The Journey

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Board a plane with no destination in mind, and in the end see the world flash by.

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How to Become the Hero of Your Own Story in 5 Steps

How To Be Your Own Hero in 5 Steps hero confidence self-esteem self esteem mountain travel

I used to spend every second of every day with my nose stuck in a book, jealous of all my favorite heroes. Spending all of my time wishing that I lived in these other places and that I could maybe one day have an adventure fall into my lap just like it happens at the beginning of every quest book.

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I love this series so much I bought a print boxed set of it. You can try your library or buy the exact same set I have here.

But you and I aren’t Princess Cimorene. A talking frog isn’t going to come up to us one day and offer to help us solve our problems. There are plenty of real humans in the world who are willing to help, of course- the suicide hotline (US number: 1-800-273-8255), friends, all the usual things about a trusted adult I’m sure a million people have said a million times at this point. Still, though there is truth that kindness may be hard to find in difficult times but it never dies, no one can help you if you don’t help yourself. No one can help you go on adventures if you refuse to talk to the frogs that offer them.

So one day I decided I was done waiting for the day when someone would pop up in my life and offer me adventure under the right circumstances- I had to prepare myself to be ready for adventure to happen at any time like with Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit, or to chase down my adventure for myself.

Somewhere between traveling the world and committing to be a full time writer as an actual career that I pay the bills with, I think I’ve found my adventures. I’ve turned a few opportunities down, of course, because being unable to say no is also problematic, but I think it’s a great skill to be able to helm your own life and know what your dreams are so you can chase them down. That brings me to my first point:

  1. No one has the power to make your life what you want, besides you

    • You can’t wait for your parents, or friends, or fate to make life happen for you. If you sit on your couch and just let life pass you by, you’ll be one of those people who wakes up one day in their fifties and realizes they haven’t chased a single dream or done a single thing they were compassionate about in their whole life.
  2. No one has the power to stop your adventure but you

    • Of course everyone has their own inner demons, and faces their own life problems- prejudice and hatred can bring you down in very real ways, and people who live in less than ideal places like a region bombarded with bombs won’t be able to just prance into a dream life. But you can still have something to live for, no matter what your life is like. You can still find some measure of at least satisfaction in even the most trying circumstances. And if your life is a more peaceful experience in the suburbs, you really are all that is holding you back.
  3. Don’t depend on others to make you happy

    • Positive Psychology, the study of what it looks like when the brain and psyche are actually working properly (as opposed to regular psychology, which you must admit learning too much about can make you paranoid and think everyone in the world has a mental illness whether they truly do or not) says that happiness is a fleeting and situational response, while joy is a constant and a mindset. So, in a way, it is sort of true that other people and things make you happy, but they don’t make you content with your life overall, and that’s the thing that leaves a searing ache in your heart when it’s missing. Cultivate joy, and if you don’t know how, check out this page which does a pretty good job of summarizing at least the basics I learned in my one semester of this stuff.
  4. Looking for everything to fail in your life means it will

    • Look, I’m not saying you should be bubbly peppy joy-joy all the time. Optimism isn’t really everyone’s thing. But if you give up before you even get started doing something, you will probably sabotage yourself without even realizing it. This goes double if your goal is to make friendships and all you talk about to potential friends is whining about not having friends, because being whiny is really annoying to most humans. It’s not that other people don’t whine, make excuses, and play the blame game- it’s just that it’s best not to fixate on it and be stuck in that mindset all the time. If you can limit verbally sharing your whining with the world to the minimal amount you need to feel better about things, even better then.
  5. You deserve to be the kind of person who sticks up for yourself

    • Why do you need a hero? Is your life boring? Do you hate hate hate school? Try to be your own greatest hero and find some way or thing that can make your current life satisfying, or even fun. Make a game of doing boring tasks. Try to figure out how to give to your relationships in such a way that you get the love and friendship you need. Tell someone what isn’t working, and problem solve ways to fix it together. And if that still doesn’t help and you can’t change things up so it gets better? Figure out how to rescue yourself from the situation- drop from the advanced math class to the easier one, break up with a friend who just cannot stop being toxic, get to work building the career you actually want to have. (And yes, even if you are younger, creative jobs like the indie book biz or IT jobs can be started when you are a teen as long as you can put in some work and do the research.)

I used to be the kind of person who read because I was bored of my own life. Now I enjoy reading about adventures AND I go on my own. It’s a win-win when you decide to look for your own adventures instead of waiting for them to come to you.

 

Adventures in The Forest

The forest is a pretty magical place to me, but it’s not that way all the time. Any part of nature can be treacherous and threaten your life. Especially if you live in it all alone without the conveniences of modern life to show to you from danger. Today were going to dive in to some classic and some new adventure books based in the wild!

Hatchet

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Hatchet is an adventure classic, a straightforward tale of a boy who ventures into the world alone and must fight against the forces of nature which threaten to kill him even while his secret tries to tear him apart.

My Side of The Mountain

Sam is a 12-year-old boy who hates his family's cramped New York City apartment and decides to run away to his great-grandfather's abandoned farm in the Catskill Mountains. He reads a book about wilderness survival and uses his fledgling skills to stay alive: camping, hunting, and even making a peregrine falcon named Frightful his pet and hunting companion. Inspired an entire generation of kids including probably Richie Tenenbaum to be fascinated by falconry, and was named to the the Newbery Medal Honors list in 1960.

This was one of my dad’s favorite books growing up, but it took me a few chapters to warm up to it. Naturally, when I was forced to read it in school, I wasn’t a fan of it at first just because I was against the principal of assigned reading. once I really got into it though I was a big fan of this! It’s a classic survival book, yes, but it’s cool in the clever ideas he uses for said survival. I will definitely be reading this!

The Sign of the Beaver

It's 1769 and 12-year-old Matt is left on his own in the wilderness while his father resettles their family. He befriends a 14-year-old Native American chief's grandson named Attean and learns to hunt and fish, and is eventually invited to join the tribe and move north. Some of the descriptions of native culture in this book are dated, but the underlying message is of acceptance and understanding.

This book is a little different because it relies on teamwork for the hero to survive. it’s a pretty historical novel, not really because it’s old but because some of the cultural portrayals are. That said a story of a boy basically abandoned by his family coming to find his identity through friendship with someone who is supposedly his enemy by virtue of race alone is both interesting and encouraging. I flipped through it, but I definitely intend to sit down and read it front to back someday soon.

Have you tried these books? What adventure books are your favorites?

Adventures in The Snow

I recently completed a post on awesome classic adventure books based in the jungle. You guys seemed to be fans of it, so I will take this series further!

The Call of the Wild

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This classic tale is about a man, his dogs, and the struggle to survive. I’m particularly drawn to rereading this right now because I feel I struggle to survive with how the weather has been very gross this winter!

Balto, but the book

The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic by [Salisbury, Gay, Salisbury, Laney]

I think everyone has heard of the heroic dog named Balto. The story of a sled team racing to get medicine during a pandemic is still well known thanks to a 90s  animated movie. THIS version, however, is a little more grown-up and a lot more factual! I’m a major dog nut, some definitely reading this.

Winterkill

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Something old, something new, right? I wanted to feature a more recent adventure book because it’s awesome. “Outside the gates of Emmeline’s village is a horror no one stupid enough to tempt. But facing the unknown might be the only way to escape the evil hiding among their own…” this is on my must read list for winter and I think it just might end up on yours too.

Have you read any of these books? Can you recommend your own favorite adventure novels?

Adventures in the Jungle

This month we are going to dive into action stories, starting with today’s scene: the jungle. A lot of interesting action stories are based on this setting, and today we are going to look at a few of them.

Tarzan of The Apes

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Edgar Rice Burrough wrote this classic tale of a child abandoned on foreign soil and orphaned by a wildcat’s attack who ended up being raised into a man by apes. A rather unlikely tale, indeed, despite the scattered stories throughout human history of feral children raised by various types of animals- sure, it can happen, but it usually doesn’t.

This combines a bit of the element of survival, plus exploring strange jungles (always an Action genre favorite), along with the question of finding your place in the world. And maybe a little bit of romance on the side with our heroine/damsel-in-distress Jane.

The Jungle Book

jungle_book-2What would a collection of jungle based action books be without Kipling’s most famous book? I’m personally not a huge fan of the author as a human, my impression of his personality when he was alive was of a fairly ethnocentric individual based on reading his work, but I’m not one to hold a questionable author against a good book.

This book features another feral child (Are all jungle themed action books based on feral children???) who doesn’t really go on a quest so much as he just lives his very colorful life, but then in the end a bad guy pops up so he has to leave his home and join the humans. It’s a little unusual as far as plot goes because leaving home to start an adventure is usually the beginning of the story and not the end, but this book breaks that standard and I kind of like that.

Ken Ward in the Jungle

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This book features a museum curator and his explorer brother, and their adventures together. Instead of Africa or India, this jungle is supposedly in Mexico. I kind of like that this is still a solid adventure novel, but unlike the others the star of the book is a giant nerd. There’s something appealing about that to me as a giant literary nerd.

You should definitely read this book, especially since you’ve probably never read it and none of your friends have- so this is basically the #1 Hipster choice of classical books. Even if you don’t care about being the first of your friends to know about something new, this is a fun read anyways. And, again, as is classic for adventure novels, there is no slow pacing so you won’t be bored at any point unless you respond to books very differently than I do.

Which of these have you read already or plan to read in the future?

 

 

Crypt Runner

They looked into the cave together. It was dark. But somehow, not as dark as they’d expected. The two crept in closer holding hands.

“This looks awfully spooky,” he said. She patted him on the back to offer what small comfort she could give while she was shivering in fear as well.

They went in further, and started to hear the sounds of cheering. A light could be seen shining ahead, and they walked towards it.

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Soon they could see that the cave was occupied. A foot race was being run. All of the entrants were skeletons. “How nice to meet you,” one standing close to them said. “I’m glad to see you want to join in our festivities. “I’m afraid you aren’t dressed well, though. Let me help you both remove that bothersome flesh.” He did.