“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” Oscar Wilde

It’s an odd thought, isn’t it? What is our purpose in this life? What are we doing here? It’s a question that has caused wars, ruined relationships, and left us all wondering. I can’t give you an answer that we would all agree on, but I know that we were meant for more than merely existing. We were meant to LIVE!

Growing up, my dad always told me this: “Life is the acronym – Learn It From Experience.” Isn’t that the truth? I’m sure all of us have touched a hot stove at one point in our life without knowing the danger that lied within it. That was the last time we touched it intentionally, though, wasn’t it? Sometimes life is like that. It’s going to burn you, but that is the only way you will learn. In fact, it’s those moments where you get burned, or sad, or are down on your luck that really put things into perspective and make you thankful when things are going well. Those moments are just as important as the moments when you are smiling, laughing, or happy. This is an important part of living.

This raises another question: what is LIVING?

Living is building real, lasting relationships with face to face encounters, with limited (anti)social media. Believe it or not, life existed before cell phones and text messaging, and it’s actually pretty cool when you connect with people on a deeper level without using technology.

Living is waking up day after day looking for #todaysadventure. People are such habitual creatures. So often, we become acquainted with our day-to-day routine that we aren’t likely to venture very far from it. This is a lifestyle that leads to mediocrity, unless you wake up pissing excellence, which is rare. It isn’t until you seek adventure and do things that make you uncomfortable that you will grow.

Living is not knowing what will happen but going for it anyways. Take chances! I guarantee when you are sitting in a rocking chair when you’re 90 years old, you will have more regrets about things you didn’t do than things you did. After all, there are no such things as mistakes, just lessons learned. Unless you are God or have been blessed with “psychic powers”, you can’t predict the future. Now, your mind knows this, but it will try its hardest. The problem is that it usually only thinks of outcomes that are bad for your physical or emotional health, i.e. your unfortunate death, injury, or having your heart broken. These things only lead to stress and hesitation. Get that crap out of your head! It’s those very thoughts that hold you back from LIVING! Yeah, bad things happen sometimes. Your parachute may not open when you jump from a plane, but the odds are, it will, and you’ll be okay. Besides, wouldn’t you much rather die falling thousands of feet from a plane with a beautiful view than of a blood clot in a hospital? Yup. Life’s fun, but it’s also short. So, get out there and make the most of it!

Living is staring your biggest fears in the face and saying, “Bring it on!” Life is scary. There is no doubt about that. However, fear can be crippling if you let it. It can leave you with those regrets you’ll think about for the rest of your life. You have two options: you can avoid your fears, letting them control you and your decisions, OR you can face them head on and overcome them, taking back control of your life. When you come face to face with your fear, count to 3 (1 – 2 – 3 ) and JUST DO IT! Whether you’re bungee jumping to beat your fear of heights or calling a girl you like to beat your fear of rejection or taking surfing lessons to beat your fear of the ocean…JUST DO IT! When you begin living like this, the possibilities are limitless and life is just good. It’s a new year, so live it with no fear.

I was driving down the road the other day and the radio host announced a song by One Direction was about to come on. Obviously, I reached to turn the dial until I heard the name of the song. It was called “I Lived” (it turns out it was actually by One Republic, but I didn’t know that at the time). I hadn’t realized I had heard this song before, but I listened as if it was the first time hearing it. In this moment, it spoke to me. You’ll have to listen to the song on your own (Do it! It’s amazing), but I will post the chorus here:

“I, I did it all

I, I did it all

I owned every second

That this world could give

I saw so many places

The things that I did

Yeah, with every broken bone

I swear I lived.”

I was immediately back in South Africa. I was on the 709 foot bungee bridge facing my fears head on. I was in the cage with great white sharks facing the unknown. I was 9,000 feet in the air jumping out of a plane, sandboarding down monster dunes, riding elephants, petting tigers and cheetahs, and crawling through caves searching for #todaysadventure. I was back in Sunstays apartments exchanging life stories with people I barely knew but would soon become some of my closest friends because of the openness we shared in those face to face moments.

All of this was possible because of Go Global. Without them, none of that would have been possible. I wouldn’t be writing this post for you. Heck, nobody even asked me to write this post. I’m doing it simply because I love them that much. I was lucky enough to find somebody who challenged me to think about the way I was living my life and make changes. Since then, my life is so much better. I’m finally free. I have lived more in 22 years than most people can say they have lived in their entire lives. Lord willing, I’m not anywhere close to done living! There are so many more places to see, so many more things to do, so much more fear to conquer!

L.I.F.E. – Learn It From Experience

I’m doing everything I can to feel those experiences.

Are you?

-Zach Pursley
LEAD Cape Town student and Community Leader 2014
LEAD Cape Town and Cape Town Direct International Intern 2015