It’s as though the scientific explanation as to why the Northern Lights, the ‘Auroras’, exists defeats the purpose of its very existence. The Auroras are simply breathtaking; the show they put on could convert an atheist into a believer. They shimmer and flicker across – a vibratory green, thick band in the Icelandic sky; purple sheets of lights dance in between and highlight the contrast between the pitch dark night and fluorescence.
One finds themselves staring up at it for minutes on end without a thought or care in the world. It’s almost like a trance, a meditation. And yet, the Northern Lights exist purely because of solar flare collisions into Earth’s atmosphere. Again, we know why they are there, but that’s not where the beauty lies.
“Please, magician! Don’t tell me how you did your trick! Just show me again – amaze me!” If you ever do find yourself in Iceland, please allow at least six months to be given the opportunity by the weather to have it throw the Northern Lights in your face. If you are blessed with this opportunity, take it in! Really take it in and do not allow anyone, any thought, anything – to distract you from what may be the most magical experience of your life.
The AdventureFit crew found themselves in Iceland towards the latter end of November. People from the Congo, USA, The Isle of Man, various parts of Australia and York, congregated in the southern part of the little and seemingly insignificant shores of Reykjavik for what they all thought would be a fun and enjoyable week...
What an understatement that would turn out to be.
Leading the trip is an experience in itself. We at AdventureFit pride ourselves not on our ability to lead, guide or manage, but to facilitate an adventure holiday. Our job may therefore, to the outside world, present itself as a double edged sword because the goal is to make the client feel like we’re a bunch of mates travelling around. And yet on the other hand, we have to be on top of EVERYTHING.
It is no wonder that the trips can be tiring, but my god are they worth it. To lead a team of like-minded individuals around the world is a dream job, and this realization manifested itself and was confirmed upon gazing up towards the beautiful green and purple lights by a lake outside Reykjavik.
For this particular AdventureFitter, it confirmed a few things. These realizations were years in the making and it’s almost disappointing it took the most wondrous display of nature the world has to offer for them to be brought to light (pardon the pun). But that’s the way life played out. Nevertheless, travelling all over the world, meeting new people, entertaining authentic personal story telling and experiencing life are the things I want to fill my life with until the day I die, and I am grateful to have finally figured that out.
If I were to summarize the ADVF trip into one word that highlighted the product of the best experiences of the trip, it would be “conversations”. Our group happened to be very diverse not only by culture and demographic, but also by viewpoints, values and subjective external and internal experiences. These mixes made for great conversations. Much of the trip was spent in the car discussing a range of topics from politics, spirituality, history, the future of our civilization, society and social behavior, as well as how we all deal with a world that seems to be changing rapidly every day.
The topic of meditation and introspection kept bobbing up to the surface like a beach ball, and I don’t think there was any coincidence to that. As said, with everything changing so quickly these days, it’s important (we all agreed) to maintain a strong degree of self-awareness and comprehend where we all fit into such a world. One of the best things about an ADVF trip is that when you do take some time to step out of your own little bubble, wherever that is, and observe how your life has played out for however long you have been contained in it, you inevitably come to certain realizations.
For many of us, the clichés such as “Fuck what people think,” and “I want to follow my own dreams and passions, not someone else’s” held true. Truthfully, as someone who prides himself on “going against the grain”, I came to the realization that it was disappointing that A.) It takes a holiday to see that (myself included), and B.) That these realizations are clichés because they’re the same trap 99% of our species fall into.
Initially, upon writing this summary of one of the most invaluable chapters of my life, I decided not to write a “And then we did this, and then we did this” piece because I, nor you, would gain much from it. However, what I have come to realize is the sole reason – fuck, purpose if you will, as to why I take great pride in describing myself as an AdventureFit leader.
In truth, an ADVF trip is one big meditation. By removing yourself from the daily bubble you “freely” choose to accept, you can’t help but sit back and observe your life with all its ups and downs. “Why do I always let my boss get the better of me?” “Why don’t I ask her out, what the fuck do I have to lose?” “Why don’t I just quit and start living my life the way I want to?”
Meditation is the practice of observation and focus. By observing your thoughts, you no longer identify with them. This is no different to an ADVF trip. By observing your life from the outside, you no longer identify with it. Of course, you will start to notice things. Again, it is disappointing that we as human beings allow ourselves to fall into such routines, then physically have to rip ourselves out of them in order to change and grow. But if that’s what it takes then that’s what needs to happen.
I will forever value this Icelandic experience. I have forever been ripped out of my bubble and shown the truth. With a flash of green light, my life changed forever.
Tom works as a CrossFit coach, author, podcaster and founder of The Mind Mate. Through personal experience, facilitating conversations about mental health became a strong passion of his.
“I had, for much of my life been anxious. I was ignorant of it, however, having only seen the world through my own lens. Every person’s experience is completely unique and their own, however, I feel it’s time we reconciled that notion rather than move away from it. Becoming more honest with ourselves and others is not only therapeutic by nature, but it also allows for people dealing with mental health issues to learn about and draw upon similarities so they may feel more empowered.”