You know that moment when you arrive at a crossroads and need to make that big decision with no time left on the clock? We’ve all been there. Sometimes the decisions are a no brainer, while others need to be a little more calculated. When weighing out our options though, how can we know for sure which path is the right one? I’m talking about that moment when a leap of faith needs to be taken. While our vision is always 2020 in hindsight, it’s the decision-making in real time that can carry with it a good amount of uncertainty.
My Leap of Faith
This notion became much clearer to me during an exhilarating six month journey of non-stop adventures and self-discovery in Asia and Africa, beginning with the last minute decision to get on a plane with an empty backpack on a one-way ticket east of here. Venturing off into the unknown not knowing what lies ahead was a thrill that summed up almost six months of travel through Southeast Asia and Southern Africa, and it all started with ascent of Mt. Kinabalu. An eight minute conversation with a complete stranger at an airport in a foreign land had brought to me an altitude of 4000+ meters within 24 hours’ time, and while it wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve made, it was certainly one of the best.
Mt. Kinabalu isn’t the Annapurna, K2, or Denali, but it is the highest mountain in Borneo (20th in the world in topographic prominence) and seeing as it was my first ascent, it will always hold a special place in my heart; respect puts it lightly.
It was 36 hours of extreme adventure filled with highs and some unfortunate lows, but it was exactly what I was looking for on my conquest to kick off my journey in roads less traveled. Seven countries later, with countless highlights that included being stranded at sea with a punctured canoe, getting lost while hiking through remote villages in North Vietnam (where maps carry no meaning and NO ONE speaks a lick of English), and having an intense two hour standoff with seven African elephants while exploring the Safari on foot for a week, I’d say I got my fair share of action.
More importantly though, searching for adventures further off the beaten path required me to repeatedly leave my comfort zone, as there was something very alluring about exploring the unknown. It’s that very sensation that I have been feeling over and over again, as I have pursued various (ad)ventures and seized a number of different opportunities.
Following my travels, I found myself leading a crowdfunding campaign that raised close to $120,000 in just a few days, founding a social impact fund, joining a young leadership and professional development fellowship, and so much more. The fearlessness of identifying challenges as opportunities, while expanding horizons along the way, has enabled me to confide in my intuition; it has pushed me to take those leaps of faith that would have normally been avoided.
In so many words, we shouldn’t be afraid to leave our comfort zone – whether in academic pursuits, business ventures, or on exploratory travels, these are opportunities that should be highly embraced!