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Monday, June 29, 2015

Living Adventurously In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California. Photo courtesy of Phil White in Lake Mempremagog.

Air-conditioned cars and WiFi-enabled busses take us places. Call uber for a short ride, make an airplane reservation on your mobile device, catch a high-speed train; enjoy the sumptuous meals on a mega cruise ship. The modern-day transportation industry has devices so many ways to make our travel easy, temperate-controlled, and comfortable.

Go to the second floor on an escalator or take an elevator. Move through an airport via a moving walkway. Luggage has rollers and single-passenger electronic carts are available in large retail locations. Self-driving cars will soon populate the streets. Even ambulatory means to travel short distances have been made easy by mankind.

Go to the supermarket and purchase ready-made food. Heat up water in a microwave or get quick energy with a gel pack or with a heavy-caffein drink bought at a convenience store. Order online for a pizza to be delivered within minutes. The modern-day food industry has made consumption easier and more convenient than any time in history.

Communicate with friends and family around the world at any time via messages, videos, links, photos or emotcons with email, text, line, Whatsapp or SMS by touching buttons. Wristwatches can now accomplish the functions of phones and computers and storage devices. The contemporary communications industry has eliminated the need to ever again handwrite a letter, dial a phone, go to the post office or purchase stamps.

Watch a movie, see a drama or documentary on television, experience virtual reality with glasses, or play games – by yourself or with others – on all kinds of electronic devices while traveling, in school, at work, or in bed. Enjoy films, videos, concerts, apps, games or music produced by professionals or by yourself at the push of a button. The modern-day entertainment industry has completely transformed the ability of mankind to laugh, smile, cry, dream or learn.

Translate foreign words, articles or books online in any language to your mother tongue. Look up quotes, references, background information, people, events, and any kind of data online within milliseconds. Crunch numbers of impossible size, make calculations without even knowing formulas, research historical data through the convenience of your computer, iPad, mobile device, phone or watch. The software industry has put mankind’s collective knowledge and history in the hands of anyone with access to the Internet.

Hot and humid? Turn on the air conditioner. Snowing and cold? Turn on the heat. Hungry? Go to the refrigerator or use the microwave. Lost? Check online. Frustrated or bored? Grab your phone or mobile device. Stumped, confused or curious? Turn on your computer. Modern technology has innumerable means to resolve myriad human conditions, situations and issues.

So with all these technologies and conveniences of modern times, where does the sense of adventure and risk exist? Can it or should adventure and risk be eliminated?

We think not.

It is inherently good to test yourself, push yourself, or question yourself. It is fundamentally human to fail at something or fear something. The innate self-satisfaction to improve and achieve something is a great internal drive.

That sense of self-satisfaction can come by running far, cycling farther or climbing higher on land. It can come by studying and learning concepts at school or making discoveries or inventions in the lab or workplace. It can come by trying and ultimately accomplishing things that no one else ever done. Mankind’s history is shaped by those with the vision, courage and curiosity to push boundaries and conventions.

Open water swimming is one brilliantly simple option to seek adventure in our modern world. By leaving the shoreline and swimming out to the open water, we can face inherent risk with a reasonable amount of safety. We can face all kinds of marine life and conditions that can change dynamically – for the better or worse.

Forget conveniences and comforts of the terra firma. Face your fears. Challenge yourself. Live adventurously in the open water.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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