When I was a little boy, all I can remember is that I always wanted to go outside and look for snakes, lizards, frogs, and turtles. I would turn over every rock, every piece of debris, and look in every crack and crevice for a new little creature to capture. I wound up with numerous collections of all of these mentioned above. One of my favorite things to do was to keep my eyes glued to the road for snakes and turtles crossing the roads of South Texas as we traveled. When I would let out a shout, my dad would always slow down, stop the car or turn around and go back to the point where I had seen a snake or turtle. At one point, I remember having about 10 tortoises in our back yard. I’ll never forget the hog nose snake that I kept in my bedroom until it became way to stinky to hang out with me anymore!
When we moved to West Texas in fourth grade, all I wanted to do was to explore the desert and the mountains of that region. If my mom would have let me, I would have set out each morning and not returned until near dark, just so that I could have a new adventure each day. Unfortunately my mom was very overprotective, and I was not allowed to explore very much. However, my grandmother was an ornithologist and superintendent of schools in Big Bend National Park, and I yearned for the times that I could go to the Big Bend and explore that beautiful national park.
These are the things that kids think & dream about. I never dreamed about getting a job and working 80 hours per week and living paycheck to paycheck. Somewhere along the way, we begin to shrink back the size of our dreams to the current circumstances that we may be living in. As we begin to mature through our teens and allow different peer pressures to have an effect on us, and as we enter our twenties and allow the ways of the world to dictate how we should be thinking and how we should be living, we totally forget what it was like to be a child.
We were made to have childlike faith! Always! We were made to dream. We were made to be adventurous. We were made to go through this life seeing this beautiful world as something that we want to explore and experience to its fullest.
The thing that has to happen is there must be some kind of experience that triggers those childhood dreams again. When I was 28 years old, coaching high school football and financially broke, my wife and I had the opportunity to chaperone a spring break ski trip to Durango, Colorado with a bunch of high school students and football players of mine. This was the first time that we had gotten to leave the state of Texas and experience something adventurous. Three of my players took me up to the top of the ski run on the first day and I had a mountain top experience. I got off the ski lift, fumbled around with my awkward skis, and stood up to gaze upon the panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. When I looked out at the gorgeous blue sky and the picturesque mountains, I began to cry. It was at that moment that I asked myself, “Why? Why am I 28 years old and this is the first time that I’ve stood on top of a mountain like this?” I vowed to myself that I would find a way to get back here. I vowed to myself that my children would stand on a mountain and go skiing before they were 28 years old. I began to look for answers to solve this problem that coaching football would not solve.
When I was 30, at the end of the school year, one of my athlete’s parents came to me and handed me an envelope with two tickets to fly anywhere in North America that American Airlines flies. He was a pilot for American, and he said, “Here, Coach. You deserve this.” My wife and I wanted to go to Hawaii; however, we didn’t have enough money for the food and hotel costs of Hawaii, so we booked a 3-star all inclusive hotel in Cancun and flew to Cancun that summer. When we arrived at the hotel, we went up the elevator to one of the higher floors. I walked straight out to the balcony and was overwhelmed with what I saw. I saw different shades of greens and blues, and all I could think about was what it must have been like for explorers to sail here and land on these beaches. It was the most beautiful site I had ever seen, and I started to cry. I asked myself, “Why? Why am I 30 years old and this is the first time that I have ever seen beaches like this, and the ocean like this?” I vowed that our children would see these beaches and oceans like this before they were 30. I was still searching for the solution.
Our solution came about 6 months later in the form of another business. My wife and I only had $130 to start our business that we believed would be the answer to our life of adventures. We turned that $130 in to $6,500 profit in the first 30 days and never looked back. We have since built a business that has blessed us exponentially, and it has allowed us to travel the world with our children. Our oldest son went skiing when he was 7 years old and he saw the same beaches in the Yucatán when he was 8 years old. Our other two boys started much earlier! As I write this, our wedding anniversary is in two days. My wife and I did not get to go on a honeymoon because we got married during the dream stealing stage of life. In two days, I will be flying with her to Cancun, back to the same beach where we began to get disgusted enough about life and people stealing our dreams just 21 years ago.
Who has stolen your dreams? What did you go through that stole your passion to be adventurous? Have you given up? Have you forgotten what it was like when you were a kid, and you dreamed big dreams and had the faith that it would all happen one day?
Maybe it’s time to dream again. Maybe it’s time that you recapture your passion for adventure again.
I believe that adventure is woven in to the heart of every human being, and that every person yearns for it. If you don’t believe this, flip through the channels on the television and focus on what is being projected to you on most channels; adventure!
So…get out there and live! Make life an adventure!