Happy New Year! I hope this new day finds you and yours well. As we close out a dark year and likely face several more difficult months before a new day dawns, I am mourning the people and things that we have lost at the same time that I am mindful of how much I have to be thankful for. I hope that you take every moment you can in 2021 to celebrate life, to marvel at beauty, to love deeply, to mourn our losses, to reflect on the human condition, to build relationships, and to flourish as you never have before. Those are my resolutions for the year. I’ll raise you a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
Today also marks the day that I’m heading out on an adventure. Where to? I’m not quite sure. I’ve got some rough outlines, but nothing definite. Every good adventure requires a healthy amount of uncertainty. And even if the physical destination is known, the personal destination — the thoughts we’ll have, the lessons we’ll learn, the people we’ll meet — never is. That’s what makes it an adventure.
I grew up swimming with a guy named Cooper Johnson. We were the same grade and swam together on the high school team all four years of high school. In our senior magazine, he wrote the following:
Someone I admire: Matt Boutte — one of the last true adventurers.
I don’t know exactly what he meant by that and I’ve never asked him, but I’ve thought about it constantly for the last 17 years.
Part of me wonders if I’ve lived up to such high praise. I was in school for a very long time after high school, which wasn’t very adventurous. After school and a couple years of work, I started traveling quite a bit. I’ve been to about 30 countries in the last few years, I’ve gotten a car stuck (and unstuck) in the sands of the Sahara, trekked through the Andes at an altitude of over 15,000 feet, repelled 500 feet down a sinkhole in Mexico, sailed through the San Blas Islands, lost (and regained) the vision in my left eye, had a minor operation in Bogota, and biked across the Galapagos. I’ve met a lot of incredible people and had some unbelievable experiences.
That all probably sounds pretty adventurous. But the compliment was one of the last true adventurers. What’s a true adventurer? I’ve got some ideas, but I’m not quite sure yet. That’s what this year is about for me. I’m hoping I can figure it out.
Thank you for coming along for the adventure. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you learn something. And I hope I learn something from you. Please always feel free to reply or to post a comment.
Happy New Year. All of my love.
In moderation, Matthew
In case you missed it, I’m going to be reading The Grapes of Wrath this month. If you want more details, you can read more about the book club here:
Know of someone else who might be interested in following along with the adventure this year? Please forward this email with them or post it to your networks.