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

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.

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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