There is a secret feeling that comes with adventuring. It comes after the initial excitement of exploration has worn off and emerges right along with the realization that settling into a defined existence is no longer an option. I had craved adventure and now that I am in the middle of one, I am looking back over my shoulder watching routine fade into the distance. It is a little scary but it is also very exciting.

While I don’t feel lost, I don’t feel settled either. In the two weeks that surround me, I will be trying on life in six different countries. I will be thrust into six different ways of being myself. Fast paced explorations like this invoke thoughts of wonder, of curiosity and most importantly, introspection.

In an earlier post, I described travel as a costume show of mindsets. Having been playing in the costume drawer for longer than many, I am starting to forget what my original clothing looked like. This is the essence of the secret.

The secret feeling isn’t harsh like loneliness or overwhelming like love. Instead, it is a subtle agitation that life is different than it was before. Like getting back your favorite shirt from a friend only to find that is has been stretched and doesn’t feel quite like it did before.

Before I experienced this feeling, I used characters like Indiana Jones or Bear Grylls to personify adventure. It was these familiar stories of unfamiliar lands that epitomized journey and adventure for me. But having journeyed myself and having felt that secret feeling, I now see a truer shape of adventure.

The birthplace of real adventure is not confined to faraway lands or strange experiences. Instead, real adventure takes place within oneself. The secret feeling is that of having experienced so many ways of being that you no longer automatically revert back to your former self. It is the nostalgia that comes with personal growth.

I know now that the best adventures start the moment you realize you can never go back.

Photo is of an unnamed island that I explored in the Maldives last week. Video to come soon! :-)