By Contributing Writer Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, Faculty member and Diversity & Inclusion Manager at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)
As I head to the 2012 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, where NOLS is receiving an Outdoor Inspiration Award for inspiring youth everywhere to pursue an education through a NOLS adventure, I am pondering what “adventure” really means, and what makes someone an “adventurer.”
When you think of “adventurer,” what do you picture? Me? I admit, I think of the image of a rugged leathery-faced mountain man in an old-timey wool cable-knit sweater, pocketed vest, and a canvas satchel replete with important adventure tools like a sextant, a treasure map, and a pistol. Clint Eastwood maybe? Or Harrison Ford? Oh, and he’s smoking a pipe.
What I don’t picture is the photo above. Yeah, that’s me on an adventure—35 days in the Wind River Range with NOLS. And I am pretty much the opposite of Clint Eastwood. I’m not leathery faced, although with age and exposure to the elements I’m definitely headed that way. But more important, I’m not white. And I’m not a man.