I recently ran across a Facebook post by a woman with whom I used to work.
It included a link to an article in a magazine called Growing Bolder. I've read only the one article, but the magazine is about people discovering -- and living -- their passions in life. The article I read was about a group of women who get together for a variety of outdoor adventures, some taking them out of their comfort zone. Sometimes this group of women went hiking someplace new. Sometimes they went kayaking or engaged in other outdoor activities.
This is a very appealing idea to me. Sadly, I don't have women in my life who are interested in such activities. But I really like the idea of not just growing older (something I can't do anything about), but also of growing bolder (something I can do something about).
I'm not really a bold person. Doing new things can make me uncomfortable. But sometimes I like to push myself and once in a while step a toe or two out of my comfort zone. This is why, years ago, I signed up to run the San Francisco Marathon (all 26.2 hilly miles of it). This is why I signed up to do a three-day, 60-mile walk (from San Jose to San Francisco) to raise money for breast cancer research. I went to Ireland on a bicycle tour despite having not ridden a bicycle for many years. (I did get a bicycle and I trained before the trip). I volunteered to represent the federal government agency for which I worked for 3-1/2 months in Moscow. Then I settled into a comfortable, not very challenging life.
But in the past few years I went snowshoeing for the first time (I had a blast). I rode a camel twice, in Jordan and in Morocco. I hiked in Ethiopia at more than 12,000 feet, even spending a short amount of time at 14,000 foot elevation. I walked 50+ miles of Spain's Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), a pilgrimage route through Spain and France since the Dark Ages.
I have, since retirement, rediscovered my passion for photography. I also have discovered a passion for travel, especially international travel. Despite rarely traveling with someone I know, I have decided that it's much more important to travel with strangers than not to travel at all.
These things are not exceptionally bold, but they're not bad for a single woman in her 70s. I traveled alone on each of these trips, but I met up with other travelers taking the same trip. My excursions would have been much bolder had I traveled on my own, arranging hotels, transportation, etc., on my own. But I'm not that bold.
One trip that I do want to take before I get too old is to ride the Trans Siberian Railway across the massive breadth of Russia. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I do speak Russian, not fluently but passably, so that would be a big help.
Being bold means different things to different people. I am happy with where I am now. I have a full schedule already booked for 2020 (or I did until the coronavirus pandemic hit), as well as a couple of trips scheduled beyond that. I will continue to travel for as long as I am able. I will continue to enjoy photographing beautiful places and wonderful wildlife, and use the proceeds from sales of photographs and calendars to support charity.
So maybe what I'm doing isn't really bold. That doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I am living my best life, enjoying myself, pursuing my passions and contributing to make the world a better place.