering about the requirements.
    *as an athiest and teenager and bi, i’m pretty wary of anything involving religion, especially Christianity, no offense meant*

    • http://www.theworldwhyweb.com/ Jonathan Thompson

      I can’t speak for the author of this post, but I would be interested to hear your story, but at the same time, I am not really sure the proper venue to hear it due to all the sensitivities involved with your subject matter.

      I fully understand you being wary of anything involving religion, because the popular religion as we know it, is man’s attempt to find and please a god.

      However, the Bible, which most of it was written before Christianity, does contain a book in it where God (I know you don’t believe in one) has made an attempt to reach out to man. It is the book of John.

      If you are a young author, I encourage you to read it, if for anything else to see it’s style, which is the style of love.

      Don’t read it, because I told you to or the Church or even a Christian, but read it to see how an awesome book can be written about love.

      Warning: It may be hard to read at first due to all the talk about God, but I think as you continue to read it you will see the love in it.

      You can read it online here: https://www.bible.com/bible/1/jhn.1.kjv

      Anyways, hope you the best.

    • Stephanie May

      No offense taken. Thank you for reading Allison, and thank you for being so courageous in your willingness to share your story. I’d love to hear it. Go ahead and send an email to VentureMag@adventures.org and we can talk some more.

  • Jason Lilly

    Well said, Stephanie. You just created a fan. I look forward to reading more of your stories and possibly sharing a few of my own.

    • Stephanie May

      Thank you Jason! I look forward to hearing your stories as well!

  • http://www.ebog.me/ ebog

    I’m really impressed with the favorite characters of adventure. That is the character inspires more to the story

    • Stephanie May

      Thanks for reading!

  • http://senatorclub.co/ Ian Adams

    I thought Jim Rohn also put it well. It’s about discovering ways to live uniquely.

    • Stephanie May

      Agreed! How do you live uniquely, intentionally?

  • Sherry Carver

    Love this take on life!! As a practical person it has taken me years to adjust to adventure and feel joy through taking a risk, moving forward and feeling like my authentic self —

  • Kathy Ericksen

    Loved this story and Jeff I love how you introduce me to others, their writing, their thoughts and expanding my horizon. You are an inspiration.

  • Jenna Peddie

    I am just over a week away from driving across Australia to start a new job that I’m not sure I’m qualified, in a state I know where I know no one and will be a good 45 minute drive from ‘civilisation’. I am so glad a clicked on this story.

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