|Are you open to adventure?|
Whether it's naturalists like Mike Tomkiss, living in the Scottish Highlands and braving discomfort, epic mountain hikes and fierce weather in his studies and observations of Golden Eagles, or people rowing the Atlantic, climbing Mount Everest, traversing Africa or following in the footsteps of Captain Cook - our bookshelves are full of real-life tales of adventure and challenge.
"I do enjoy reading books about explorers, whether old or modern"Most recently I've read a book called The Explorer Gene by Tom Cheshire, recommended to me by a friend of mine, and happily available on the library's bookshelves (ours ran out of space years ago). Even as adventure style books go, this one has a twist because it's about three generations of a single Swiss family - the Piccards - who all achieved remarkable things. What I loved most about it was not necessarily the achievements themselves, which were impressive, the free thinking, encouragement and perseverance shown by each generation.
The story begins in the early twentieth century with Auguste Piccard, a tall Swiss professor with dreams of the stratosphere. In his pursuit of science (he was obsessed with studying cosmic rays), he designed a balloon with a revolutionary pressurised cabin and became the first human to reach the stratosphere - reaching around 75000 feet! He was a friend of Einstein and was also the inspiration for Professor Calculus in Herge's Tintin.
"Even as adventure style books go, this one has a twist because it's about three generations of a single Swiss family"
|How deep can you go?|
With such illustrious forbears, I can imagine there might have been pressure on the next generation, but Jacques' son Bertrand instead chose to become a psychologist to begin with, although with a passion for hang gliding. It was only later in life that his explorer gene caught up with him, and he became the first to pilot to circumnavigate the world in a balloon - the Breitling Orbiter - in 1999. Now he's behind the attempt to fly a solar powered plan around the world too, Solar Impulse.
In fact, the remarkable achievements by this remarkable family all came relatively late in life, and as a by product of the relatively less glamorous work and careers they had already embarked upon. Auguste was a physicist, Jacques was an economist and Bertrand remains a psychologist. They didn't set out to be professional thrill seekers, they were just curious and open to possibility.
"They didn't set out to be professional thrill seekers, they were just curious and open to possibility."In our own lives, we may be run of the mill physicists, economists, psychologists - teachers, pastors, engineers. But we can still take inspiration from the curiosity and openness of the Piccards. What are the things you're passionate and curious about? Can you take some action to discover something new about it? Not necessarily completely new (although I'm not ruling it out), but maybe just new to you? And how can you be more open to opportunity around you?
For the Piccards, their achievements needed not just vision but a lot of persistence and determination.
So maybe we all need to review our lenses, how we're seeing opportunity around us.
As Thomas Edison said: "Opportunity is missed my most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work".
|How can you be more curious?|
We've all got that explorer gene, and it's time to let it out!
"We've all got that explorer gene, and it's time to let it out!"
Thanks for taking the time to read Exploring. If you've enjoyed it please share it with your friends on social media! Why not subscribe to The Potting Shed Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher for expanded musings and much more (direct RSS feed is here).
I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org