When you hear the word “explorer” what comes to mind?
Take a minute to think about it. Close your eyes. Whose faces appear? Who has earned that title? Have you?
Many people I have encountered, either online or in person, define an explorer as someone who ventures into unknown and untouched parts of the world. The names that come to mind are the great explorers of the past: Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo or Amerigo Vespucci, among others.
By that definition, there are only a handful of explorers left today. Since most of the world has been etched onto a map, what remains for the rest of us? Can we still be explorers?
After posing all these questions to you, I will share what I believe to be the answers. The first and most important one being an unequivocal yes. We are all meant to be explorers.
I believe an explorer is a person who explores the untouched part of their spirit, not just some physical location on a map. By that definition every single one of us has the potential to be an explorer.
Yet, many of us spend our entire lives sheltered by our own comfort zone. Rarely venturing out of it to experience our greatness, life becomes predictable and it passes us by.
Then there are those who continuously journey into the unknown, no matter what field they work in. Whether it be business, mountaineering, teaching or any other life pursuit, some people chose to continuously explore their own frontiers. They make an effort to test themselves mentally, physically and spiritually. To dig deep into their own soul and see what they find. These men and women embody the word. Explorer.
Steve Jobs once said “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
He repeatedly tried new things and ventured away from the known and the comfortable to do “something wonderful.” As a result, he also once said “I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…. It’s very character-building.”
As an adventurer, every day I read stories about others who redefine the limits of human endurance on new mountaineering routes, ultramarathons or expeditions to the poles. These men and women tend to be characterized as explorers by the rest of society. But I am here to tell you that they are not the only ones. We all are!
The dictionary defines explorer as “a person who investigates unknown regions.” I believe those unknown regions are within us. They lie in our hearts, our minds and our souls. The infinite capacity of the human spirit is and will always be unconquered. The search for it will always be the greatest challenge.
So, are you on the hunt, or are you sitting back and letting life control you?