To have a heart of an explorer, is to be constantly curious and routinely overwhelmed with wonder. Life is not something to be followed or to be pulled through. No, life is a staggering mystery that begs to be trekked, traversed and pondered. Some say the traits of Explorers evolved out of necessity to save our species in the midst of drought,, famine and disaster. That these traits are unique to only a few but the reality is, we all have a little explorer in us whether we know it or not. Curiosity and wonder are experiences critical to being human.
To those who have a deep understanding of this its always, why this and why that? A yes or no and north and south answer will hardly do for explorers. A mind that constantly wants to know and ponder is a great gift and a profound curse as life is mostly a tumbled mix of intoxicating bliss and dreaded despair as the routes we follow sometimes lead to physical and psychological suffering. Ronald Reagan said it best in the aftermath of the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster that killed 7 astronauts; “I know its hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. Its all apart of the process of exploration and discovery. Its all apart of taking a chance and expanding Man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the faint hearted, it belongs to the brave.”
Its true, exploration in any endeavor can be painful. Constantly afflicted with an itch to know and experience can lead explorers down the road less traveled to find themselves among lonely company. But getting out of our comfort zone and off the beaten path reaps many rewards as well. Wanderlust is an over romanticized word that travelers have taken up nowadays but true wanderlust is not limited to physical and geographical locations, but places of the mind and consciousness as well. Explorers aren’t limited to the Edmund Hilarys, Neil Armstrong’s and Conrad Ankers (though they are spectacular examples) they can be any one of us who decide to broaden their horizons on what it actually means to be human. Maybe you went on a yoga retreat to discover what it means by finding inner peace or maybe you took a class in college that didn’t qualify as a credit for your business degree but nonetheless you were intrigued by Native American Culture. Maybe instead of buying or renting another movie to watch, you elected to purchase a book like ‘The Big Picture’ by Sean Carrol because you had a long dormant interest in physics. What ever you do, you dont have to climb Everest to be a real explorer and adventurer. Stephen Hawking was one of the greatest Explorers of our age and he was physically paralyzed for most of his life.
Having a heart of an Explorer is not only about experiencing, it is about sharing and awakening that long dormant innocent kid in all of us who wanted to be an astronaut growing up. Its a willing to ask not just what life can do for you but what is life all about in the first place?