Hissy Fit - June 2021 - Adventure Awaits: Even if You Claim to Not Be Adventurous

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


June 2021
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

Are you guilty of labeling yourself? I am.
Any time adventure or travel or camping comes up in a conversation,
I immediately label myself: “I’m not very adventurous!”
“I’ve never really been a traveler.”
“Camping? I’m not what you would call outdoorsy.”

It was a Sunday afternoon in May that I spent time on Lake Murray, the beautiful, 50,000-acre man-made lake right outside of Columbia, SC, where I grew up. I was lying across the back of a friend’s pontoon, staring at the water and thinking about all the days I had spent on this lake. My family had a lake house my whole life until a year before my father died in 2008. As thoughts of lake days gone by meandered through my head, I had an epiphany: I am an adventurer, and I’m outdoorsy, too!

The theme of this month’s issue is #AdventureAwaits. We have utilized this theme in previous years, too, mainly because the stories are always exciting, fun and, well, adventurous. Each time during an adventure issue, I have written about and labeled myself as not an adventurous person. But being in the middle of Lake Murray for probably about the two-thousandth time, reminded me that much of my childhood was filled with adventure that toggled between the shores of Lake Murray and the beaches and creeks of Edisto Island.

I never considered my lake and beach adventures adventurous because growing up, we never left South Carolina. Our summers were filled with days at the lake house boating, skiing, zip-sledding and tubing. I can’t tell you how many kids my father taught to waterski. Our first lake house that we had until I was well into college had about 150 acres. In fact, my dad carved out the dirt roads to go from the house to the dock—almost a mile. I was driving my dad’s truck by age 10—by myself! I would ride my bike or drive down to the pond to fish and bait my own hook. I always loved pole fishing, watching that half red, half white float and waiting for it to go under so I could jerk my pole to hook the fish and then yank it up to see what I caught. There were cows on the land, and they added to the adventure. Sometimes I would ride my bike down to the dock, avoiding the cows the whole way. I was afraid of them, especially the bulls. Once, when a friend and I were trying to cut down a Christmas tree, a bull chased us until we ran to a tractor that Dad had been working with on the edge of the woods. We climbed up on it and waited over an hour for that mean bull to leave.

Going to the lake was always fun. We invited a ton of friends up almost every weekend, we played the juke box loud, and because there were no neighbors anywhere near, Dad put outdoor speakers on the corners of the 200-year-old house, complete with an old family graveyard that held graves from the 1800s that were fenced off with leaning rusted wrought iron. This graveyard made for extra adventures, especially since the ghost of Renee Ron Doolie-A was talked about on the regular. Usually, right when none of the kids expected it, one of the adults would come running from behind the house at night dressed as a ghost, claiming to be Renee Ron Doolie-A. We would all scream and scatter with our hearts racing out of sheer fear. When night fell it became pitch black dark up on all that land, which increased the spookiness that much more.

Edisto was more of the same, only saltier and sandier. The kids’ bedrooms were under the old stilt house, so we actually had to go out the front door and down the stairs to get to them. Down there was freedom! Staying up most of the night, playing loud music, sneaking piña coladas and so much girl talk! We would explore the island, go crabbing riding on the tailgate of my dad’s truck out to the dock on Store Creek, sometimes catching 50 or more in one high tide. Once the large rubber garbage can we had half filled with crabs tipped over in the back of the truck, and all us kids were right back there with them. Talk about adventure…with a whole lot of chaos thrown in.

Honestly, I believe adventure is not where you go, or what you do, it’s an attitude within. It’s about being curious to explore even the mundane and open to whatever may come. And, I definitely am both of those, mixed with a whole lot of serendipity and maybe a little “Squirrel!”

What labels have you put on yourself? Whatever they are, dispel them now! They no longer serve you. You are adventurous, beautiful, courageous, smart, interesting! Truth is, you can be anything and anyway you want to be. Our self-imposed labels aren’t like a mattress label that isn’t allowed to be removed under penalty of the law. So go for it! Just rip out those old, inaccurate labels and sew new ones in with the thread of belief. You’ll be surprised how your life will open right up. Breathe deep, believe and smile. You just embraced some adventure.

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