Adrenaline alert

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves — in finding themselves
— Andre Gide

Later this week marks the start of a long-overdue adventure for me. Ten days living in and exploring a different country all in the name of literary research. Yeah, it also happens to be a vacation. Well, I’m using vacation time to do this. If you think about it, isn’t doing something different, fun and cool, a vacation? Regardless of where the fun happens, be it away or at home? I think so.

Plus, I get to see my best friend for a few hours during a stopover. How do you jam a summer’s worth of living into three hours of shits and giggles? I don’t know either, but it’ll be worth a try.

Adventures are great because you end up learning a lot of about yourself. And I suppose if you’re having an adventure with friends or loved ones, they find out a lot about you, too. And that’s not always a good thing. I’ve seen the good and the bad which probably explains why the only person with whom I would go on any adventure, would be my best friend. Adventures with relatives can be complicated. Been there, done that, not all that impressed.

But having adventures on your own, is a different beast altogether. And for some reason, running off for some solo adventure is a concept I’m most comfortable with. I think it’s the lone wolf in me. Maybe it has something to do with not having to answer to anybody but the alarm clock. Yeah, I can definitely see that.

To be honest, in solo adventures (depending on what it is that you’re doing), you tend to make new friends albeit temporarily. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the friendships go beyond temporary and you’ve found yourself another life-long friend. Another kindred spirit. Those kinds of folks are fun.

I’m looking forward to making new friends (temporary or not) on this upcoming adventure. I’m also looking forward to discovering what my imagination will be inspired by during this time. During this process, I’m going to get to know more about myself as a writer, as a creative person, and figure out what kinds of stories I want to tell. Although I have a pretty good idea about the kinds of stories I want to tell, it doesn’t hurt to see if that idea can be expanded with the introduction of new places and new faces.

I can’t wait. The adrenaline is coursing through me. I’m ready.

Adventure — yes; Dullsville — no

Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life — Ian Fleming

Leave it to the creator of the fictional Secret Service agent James Bond, to advise you to say ‘yes’ to all the adventures that come your way.

I can’t imagine anybody not agreeing with the idea that living a life of adventure is far more fulfilling and satisfying than living a life of inaction and passivity. I’ve always said ‘yes’ to adventure, no matter how foolish it may turn out in the end. And regardless of the end result, I always learned something about myself.

Adventure is more than traveling to places you’ve never visited before. It’s about opening yourself up to all sorts of opportunities that life has to offer. It’s about finding out who the hell you really are when you put yourself in unfamiliar situations and push your boundaries.

Exposing yourself to new ideas and experiences is an adventure especially when it’s a gastronomic adventure. Although I’m pretty sure I don’t have the stomach to eat something as exotic as scorpion pizza. It doesn’t matter that the scorpions are dead. Not happening. But I will go for mini donuts made of red velvet cake drizzled in a cream cheese glaze. Mmmmm.

Meeting new people can be an adventure, too. You never know if you’ll make a friend for life or discover that person is in the running for the much vaunted title of Bane of Your Existence. I’ve met a lot of people who fall into the latter. If I had a dime for every moment where I wished nothing but ill will on someone, I’d retire right now.

I know it’s not nice to wish ill will on someone. But the minute I find myself handling someone else’s circus monkeys instead of my own, those crazy simians are getting shipped off to Timbuktu.

I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in the company of friends who have put up with and witnessed the crazy and semi-impulsive things I’ve done. It’s gotten to the point that nothing surprises my friends anymore when it comes to the adventures (or misadventures) I dive into.

Family members are aware of some of my adventures — minus the semi-salacious and sketchy ones. Anything rated NC-17 or worse, I tend not to say too much because, well, they’re family.

You know what I mean.

Although, I’m slowly settling in to (hopefully) a quieter, yet productive summer, I know there are still adventures waiting out there for me. My summer list of things-to-do will yield lots of opportunity to discover something about myself and about the people who inhabit my life. I might not have immediate plans to run off to another country, but I know there is adventure right outside my front door.

Pursuing the next great adventure

Summer is a month away even though spring is ever so slowly making its presence known in my urban habitat.

Five months into 2013, I’ve realized I still have a couple of big personal projects still left to do… and they have a deadline for completion by the end of summer or will be done by the end of summer. One of them is self-imposed deadline while the other one is imposed by outside forces.

As one co-worker noted last weekend after he realized I was moving my way through a busy Sunday that started at 8 a.m. and finished at midnight, “No one can ever accuse you of being lazy.”

That Sunday morning was spent walking around a specific area of downtown Winnipeg for two hours, camera in hand, working on creating images for a three-woman art exhibit slated for the beginning of this October.

I think this is the first time on this blog that I’ve ever mentioned I’ll be participating in an art exhibit. Naturally, I’m excited about it. I figured my days of art exhibits were behind me. I’m quite happy to create images that find a home on my walls.

How did I become part of an upcoming art exhibit? I got a phone call from Monika this past New Year’s eve morning. She and her good friend, Tanis, landed an opportunity to have an art exhibit of their work and realized they needed a third person to join them when they saw the actual size of the exhibit space. So Monika came up with the idea of asking me and Tanis liked the idea.

It was one of those moments where an opportunity fell out of the sky and landed right in my lap. I was stunned to learn they wanted me to be part of their exhibit. Didn’t see that coming.

Three different disciplines will be on display during the exhibit. Monika is a painter working in water-colour and oil. Tanis is a potter and I round out the trio with photography. Our theme is on the urban landscape and our individual interpretations of it.

Monika and I go back fifteen years. She is the go-to person for all my picture framing needs which makes her very familiar with my photographic style. We have always had great conversations and she’s always entertained when I update her on the most recent shenanigans I’ve gotten myself into.

So, over the summer, my camera and I will be walking about, looking at the surrounding environment from a slightly different perspective — i.e. without a car. There are so many things you miss when you’re driving. I’m looking forward to rediscovering the city on foot.

Doing these walkabouts requires a little scheduling since I can’t drop everything and simply wander around the city looking for settings to create interesting images. After all, there is still another item on my list that should be completed by the end of summer.

A novel I’ve been working on-and-off for the last couple of years is 80% written and I don’t think it’s unrealistic to believe that I could have it completed by the end of summer. Of course, life jumps in and has a way of putting a kink in the plans. As annoying and irritating as it can be, I’ve learned to live with it and have found ways to roll with the kinks.

But this is the first time I can see the figurative light at the end of the tunnel and it’s exciting. I’m salivating for the next part of my writing journey and I have friends and family who are eager to take the journey with me. So I must finish the first draft of the novel before I can go any further. Besides, I have other story ideas that are waiting to be told. And those ideas are currently playing together in a sandbox, oblivious to my attempts to finish what is sitting on my plate so I can tend to them. Do I worry that I’ll forget them? No. I know they won’t wander away. They are bonded to me like a mother and child are bonded together.

Knowing that I am much closer to finishing the novel means, without fail, more distractions innocently wandering into my life. But I would be wrong to call them distractions. I’ll refer to them as opportunities. Opportunities to open up my life to more intense and satisfying adventures and relationships.

My task for this coming summer and beyond is to manage my projects more efficiently than ever before. Part of managing efficiently means I acknowledge the energetic ebbs and flows of each project. Strike while the iron is hot and stir the embers when the iron starts to cool. If I’m not working on one, I work on the other. It’s more than simply performing the act of writing or photographing. Thought and preparation modes are what I go into when I’m not writing or creating an image.

I’m not one of those people who are diligent about writing at a specific time everyday for two or three hours. That doesn’t work for me. It becomes laborious and mind-numbing. It becomes work.

I write or shoot (maybe I should say photograph because some of you might think I actually hunt) when the moment hits me or I find some time during the day to do that. I am diligent about putting in the effort. As my dearly departed boss, Jon, used to say “It doesn’t matter when you get it done as long as you get it done before the end of your shift.” It’s a very practical approach to getting things done regardless if it’s shift work or not.

So, with Jon’s words in my head, I head off to put in the work and have fun doing it. After all, despite the work ahead of me, it’s going to be a great adventure.