I have read everything written by Clive Cussler, seriously. I find the combination of marine archeology, historical fiction and adventure addictive. His newest book with coauthor Grant Blackwood, The Lost Empire brings the Fargos back for their 2nd adventure. As a husband and wife treasure hunting team, the Fargos and their Lost Empire escapade are exactly what I wish my 2011 to be – exciting and soul satisfying with a no holds barred, no challenge too great attitude. Of course, a bonus would be lots of time spent in warm, tropical waters turning up things of great historical value that come with a modest but supportive finder´s fee. So while I won´t be running off to Zanzibar to seek fame and fortune just yet, I have decided to devote 2011 to 6 ideas that will bring me closer to being the Cussler.
#1 Take risks.
I live for the ocean and have always felt lacking when landlocked. My parents infused me with this love early on and we spent memorable hours on dive trips to places like Hawaii and Hornby Island. At 16 I lost a friend to a diving accident and lost my enthusiasm. This year, I will embrace my rational and irrational fears and get certified, even if it must be in the cold waters of the Great Lakes. As Cussler would say, the rewards outweigh the risks.
#2 Reunite with passions.
I love what I do, and can (and do) spend 24/7 working. Although I work in marcom, I actually went to school for History in Art, a hybrid of ancient civilization, archeology and art history. My special love is the Bronze Age and I spent an amazing month in a UK wheat field excavating a barrow (think dome like burial chamber). I was dirty, exhausted and blistered – I´ll never forget the feeling of pulling an artifact out of the ground for the first time and realizing that another human being had connected with that very item so many years ago. It stopped becoming ¨history¨and started becoming someone´s story. This year I´m going to take a page from Cussler and volunteer for an underwater excavation – somewhere warm – and reunite myself with my passion for finding stories. (And you better believe that I am going to tweet about it.)
#3 Just see.
Keeping a sense of perspective can be daunting. Travel, exposure to different ideas and finding new ways of seeing the status quo will help me to keep mine in check and forgo the hang-ups that can keep you stuck in a rut. While I may not get to travel as often as I´d like to, finding experiences right here that take me outside of my comfort zone are going to be a key 2011 objective. I´m also going to commit my larger travel aspirations to paper so that I can make them a reality. No more ¨some day¨.
#4 Be thankful.
I think that human nature focuses us on what´s next, rather than experiencing thanks for what has been. I´m certainly not up to par with Cussler´s characters, but I´ve had my share of adventure, living in a couple of countries, working on the oceans and exploring some hard to reach nooks and crannies. I´ve seen what cruel weather can do when rounding Cape Horn, watched the ice break on the Yukon River and shed stuff in favor of experience. I´ve made good friends and learned about what´s really important. Since arriving here I´ve been welcomed and encouraged to make the community my own. Although my feet are often itchy for the next adventure, I´m truly grateful for the people that have made this feel like a real home and for all of the experiences that converged to bring me here.
#5 Enjoy the ride.
In the last sentences of the Lost Empire, Sam Fargo tosses a coin to chose between two assignments, each bringing a new and entirely different adventure. We never find out what the outcome is, and I think that most readers don´t care because we´ve already enjoyed the ride – the journey is more important than the destination. 2011 can be the start of yet another great story with intriguing plot lines, engaging characters and just a touch of scandal. I´m going to make it an amazing ride.
And finally, #6 Be the Cussler.
One of the things that I look forward to in Cussler´s books is the appearance of the author. He always writes himself in at a crucial moment, often helping the heros out of a jam with his unique combination of expertise, wit and knowledge of just what to do. And as quickly as he appears he is gone, he never seeks recognition or compensation. I´ve had the good fortune of coming across my own Cusslers and I hope that I´ve been one myself in some way or other. After all, what we accomplish is never truly done alone. This year I am going show more appreciation for those who´ve quite literally kept my head above water and be more aware of opportunities to be the Cussler myself. I´ll cross my fingers that you don´t end up in a crocodile infested bog though.
So here´s to 2011 –
May obstacles be overcome through our passion, our willingness to take risks and, when we need it, our own personal Cussler, our dreams and aspirations reborn and our friends acknowledged for the essential force of good that they represent in our lives.
As for me, I hope to be in need of a canary yellow seaplane equipped with the GPS coordinates to a newly discovered island in the Indian Ocean by the time 2012 arrives. I better get on that.