From my own 193-country journey to the stories of many other people who were kindly willing to share, The Happiness of Pursuit attempts to extract and convey the lessons of modern-day quests. This series explores some of these lessons.
Lesson: Some adventures should be shared.
In studying quests, I heard from people who chose to pursue a big goal as a couple, a family, or just as a group of friends. These joint attempts had mixed results.
In some cases, like John and Nancy Vogel, tackling a dream together was a great success. John and Nancy took their two sons on an epic 17,000 mile bicycle journey from Alaska to Argentina. There were numerous hardships and struggles along the way, of course, but the “family on bikes” made it to the end and were better off because of it.
In other cases, people who attempted an epic journey together ended up peeling off as one person realized that they wanted something different. These separations were hard.
“In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.” -Haruki Murakami
Tom Allen began his own bicycle quest with friends, who later said goodbye and returned to England as he continued. But then Tom met a girl and fell in love—what would he do?
It was a tough decision (the whole story is in the book), and at one point he said that “a dream can have only one owner.”
Is that true? Perhaps it depends on the dream.
Regardless, some challenges can be conquered jointly, and even if your quest isn’t a tag-team effort, chances are that a number of people will participate in your dream as you move toward completion.
- Unhappiness can lead to new beginnings
- Everyone has a calling. Follow your own passion
- Before beginning, count the cost
- Every day matters. The awareness of our mortality can help us pursue a goal
- It feels good to check things off a list
- Misadventures produce confidence