That Awkward Moment . . .

by EMILY ORTON on MARCH 8, 2017

The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong –that’s when adventure starts.
— Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia

We’ve been home from our sailing trip for two and a half years and people still want to know, "What's your next adventure?"  In my head I think, "You mean besides spinning through space on this fragile planet at 1,000 mph with 7 billion other people?"  If I’m stretching beyond my current capacity, it’s an adventure.  If I’m risking failure or embarrassment, it’s an adventure.  If I don’t know what the outcome will be, it’s an adventure.  There is a lot of adventure in my life.

I used to tape up bold quotes like “Do something that scares you every day!”  I imagined myself as brave, dauntless and optimistic.  I know myself better now. 

Marion can handle herself, Indiana Jones:  Raiders of the Lost Ark

Marion can handle herself, Indiana Jones:  Raiders of the Lost Ark

I do not blithely laugh in the face of danger, failure, embarrassment or inconvenience.  I squirm.  I resist.  I get defensive.   And then I take a deep breath and consider the kind of person I hope to be.  That person is different than who I am.  So I have to choose to be teachable.  I tell myself, “I don’t know how to do this, but I’m willing to risk discomfort if it gives me a chance at becoming a more capable or more compassionate person.”

Since Fezywig, we’ve had hundreds of chances to stretch, fail or be embarrassed in big and little ways.  Every time I write a blog post, I go into mini-recovery mode (i.e. chocolate) because I’ve opened up to you and I don’t know if my thoughts will resonate and encourage you. 

This is my ideal  chocolate comfort  but generic semi sweet chocolate chips will do

This is my ideal chocolate comfort but generic semi sweet chocolate chips will do


It would be easier not to write, so why do we bother?  What we believe determines what we do.  We believe encouragement is the greatest gift we can give each other.  Others have generously opened their lives online or in books.  Reading about their lives has encouraged us to press into our fears and keep growing.  In gratitude we want to follow their example. 


Four and a half months ago, we decided to spend a year working full-time on a book about our Fezywig journey.  We’ve finished the second draft (many more ahead) and have started sending agent queries.  We don’t know how it will turn out.  It could fail.  It could be embarrassing.  We could spill our guts, burn through our savings and not make a difference to anyone.  There are no guarantees, but we’re doing it because we love you whether or not you love us.

Trial and Error—works every time
— Erik Orton

Our hope is that as we share our setbacks and leaps of faith, you will be encouraged.  Trial and error is the inevitable method for discovering the life path that brings the greatest satisfaction.  

Our dreams and our fears may be different, but all 7 billion of us are sharing this awkward moment between birth and death. More than anything, we want you to keep trying.  So . . . I’m going to eat some chocolate.  What’s your next adventure

If you think this post would encourage someone you know, please consider sharing.