"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. . . . Explore. Dream." -Mark Twain
I grew up on a commercial fishing vessel in the Prince William Sound of Alaska. As childhood's seem to go, I'd have to classify mine as extraordinary. My family worked what is called a tender. Our job, was to pick up fish from all of the fishing boats out at the fishing grounds and haul them to town to the processors. The point of this job, was (in my eyes and knowledge) to allow the fishing boats themselves to catch more fish.
The scenery and view of Alaska from the water is awesome and often breathtaking. I have been in many parts of the sound that not many people can say they have explored. As a child, it was common for me to fall asleep in one location, and wake up somewhere completely different. The constant state of relocation with the security of being on our own boat gave me an intense love of exploring and a great ability to adapt to new situations quickly.
This love of exploring was repeated throughout the fall, winter, and spring during the school months at our house in Big Lake, Alaska, in the form of cross-country skiing, four-wheeling, and snow-machine trips. Our family did not own it's own snow-machine, but we would use our four-wheeler and drive on the snow-machine trails while our friends drove their snow-machines.
However, this quote doesn't speak to me about all of the places I have been, but of the places I have yet to go. Not physically, but metaphorically.
To me, not only is Mark Twain speaking about actual traveling, but also emotionally leaving my comfort zones. To listen to differing viewpoints and to learn. To not be constrained by what I see, think, or believe- but to open my eyes, ears, and heart. How can I grow as a person, if I refuse to allow my emotional and physical body to eat it's spinach? Popeye would be disappointed.