Where does my sense of adventure stem from?

I love adventure. All my life I’ve looked for things that gave me a rush.

As a kid, I was very shy. I was very uncomfortable around new people and social situations and I wasn’t a part of the cool people. My mom wanted me to start playing sports. She had been playing handball all her life. But most of the kids in my class were playing football. I really didn’t want to but she took me to practice so I at least could see what it was all about. At first, I just watched from the sideline, but after some convincing, I joined.

I was out of my element, but I had great teammates who made me feel included. I was never that good with the ball in my feet and I struggled to feel like I mastered it. In the beginning, we were all rotating positions for every match, except for the goalkeepers who usually were one of two guys.

But then one match none of them weren’t there, so I was put in goal. It was the most fun I had had on the pitch. I made some saves and got a lot of praise. So the next practice I asked if I could be a goalkeeper. All of a sudden I was the head goalkeeper on the team.

I think I liked the way it felt to throw myself after a ball and managing to save a goal. It gave me a rush, and when I made some great saves everyone came up to me and told me “Great job, you’re awesome!” Because I was the goalkeeper for the team I moved from a nobody to the outer circle of the cool kids in school. I hung out with them after school some times. But really I only had a few close friends.

From the age of about 10 or 12, me and my best friend Thomas, who was popular but didn’t really care used to always come up with crazy stuff to do, like blowing up paint cans with fireworks, climbing and jumping from tall trees, bicycling down 70-degree hill.

When I grew up I did less and less of the things that I had loved to do before and I had become, in my own opinion very boring. I just worked. But I had always had a sense of adventure.

Growing up I had been on a few holidays to some European countries but we always just stayed hotels and never really went on real adventures. Don´t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun and at the time I didn’t really know anything else. But in my early 20s, I started to dream about traveling the world. It was more of an escape from my own head at first, but I became more and more obsessed with it.

A few years later I was in a long term relationship and about a year in we decided to travel the world. I started doing double shifts and saving up, but then it ended unpleasantly. I was sad and disappointed but I had managed to save up about 200 000 Norwegian kroner (about 22000$), so I decided to travel alone.

Most of my life I had dreamed of doing a lot of stuff like bungee jumping, white water rafting, parachuting, etc. And on this trip, I decided to try as much as I could. I loved every second of it and I challenged myself more than I had ever done. I met so many awesome people and heard so many wonderful stories.

So when I came back I wanted to do it again. So again I started working as much as I could and about a year later I did a road trip around Europe for 6 months and flew to Africa to do a 7000km tour of southwestern Africa.

When I came home from that trip I had found coffee and was passionate about that, but I started feeling more and more depressed. I was now almost 27 years old and started to feel like I should get a safety net. So although I worked a lot and saved money still I had decided to buy an apartment with the money. That way I had some security at least.

But it turned out to be kind of a curse. On the surface, I had it pretty good. I owned an apartment and a car, I had a job and I was just starting to learn how to roast coffee.

But inside I felt more and more depressed. All I did was work. Before I had worked towards the goal of traveling, but now all my money went to pay for the apartment I had.

I was helping to start Jacobsen og Svart coffee bar and was working everything from 8-16 hour days there plus I was working as a waiter and barista at a hotel. When I came home I was dead. All I could do was eat some junk food and go to sleep for 4 or 5 hours before I had to do it again.

After a couple of years, I fell into a deep depression and became suicidal. I felt like nothing mattered so why even bother. My life had become a circle of work-eat-shit-sleep-repeat.

I very nearly attempted suicide and had written letters to a few of the people closest to me.

But at the very last second, I backed out. For days I felt even worse. “I can’t even kill myself properly!”

I spent months drowning my sorrows after work watching YouTube videos from Richard Dawkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and others. And I slowly started to really understand what they were saying.

They were saying the same thing that I had helped bring me into depression, but they angled it differently. I was depressed because I knew that nothing matters. Whatever I do in life has no meaning. If I die right now, she sun keeps shining and the earth keeps spinning and in a few billion years the solar system is dead. So why even bother doing anything.

What they said was: Yes, nothing matters. And all these things are true. But think about the fact that you are even contemplating that concept.

You being here on earth, a ball of rock that formed in an enormous gas cloud billions of years ago flying through space at thousands of km an hour. Think about all the things that had to happen for you to be able to stand here and look up at the night sky and think that nothing matters.

You are the process of 4 billion years of evolution, from a spark that somehow created organic molecules that managed to replicate themselves and evolve into millions of different plant and animal species. One of these species, because of a random change in the earth´s crust, that changed dense jungles in Africa into vast planes and savannahs about 6 million years ago were forced to find new ways of getting food. They started walking upright, learned how to communicate in a brand new and very complex way, control fire, agriculture, technology. “Yes, in a few million or billion years it will all be gone, but think of how extremely minute the chance of you being here is. Why not appreciate the fact that you can experience a part, albeit a very small part of the history of the universe.”

I realized that exactly because nothing matters, I can choose what I want to matter. I can choose my meaning or purpose myself. That helped me want to live again and I slowly started to dream of traveling again. But I was still stuck in the same pattern. How could I break it?

I started to plan a few more trips but didn’t really get anywhere. Some time passed and I met a very interesting girl. She fascinated me in so many ways. We were very different, but somehow we connected very fast. She was also suffering from depression, but for totally different reasons. But even though the reasons were different, the feeling was similar.

We became a couple and Pia and I have now been together for almost two years. She has helped me want to live again and I have inspired her to explore the world.

I am finally at a place in my life where I can see a future again. And I am excited about it. We have helped each other in many ways and now we have decided to embrace the fact that we are incredibly lucky to be here and make the best of the time we have. Both together and here on this planet.

For the first time in a very long time, I feel like the world is a great place to be.

- Kenneth

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