Adventurers/explorers have always been a different breed. And they are to be respected. Well, the American Indians and other indigenous peoples might disagree with that. But on the whole, they are a brave, independent breed who deserve respect. The world would be a different place without the adventurers.
The problem is, most of this planet is pretty well discovered. So a Queen cannot outfit a band of adventurous types to set sail and discover new, undiscovered lands to claim for her. So adventures have been slowly evolving into record breaking. First to climb a particular mountain. Then first woman to climb that mountain. And now we have the newest phenomena, youngest to climb that mountain. Or fly that plane, or sail that sea. And of course, these adventures are almost like reality shows, what with blogs and Twitter and Facebook to keep us posted every step of the way.
I admire people who possess this sense of adventure. What I do not admire is the expectation that when someone gets in trouble, they, and society in general, expect a rescue mission to be launched. If the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria had run into trouble at sea, they were left to their own devices. Had they never returned, they would have been forgotten by all but their immediate families and those who had financed the adventure.
Being an adventurer or explorer implies something of a risk taker. If you climb a mountain and there is an avalanche, rescuers should not have to be dispatched, risking getting caught in another avalanche and spending a fortune in tax dollars. Tax dollars paid out by poor souls, working their fingers to the bone without a bit of excitement in their lives. People who expect their tax dollars to go to improving schools – so their children will have a brighter future than they do. After all, modern adventurers are not coming from the poor. You have to have money behind you for a modern day adventure of any kind. So plan for a rescue plan is what I say. You want the risk, the rush, then you need to be responsible for the rescue.
My biggest problem is with the young adventurer. If you had asked my son if he could manage a boat round the world when he was seven, he would have said yes. Children are such natural born adventurers. Obviously, Abby Sunderland is the reason I have gone into this topic today. Children are natural adventurers with very little fear. My son would have gone out to slay a dragon at five. At twenty he shows much more restraint. Unless, of course he is under the influence of alcohol. And if you are under the influence, I don’t care if you are sixty, you have the courage of a child. Well, we can’t do anything about the foolish sixty year old. But there is a reason children have parents. Parents are the people who don’t allow their children to go boldly into dangerous situations. It is our job. In my opinion, any parent who allows a child to set forth on a sailboat trip around the world, alone, should have all their children taken away and put in state care. Oh, and Mr. Sunderland, don’t go around spouting that crap about anyone who sails would understand. I am a sailor, Mr. Sunderland. That is not the same thing as being a damn bloody fool.
Have all the adventures you want. Just don’t expect others to risk their lives and spend taxpayer dollars to save you when things go wrong. And if you are the parent of a child adventurer, YOU have a duty to protect that child.