Solitude. On its own, the word may insinuate isolation, emptiness, seclusion. But the context within which one experiences solitude can make it a time of invaluable reflection, perspective, inspiration. This past long weekend, I took the opportunity to head northwest on a solo road trip. Seventeen — yes, 17 episodes of NPR’s “How I Built This” later, I didn’t feel drained from this time on the road — but rather longing for more of this time to think, dream, listen, explore the corners of my mind and that of others along the way.
Along the road, I soaked up the stories shared by founders of various brands and companies. Some of my favorites. Some I barely know. Each one engaging me with a different nuance of how they took their idea from concept to reality and beyond. I was like a sponge that reached that point to be squeezed like a big bear hug so I could take more in. Some resonated deeply. Others not as much. But each handed me a little nugget of wisdom. Like that ant colonies succeed because no one is in charge. And it is possible in some cases to be blessed with the advantage of naivete and/or inexperience.
One in particular came towards the end of the interview with a former high school classmate of mine, Lara Merriken, founder of Larabar. Lara acknowledged how luck did play a role in various opportunities she had in life, and an important takeaway for her in that regard was to always surround yourself with people who believe in you. But when reflecting back on roadblock moments, those moments when hurdles could have seemed insurmountable, she realized she would have more to lose if she didn’t find out, than she would if she tried and it didn’t work.
This is where a parallel in my life comes into play that excites, intrigues, perplexes, and energizes me. I’ll have more to lose if I don’t find out, than I do if I try and it doesn’t work. This is my song’s chorus on repeat in my mind, and I’m still seeking the words to write the verse. “I’ll have more to lose if I don’t find out…I’ll have more to lose if I don’t find out… I’ll have more to lose if I don’t find out…”
I’m setting out on a three-month journey in a few weeks. I have no doubt it will rock my world. A Great Big Journey. Not a journey where I’ll be traveling the world— but one where I know I’ll be on an epic adventure intellectually, emotionally, dare I say spiritually? That word alone is daunting to me.
And so I’ll leave this here. A few words that are part of the inspiration behind my Great Big Journey. “…. you only need one other person. One warm-blooded body besides your own who sees soundness in your insanity. One person to give you the permission you’re desperate for.” — Steph Jagger