Integrity – defined as "Adherence to a code of values; utter sincerity, honesty, candor; completeness." I believe it’s doing what you say you’re gonna do, even when it’s difficult or even becomes inconvenient.
Adventure Integrity – sometimes you get in a conversation with an adventurous friend. A conversation comes up about a really interesting but challenging bike ride or hike. OK, you’re sold, and you agree that it’s something you’re going to train for, prepare and do. It’s not an "I’ll think about it" or a "Let’s talk about this later." It’s not necessarily a decision on commitment clouded by alcohol. All of those kinds of things are not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about "Yes, that sounds challenging and fun. Let’s do it! Count me in."
Examples of Adventure Integrity:
- 3 State 3 Mountain 2005 – I wasn’t ready for a ride like that. But I signed up for the ride, told everyone I was going to do it, and I trained like crazy all winter. In the spring, I rode every hill I could find, repeatedly.
- Bearwaller Gap Hike, January 2006 – forecast for rain, temps just above freezing. Yes, it would have been easy on that Friday to call it off, but I went ahead with it. What a great trip too! We had to hike out in the rain. And the cold rain makes for a whole different environment. When I’m home and it rains in the winter, I think about that trip.
- Russell Field Hike, Smokies, February 2006 – another hike, forecast for snow/mix, single digit temps. We car camped Friday night, and temps dropped easily into the 20’s. As we hiked up the mountain on Saturday, we found snow higher in the mountains. Temps kept dropping. It snowed 8" that night, and it was so cold. But that morning, the scenery was unbelievable. If I hadn’t had Adventure Integrity, I would have never had such an amazing experience.
- Country Music Half Marathon 2008 – this is a work-in-progress. And, this commitment was over a few beers around the campfire. I’m still training, and I absolutely HATE running. But I made the commitment, and I have to uphold my Adventure Integrity. This has to be the suckiest commitment I’ve made thus far. Did I mention that I hate running?
OK, there are fair excuses for not doing something you say you’re gonna do. Here’s a short list of examples:
- 911 or other major acts of terrorism.
- Injury to required body part, that further overuse may destroy other Adventure Integrity opportunities due to further injury. "I broke my kneecap doing a double backflip off the cliff at Percy Priest."
- Significant Illness – bad diarrhea, food poisoning, bad flu. Sniffles are not an excuse.
- Death in the family, or other significant family emergency. "My daughter broke up with her boyfriend" is not an excuse.
- "I don’t have a backpack." Waaaah. Rent or borrow one.
Don’t make a commitment that you’re gonna do something, then bail out. That really sucks. Overcome the challenge, embrace the unknown, enjoy the health benefits of the training. You know you’re gonna have fun. And of course you’ll earn the respect of your friends for demonstrating Adventure Integrity.