As humans, we strive for many things in life. Some people strive for materialistic things, such as cars, houses, and land. Others strive to have “successful” jobs such as being an actor/actress, or becoming a famous writer. But, regardless of what life path we decide to take, there is one thing that everyone equally strives for – happiness. One of the hardest things we encounter in our quest of positivity is finding ways to achieve happiness in the long run. And, in all honesty, the answer is all around us.
Adventuring has the power to change our entire lives. Not only is the feeling of conquering a daring mountain or travelling to a different country something beyond explainable, the experiences and memories we form are scientifically proven to create long-term happiness. In 2015, a US study showed that people who sought experiences and adventured into the world proved to be happier than people who hunted materialistic items.
The first story of Jo Piazza is an astounding one. When she was in her mid 30’s, she was diagnosed with a rare muscle disorder. It would stiffen her muscles leading to her suffering pain and difficulty with activities such as walking. She had recently married her husband, Nick, when the diagnoses happened. Despite her obvious physical restrictions, she was destined to accomplish something great. Jo felt that she was holding Nick back and tried to convince him to divorce her. She wanted him to live the best life he could and continue doing the things she wouldn’t allow him to do, such as biking, climbing, and hiking. But, despite her limitations, he stuck with her.
And, after some time of talking, the two decided to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, a volcano located in Tanzania (as well as the highest point in Africa). Over the course of the climb, their relationship was strained. Jo felt like her deteriorating health held Nick back, and Nick blamed himself for not helping her more. However, despite their clear issues, the two made it up most of the mountain. On the third day of climbing, Nick sustained an injury, causing them to descend down the mountain. Jo was suffering from a disability that put her body and relationship under the most stress they’d ever been in. When she descended down the mountain, she didn’t feel defeated- she felt happier and stronger than ever. She was able to prove to herself that she was capable of so much more than she’d thought before, and was happy to say that her relationship with Nick had never been better.
Another story is the one of Royce Hardman. Royce was an Australian soldier who served in Afghanistan in 2009. Upon his return home from deployment, he was diagnosed with PTSD. Because of this illness, he would often suffer flashbacks and fall victim to mental outbursts. He started to isolate himself from others and face symptoms similar to that of deep depressions. It wasn’t before long that he felt he needed to do something about it. His solution was to help himself, as well as any other veterans with PTSD, by walking across Australia with his dog, Trigger.