John and I met for a ground lesson on Tuesday where we planned, in detail, the D.C. to Paris trip, looking at routes, fuel, cost, altitude, and dates. At a sunny table at the Starbucks at R.E.I. downtown, we took both launched Foreflight on our iPads and started inputting airport identifiers.
Here is the planned itinerary:
Halifax, Nova Scotia
We will fly approximately 7,800 nautical miles round trip, which is about 50 hours of flight and a whole lot of fuel…
Once we planned the route, John said something I never thought I would hear him say.
“You need to plan your points of no return”
What the heck was he talking about? When it comes to commitment about flying, I am pretty confident that this will be a part of everything I do, from here on out. Was he challenging my commitment to these flights? I gave him an incredibly quizzical look and thought he was joking. As a fairly new pilot, I had never heard such a dramatic request. Little did I know, John was being serious. When crossing oceans, there is a calculated plan as to how far you can travel over water, taking into consideration fuel requirements, mandatory fuel reserves, diversion for weather and emergencies. Once you cross your point of no return, you are forced to forge ahead to your original destination, even if there are complications. He wanted to plan the point in our routes at which we could no longer safely turn back to dry land.
This really got me thinking.
At what moment had I crossed my point of no return in my commitment to flying and adventure? Looking back, is at this point, a non-issue. How could I possibly return to a life without flight? If my daily life were a flight plan, I would be surrounded by ocean, with no plans to divert to a more conventional existence.
Trying to pinpoint the exact moment when I decided that my days would be motivated by a love for aviation and adventure would be impossible, but I can narrow it down to a week where I was absolutely lit up about life. It was an experience that happened right here on the blog… in a vulnerable moment of excitement, dream-filled ambition and partial lunacy, I told the world right here on the blog that I wanted to re-trace Amelia’s North American route in the Cirrus. Stating out loud that you are going to do something usually puts a little ooooomph behind your intentions, at least in my experience.
Since that post, I’ve had plenty of daily doubts about whether I am smart enough, strong enough, etc. to accomplish all my flight goals, but overall, I have generally stayed on course towards an adventurous attitude all leading toward a flight around the world. How would it feel if I suddenly woke one day, gave it all up, and went back to a life of non adventurous boredom? If I gave up wanting to challenge my boundaries, see this gorgeous world that we live in, and stayed safe and grounded all the time? It just wouldn’t be me.
This is the definition of my point of no return: I am now past settling for a life of ordinary routine and I understand that I am capable and deserving of a rockin’ life of adventure and passion.
If you are feeling bold, ask yourself this…
Is there something you love so much in your life, that if you were to pull away from it, you would feel empty, lost, without direction and lackluster?
Whatever that thing is, chase it. Live with it. Let it excite you. Dance with its potential. Drink it in. Let it exude from your smile. Don’t be scared by the unknown in regard to what makes you thrive. Fall in love with feeling this great and do it as much as you possibly can. Encourage others to do the same.
If you connect with this, you are absolutely, 100%, past your point of no return. You are in it for the long haul. Consider yourself lucky… lots of folks can’t even figure out what they are passionate about, let alone something they can’t imagine their life without.
If you are nowhere close to feeling like you are past a point of no return, don’t worry. It will hit you when you least expect it, but don’t be fooled. You have to work for it, look for it, under every rock and behind every door. You must be curious, inquisitive, loving and eager. Everyday.
Want to hear from a couple of folks who agree? I sure do.
If you make the unconditional commitment to reach your most important goals, if the strength of your decision is sufficient, you will find the way and the power to achieve your goals. Robert Conklin
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Walden, Henry David Thoreau
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.