It was with a heavy heart that I recently read about the passing of an individual I met this summer while hitchhiking through Europe. The concept of death is quite an abstract idea that we can normally keep at arms length and I have found that I am fairly successful at doing such a thing. In this case, I was not.
The young guy was around my age and I had met him only briefly. We talked, he taught me a juggling move, and then we talked a bit more. That was all. What I saw in those few minutes was an adventurer, an explorer, a free sprit. I was not jealous of him, I was inspired. To my great dismay, he was killed in Chad while hitchhiking a week or two ago. I do not know the details and they are of little consequence. The world became is a little sadder without him. My deepest sympathies to his family and the people who cared about him. Words are insufficient.
What is Adventure Worth?
It begs me to ask the question, how much is adventure worth? Is it worth dying for?
In my opinion, it is a calculated risk. I like adventures. If I found myself on a truly great adventure, I would take an increased level of risk because the outcome is greater. If I thought that the outcome might be negative and there was a risk of me dying, I would hesitate or avoid taking that risk. This would not be for myself, but for my family. I feel that many people are the same.
What we sometimes forget is that bad things happen everywhere. Most people die not as a result of great adventures, but of heart disease and cancer. It doesn’t matter if you’re jumping of mountain tops, wrestling with alligators, or drinking a cup of tea in your living room, these things reach you anywhere. Overworking yourself and stressing yourself out is one of the most dangerous things that you can do. I choose to prioritise my risks and hope to have an outcome that justifies the risks involved. Overworking myself would not have a sufficiently positive outcome for me to do such a thing. Everything is calculated inexactly. I am a mathematician but numbers do not help me to know the value of risk. Instead, I feel it within me.
I have never yet had a truly great adventure. I do not even know what an adventure is. But I want to experience more of the world and that is an adventure in itself. I wish to observe the world like I have never seen it before. I want to take notes, collect memories, and focus on everything.
I want to believe. We must never ever stop believing. You must never stop believing.
An American summed it up more eloquently than I could ever dream to do.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
When the young guy passed away last week, many people became sad. What you can never take away from him is his sense of adventure and his freedom. He died doing exactly what he wanted. He inspired people across the world. Within a week, there were hundreds of messages posted on the internet. It would not surprise me to see it reach thousands. People were touched. He walked the world and left more than just footprints.
If something is worth doing, it should involve an element of risk. Courage is not a lack of fear, but an overcoming of it. By choosing not to be afraid, you are deciding that something else is more important. Sometimes we have to jump.
I’m just taking a run up.
Catch me if I fall.
Gee–Sorry about your loss, Jamie. Losing a friend, especially to an untimely and gruesome death is rather horrific–and upsetting.
Sorry to hear about your friend.
A very inspiring entry, indeed. Love it. Thanks.
Hey Jamie, I’m sorry to hear about your friend – its a sad time when someone so young has their life cut short. Your blog made me think about an alpine memorial I came across yesterday while hiking through Mt Cook National Park in New Zealand. It commemorates all those who have not returned from their adventures and unfortunately perished on the mountain. I found it really moving and stopped to read each plaque that had been placed by the families who had lost loved ones and even though each one expressed a deep sorrow for the person they’d lost; some as young as just 20 years old, they all said how each mountaineer had died doing something they loved.
So maybe, no matter how high the risk if the pursuit of a great adventure is something you really love perhaps it’s worth dying for.
I knew none of these great adventurers but definitely felt a sense of loss while reading about there tragic deaths and like with your friend I also think the world is a sadder place without them.
Loving the blogs btw, they’ve been great food for thought while I’ve been on my travels. Stay safe Carly 🙂
Hi Carly. It is very tragic. And I agree with you. If we’re going to die (which invariably, we all will) we can hope to die doing something that we love. Or at least doing things that we love before we check-out. These people are the ones that we can hope to be like, the ones doing exactly what they wanted in life. I hope you are still loving your travels. Stay safer and have many more adventures before that end time comes!