Lewis & Clark, Captain James Cook, Daniel Boone… What comes to your mind when you think about an explorer?
In a previous article I mentioned –unpleasantly- that I am a professional explorer. Well… that’s what I do: I work as a scientific consultant for aquaculture projects. I have being doing this for more than fifteen years.
I don’t look like those survival experts you see in cable. I don’t eat raw snakes although I enjoy sushi very much. I don’t carry a big knife all the time (I would probably cut myself accidentally) and I don’t wear an Indiana Jones hat (I like those but, my baseball cap is cozier)
I don’t fit the explorer archetype and maybe that’s why I don’t feel too comfortable presenting myself as one. The options are not much of a punch line either. Try this: “…Hello, I am Gustavo and I am a scientific consultant for aquaculture… (Please, wake up)”.
But that was before. I am fine now with people having the wrong idea about what an explorer do. Archetypes are hard to bypass. Actually, as I mentioned in “The time of the hero”, I chose to be an explorer driven by the same idea so, I totally understand why the romantic side of the explorer obscures the real part of it.
Turns out that being an explorer and being and survival expert are two opposite activities. In fact, if an explorer ends up sucking out the moisture from the soil, searching for a water supply, it would probably mean that he/she failed in doing his/her job.
This post is to talk about what the real part of exploring looks like. Don’t run away yet; it actually can be even more interesting than fighting crocodiles (like Crocodile Dundee) and making fire with wood sticks which, in my opinion, has got too much attention altogether.
(I mean: if you have seen one crocodile fight, you may say you have seen them all. They are always basically the same and the truth is that you can’t see much of what happens underneath the water surface anyway).
How can simple exploring become more interesting than watching a survival expert fighting a crocodile?
Here’s what I have learned exploring:
The first thing you have to know is that everyone can become a true explorer because it’s in part of our nature. If someone takes a dive in the pool and states how cold it is. What do you do? It doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of a freezing winter, you will stick your finger to find out. It is part of your nature.
Exploring is the same whether you focus your attention on the outdoors, the urban life or even the world inside of you. It is nothing but seeing… it’s the way you see things that makes you an explorer. There’s a book I read when I was a teenager that stated this in a better way:
“All you need to become a true explorer is a mindful attention and some frugal science (yes, this is where the name comes). Everything else is accessory”.
I did not catch the meaning back then. I think I’ve got it now.
So, again, how can simple exploring be far more interesting than crocodile fighting? It becomes interesting when the thing you focus on is your own life, your deep essentials, yourself.
Every self is the most interesting topic for everyone; and that’s how simple exploring becomes really interesting. You don’t have to travel deep to the Amazons. Dare to travel to the most intriguing site of all you will experience. Dare to explore within.