My adventures really began when I fell in love with a Land Rover – a 1972 Series III to be specific. There was a guy involved in there too (still is) but the real story is what started in my head when I sat on her bumper outside a friend’s friend’s apartment building on a cold Halloween night.
The Landy was obviously a car that went on true journeys – she had dents and gouges in the paint but also looked lovingly maintained. When I mentioned my infatuation to my friend Lauren, she took one more sip of her cigarette, exhaled and said, Well, you better go back upstairs and talk to that guy in the dirty bunny mascot suit. It’s his car.” And we’ve been weekend adventurers together pretty much ever since.
Which is not to say I didn’t bring plenty of my own to the table or the urge to adventure had not previously wove a scarlet stripe through my soul.
I studied Art History to be able to imagine riding the Silk Road and piloting lofted sailed junks in the Far East, ferrying the most beautiful items in the world safely from one horizon to the other. I read and dreamed and fought to give others the same knowledge and possibilities, but I didn’t realize you could actually DO these things, if in a more regional rather than global version.
But this Landy, she was the one who made me want to stop researching and strategizing, dreaming and planning and instead go out and actually try.
With the Landy, my adventures became local – my rich imaginings of adventure became taking out a Flying Scot on the Potomac, hiking to the beach to climb the bones of an old Civil War ferry, off-roading down the mountainside of a colonial forge and camping on All Hallow’s Eve on a haunted mountain top in the snow, listening for the much folklored local yeti’s call.
My conception of what I was capable of doing just grew and grew – as well as a deep need to see the stars without cloud cover regularly.
Of course, I still love a perfectly balanced G&T in an art gallery or glossy-wooded bar or under the soft lights of a rooftop garden – it’s just now, I’ll also happy to take one in a campaign chair with Orion’s belt above me. I found a place for both parts – manicures and the freedom of not washing my hair for 4 days in a row (and now I know why Indiana Jones clung to his fedora – hats cover all sins!).
And I was absolutely scared at certain points – but when I came out on the other side I knew how much more I could do – like canoe for 5 days and drink mostly river water, camp outside in the late frigid winter, ride a Land Rover off road without a trail, drive a Kubota around a cliff-edged trail, or hike through the legendary snake rock mountain – the startling tale of snake rock mountain to come…
There were certainly some ups and downs or learning curve(s)…but like I always say when the Landy breaks down and we’re fixing her in the middle of nowhere – It wouldn’t be an adventure if we knew exactly how it would end.
So let me tell you about what I’ve loved, learned, bled and griped over and give you the best of what I love about adventuring on the East Coast. Next Wednesday, I’ll be back with the top 15 things new adventurers wonder and need to know about spending a few days in the out of doors.