“Anything to get me out of Palmdale,” explained the high school student to the other students seated next to him at the local Starbucks. “You know, I don’t want to live here, there’s nothing exciting. I want an adventure, not go to the Fair once a year to have fun,” responding the young girl’s friend, twirling her hair. The two nodded their heads in agreement and sipped their coffee, while I thought how my friends probably were having a similar conversation some sixteen years ago.
I understand, the sentiment isn’t completely lost to me, in fact, I still yearn to get out of Palmdale. Not because its a “bad place” but because its a bedroom community, and it’s a good place for people to settle down and raise a family.
Its a small town with very little to offer young professionals. The high desert is a place of extremes as I explained in a previous post. But socially speaking it is also a trap of sorts. It has a high rate of drug use, high drop out rate from High School. In fact, my barber says that his sister’s boyfriend standard stops at “the guy not having been in jail more then twice, having run in with the law for DUI, and being able to work eight months out of the year.” Those are the folks that remain in the area, most people who leave for college, usually don’t move back here.
But the fact is that adventure and happiness are two separate things. Not all adventures are happy experiences, nor are all happy experiences adventures. Thats the lesson I have learned since I left Palmdale the first time. I wanted to escape, just like these young girls. It’s why I chose to go to UC San Diego. I also wanted adventure and happiness.
For many years I found adventure away from Palmdale, and that adventure wasn’t always a happy experience! Now, circumstances having brought me back, my desire for adventure and happiness hasn’t stopped, nor has it slackened under my current situation. If anything its driving my decision making process even more then before. Adventure and wanderlust still define a major part of my internal self. All of this- happiness, adventure, and wanderlust- can be found close to your home if you’re only willing to try.
Our Inner Being Craves Adventure
I am drawn to open country. The wilderness. Its the place where I come back from, feeling more invigorated then ever before. I always gather together a purpose and direction. In a way all people of spiritual, political, warrior, and action orientated personalities spent time in the wilderness, were mountain men. It was the wilderness and the mountains that tempered and brought balance to them; that connected them to their own insignificance and to God’s awesome magnificence.
In that frame, the best journey always brings about answers to questions. But the most awesome journey’s are the ones that in the start you off with questions, only to lead you to questions that you never even thought to ask in the first place. That is transcendence, and thats what the wilderness does to a man’s soul.
You can dream about going out on an adventure, you can even read about it and thats a good way to start, heck you can watch other people have adventures on TV, but at the end of the day, the only way to understand and learn soemthing important about yourself, and life, is by getting out to have your own adventure. That adventure awaits in the wilderness, and it charges very little for the experience.
If you compromise the process you don’t attain anything spiritually or personally; you started as an asshole, you come back as an asshole. Thats what vacations are for, or weekend getaways. People don’t want to change themselves, they want to change their immediate circumstances and gain immediate gratifications. So vacationers consume what is known to them, in the comfort of their narrow existence, with little glitches as possible.
Adventure is an overused words, but adventure is when things you plan start to go wrong; adventure requires you to be “flexible” and it leads you to the thing you had never imagined but it was meant to be. Going to places of wilderness is like going back in time, or being in a place that existed outside of the movement of time, the world sort of left the place forgotten. Because its forgotten by the world, you’re more prone to find something there that you may have lost growing up, while in your hustle.
My whole life I have felt an itch to explore the world. I have been drawn to open country, to people, seeing the potential of what I can observe and to learn from them. Each time I return with some part of me affected by the experience. This is what satiating my curiosity does; curiosity is the cure. Nature redeems man, it is God’s way of bringing together creation, in that way we humans can stand in awe of God’s creation. So for me this adventures is all around us because we are blessed with wilderness not to far away from our urban lives. National parks and state parks and national forests. You still can get lost there, you still can adventure there.
The Adventures of 2015
With 2015 going strong, I already feel like there are so many missed opportunities. For most of last year my desire was to adventure and explore the area surrounding my high desert community in the Antelope Valley. I was astounded by what I found. I think i overlooked much of the subltility of the desert growing up because I lacked the ability to appreciate it.
Here’s a quick round up of those adventures, that way you’re all caught up as I embark on this years exciting expeditions:
- Poppy Fields: The Rambling Trail- here.
- Vasquez Rocks: Making Off Like a Bandido-here.
- Saddleback Butte: Lonely Sunrises-here.
- The Astonishing Miracles of The Antelope Valley-here.
- Adventures With The (Ramadan) Moon Sighting Committee-here.
- “Supermoon” Over California Badlands-here.
- Removing the Training Wheels on the New Hobby-here.
- On “Wild,” the Pacific Crest Trail (In My Own Backyard!)-here.
- On Being A Conquistador of the Useless-here.
- Celebrating 50 Years of the Wilderness Act-here.
For 2015, the adventures are going to involve retelling some of the history of California, you can read about that in my post “A People’s History of Alta California and the Bear Flag Republic.”