Dating back to second grade, my two favorite explorers are Hernando de Soto and Ponce de Leon, largely because they “discovered” things—de Soto was the first European to cross the mighty Mississippi River (the Hernando de Soto Bridge spans the Mighty Sip and connects my hometown of Memphis to West Memphis, AR, meaning he must’ve discovered a big trashy KOA campground) and de Leon discovered…Florida. At least his name kicks ass. Both of theirs do.
[Update: Wiki says de Soto was not just an explorer but a CONQUISTADOR. What a guy.]
It’s weird that being inspired to make daring choices, the kinds you face a hundred times a day, was once its own profession, but when I grow up an explorer is what I want to be—always standing on the front lip of the boat daring the world to be flat and let me drop right off into space. Exploring the world. Exploring adulthood, and its bastard screwup son manhood. Exploring my feelings and personal truths, even when the seas are stormy (and my scurvy-addled brain is threatening mutiny, as it will).
Last week I had my yearly three cups of coffee with one of my oldest friends. He told me he and his lovely wife are hoping to get pregnant (so I’m hoping he can work in a camping trip in April), meaning we’re charting courses on opposite hemispheres. Still we’ll both face choices and challenges where visibility will be low, so we made our yearly promise renewal to each other, I Hernando (I just like his beard better) and he Ponce, to keep exploring no matter what.