What did you expect? An awesome adventure with no challenges?


In September of 2016, my family and I moved from the mountains of Utah to New Zealand.

It was hard. Really hard. Like, harder than I expected.

I’m not complaining.

I’m just stating, “travel” is not just the beautiful sunsets, gorgeous beaches, and interesting people you see on Instagram.

Adventure Or Comfort Zone

I totally underestimated the cognitive demands of all the small changes!

  • Getting a family of five and all the stuff we need around the world.  Against The Stream Opposite Concept Leader Goldfish
  • Driving the car on the “wrong” side of the road.
  • Finding a grocery store you like, an affordable place to eat out, and stores that are open past 9:00 p.m.
  • Don’t even get me started on rebooting our cellphone situation.

Each one of these alone would be totally manageable, but taken together, they made the move incredibly challenging.

I remember, shortly after our move, regaling my daughter Lindsey—who wasn’t as involved because she was in Europe serving a church mission at the time—about the challenges.

“The fact that you’re telling me how hard this is is kind of funny to me,” she told me. “What did you expect? An awesome adventure with no challenges?”

That little smartypants, I thought…

But of course, Lindsey was right.

What was I complaining about?

The hard parts are why we sign up for the journey in the first place.

After all, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be an adventure.

It wouldn’t be nearly as memorable.

It wouldn’t force, compel, or inspire you to grow, adapt, and become a better version of yourself.

As Yvon Chouinard said, “When everything goes wrong—that’s when adventure starts.”

Or, by extension, it’s not an adventure until something (maybe even everything, if you’re as bold as Chouinard) goes wrong.

Today, I just want to leave you with that one simple point.

We spend lots of money, and hard-earned vacation time, to make crazy trips all over the world.

And all for what?

To hope that something goes wrong.

Keep that in mind the next time things get hard at work, with your startup, or in a relationship—the next time you feel like your life is down the drain, or up in flames.

And ask yourself just two questions.

Well… what did you expect?

An awesome adventure with no challenges?


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Carl Richards is a Certified Financial Planner and a columnist for the New York Times, Morningstar magazine and Yahoo Finance. He is author of 2 books, The Behavior Gap & The One-Page Financial Plan. Carl lives with his family in Park City, Utah. You can find his work and sign up for his newsletter (which has an international audience) at www.behaviorgap.com/

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