When we put out the call for adventurous spirits willing to go on a trip of our choosing, we expected interest – I mean, free trip and all – but didn’t think too many folks would actually take the bait. Who would be willing to roll the dice on a precious weekend without knowing where they’d be going? Without any say in flight times, whether the hotel would have waffles on the breakfast buffet, or enough advanced notice to explore every bit of information on the internet about what to see/do/eat/drink beforehand. What if we sent them to somewhere they’d already been, or to some dud of place with nothing but its bad reputation to look forward to seeing firsthand? What if we sent them somewhere like <gasp> Cleveland*???
*the author is from northeast Ohio and reserves the right to poke fun at it.
**she’s also still regretting not sending someone there. Hidden gem. Pin it for later.
You pick the weekend. We pick the place and pick up the tab.
The spirit of lifepoints – living your best life and making the most of every moment – was at the complete core of this project. Sure, anyone can dream up and plan a trip. What would it take to say yes to the unknown and commit to making whatever it ended up being the best it could be? No requirements or boxes to check, nothing but “have a great time!” accompanying the ticket once the destination was finally revealed.
Speaking of destinations, we considered the things they said they enjoyed in their applications, what type of getaway they desired (Adventure! Relaxation! A simple change of scenery!), and admittedly, places we’d want to visit ourselves.
And then a week before they were due to leave, we clued them in.
Shelley prepared by selecting a new novel to devour, Kolbe scouted out a hike she could jump into straight from the airport, Mitch recruited a buddy to tag along with him. Seeing how they all brought their different versions of lifepoints to, er, life, was fun and eye opening. Good times are universal, but they don't always look the same from person to person. Have a look for yourself.
Shelley – relentlessly busy with doctor, mom, runner, and volunteer duties on the daily – was seeking the “me time” she’d felt too guiltily selfish to give herself over the last few years. Historic Charleston South Carolina afforded her a morning of coffee and quiet on a café patio, a walking tour of the city, and a shared paddleboard experience with a pair of collegiates and a pod of dolphins. If nothing else, taking her first ever Lyft ride was momentous enough.
Shelley's rejuvenating visit to Charleston, SC
Next up was Mitch, an avid cyclist and triathlete from Minnesota who’s been recovering from a horrific life-threatening crash. His younger sister actually nominated him, tearfully sharing his story and how his attitude through recovery has inspired everyone around him. Accompanied by a buddy and a limp he calls his “pimp walk,” they toured around Beale Street in Memphis, taking in all the live music, BBQ, and drinks they could cram into 24 hours, grateful for a little time away from the corn fields and day-to-day life.
Mitch partying it up in Memphis
Closing out the summer was Kolbe, a free spirited teacher eager to use every spare moment to the fullest before starting classes and grad school in the fall. She hopped off the Austin --> Albuquerque flight straight to a mountain trail, without bothering to ditch her bags or ask questions. Straight to adventure, which from the sound of it didn’t slow down until the doors were closing on her flight back home the next day.
Kolbe soaking up the views and the rays in Albuquerque
If you’re feeling twitchy or stuck in your work, exercise, or just general life, maybe a little deviation from the norm is calling your name? It doesn’t have to require a boarding pass or an elaborate plan. Close your eyes and pick a spot on a map. Listen to what your heart’s saying. If it’s screaming for pizza, maybe venture to the next neighborhood over instead of your go-to spot. Surprise your feet with new terrain to explore. Con that friend who’s always down for a good time to join you for some live music and dancing.
What we’re saying is, life is short, and lifepoints aren’t some autopaid bill that's gonna take care of itself without a little effort from you. Chase them down. Say yes and figure it out later.
Adventure photographer Ben Herndon shows off "the mythical Palouse," a surreal PNW gem with opportunities for thrills, solitude, and/or a fancy cocktail in your spandex.
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