Ever received a gift you didn’t want but you really wanted? That’s what I received from my family this Christmas. It was an experience gift. One of those gifts you do rather than get more stuff. It required some level of skill. Unfortunately a skill I hadn’t used in forty five years.
It was a day’s dirt bike riding on a motor bike around the Darwin hinterland. So of course, there was a high level of apprehension. Unlike my twenties I consider myself now more in a preservation stage of life. More seeking experiences than pursuing adventurous risks. I figured it would be a success, if not a huge relief if I could just make it back in one piece or at best unscathed. It didn’t help though when my brother in law asked if I had updated my will!
To be honest, if it was my choice, I wouldn’t have given this activity a second thought. But it was now more than just a gift. It was a personal challenge. As much a challenge of dealing with fear. The thought of all the things that could go wrong.
I was reminded when my son recently asked me to go spear fishing with him. Once again, if it was my choice, I would have been quite comfortable in the safely of the boat. But sometimes we all need a bit of a nudge out of our comfort zone.
Without question, the safest way to live is to stay where you feel comfortable. But there’s something exhilarating, when you step into the unfamiliar, out of your comfort zone. Where there’s a certain feeling of stress. Particularly in this preservation stage of life. To then cautiously and steadily use that stress to build your level of confidence. Whether it was spearfishing amongst the unknown below the surface or now slipping and sliding through the top end tropics.
As the day progressed from the dusty to the monsoon drenched muddy trails in the rural outskirts of Darwin, so did my confidence. I started to recall how back in my twenties I would throw my trail bike from side to side as I raced through forest trails. I may have been far short of this youthful level, but making it back at the end of a long day with only a minor graze, the feeling was indeed exhilarating.
And according to Tim Walker, owner of Bike You, that’s the most satisfying part of his business. Seeing the glow of confidence from people who take on the challenge of stepping outside of their comfort zone. I spoke to Tim in the video below, how through also the generous support of others, the positive emotional difference he has seen in people who just need that bit of confidence building achievement in their lives. Or simply just sharing an adventurous experience between friends or family members.
Who would have thought a motor bike could do that?