Security is mostly a
superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of
men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the
long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure,
or nothing. Helen Keller
Akaisha in a longboat on the
Recently I have been
reading a book called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. You may have
heard of it. The theme of the book is about being vulnerable, taking risks and
being willing to expose ourselves to possible failure. It’s an enlightening read.
I bring this up
because what I want to share is that security has a price.
Everyone speaks about how risk is dangerous and sometimes unthinkable. It seems
that everyone wants unmitigated surety – the 100% guarantee.
But security never
makes one courageous nor does it make a person’s heart sing.
We all want our bases
covered, and none want to be starving or out in the land of the lost.
is an energy about taking a risk with the possibility of failure that adds
dimension to our lives and creates memories that we share with our children and
grandchildren and we can ruminate over when we become old. Having everything laid
out, fully unchallenged with no adversary to overcome makes for a dull story.
To make my point,
here are a few personal examples of big risks I took with my life direction over
In 1971, I was 19
years old and my then 20 year old boyfriend wanted to make
extensive summer motorcycle trip across the country from the Midwest through
a semi-southern route, up the coast of California to Alaska and back again via
northern roads. This sounded like the most exciting thing I could imagine in my
life at that time.
I had $400 dollars
saved and a vinyl, fleece-lined coat my father had given me. My boyfriend had
$500 and a good pair of warm gloves he let me wear when it snowed or rained. We
owned sleeping bags and a tent. He had a 650 Triumph (oh those electrical
problems!), was a good driver and gasoline was 29 cents per gallon.
I was ecstatic.
We ended up traveling
thousands of miles in heavy wind, rain, fog and unbearable heat but also on
perfectly crisp mornings, and amazing sunlit days. We traveled the Alaskan
pipeline before it had been completed and helped a friend build a log cabin
on his property in British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands.
We tested our mettle and
we tested our relationship. Everything survived.
The memories of that
summer don’t fade into oblivion like the summers I worked in the department
store and ate pizza on Friday nights.
I took the courage I
garnered from this trip forward into my future. I found out that I was not a
lightweight, and that quality of spirit has served me many times over the
Buying a restaurant
with no money
Similarly, after a 6
month trip to Europe almost a decade later, my husband Billy and I purchased
a restaurant with some creative family financing. “Everyone” told us we
should not pursue this venture and that we had surely overreached. We were
27 years old and our financial futures were on the line.
Failure wasn’t an option.
Our blood, sweat and
tears paid for that restaurant and it certainly was not an easy career
choice. We did not have holidays off, a 401k program or an employee
sponsored pension. We paid for our own health care.
But on the other hand, we
matured young and built a sense of self-reliance that money can’t purchase.
Blazing a new
In 1991, at the age of 38,
Billy and I decided to
conventional working world and begin traveling the globe. We sold our
businesses, our home, cars and all of our belongings to venture out in uncharted
My mother was critical and
frightened, my father, secretly jealous. Our friends told us we were committing
financial and social suicide. Who would leave perfectly good jobs and a gorgeous
home a quarter mile from the ocean in Central California?
But we saw it differently.
The home, mortgage, cars and the
collecting of “stuff” felt oppressive. We wanted adventure. Crossing
oceans, experiencing people of different cultures, viewing vast geographical
contrast and tasting cuisine outside of our defined norm energized us.
Almost three decades later we are
still living our chosen lifestyle of wanderlust.
We hold the perspective that if
there is a choice between taking a risk that will enrich our lives or staying
put in entrenched security, we should take the risk.
If you were to look back on your
life, the colorful, most outstanding memories are the ones where you reached for
the stars, where you put yourself on the line and took a personal or
I guess my point is that risk has
a price but so does security. I think risk pays better.