As I step into the Indian Ocean, the cold water saturates my wetsuit and sends a chill rushing over my body. I climb down the boat’s ladder, entering the cage and take my place next to the four other people who are anxiously waiting for the experiences to begin. Excitement begins to take over. I have been wanting to cage dive with Great White Sharks since I was ten years old, and now I was moments away. The instructor yells for us to drop down into the water. No sooner do I grab the metal bar, we down and see the beautiful, four meters (approx 13 ft long) beast swimming towards me. With nothing but three feet between us, the shark opens his huge jaws and chomps down on the fake seal the instructor used to lure it in. I watch the animal disappear into the dark, endless sea and pull myself out of the water. As oxygen fills my lungs, I excitedly yell out in excitement, “That was awesome!” As we’re driving back to shore, I realize that cage diving with Great Whites was the last thing I had left to check off my bucket list. At twenty years old, I had just successfully completed all of my dreams. I smile to myself, pleasantly pleased with my accomplishment.
Completing my bucket list at such a young age is equally the best and the most complicated thing to process through. Living out all of my dreams has ruined me for any chance at living a normal life. I no longer think like my family and friends. Instead of thinking about settling down or finding a job that pays really well, I am dreaming about exploring old castles in Europe, camping in the mountains and watching the sunset while waiting to catch the next wave. I am constantly thinking about new adventures that I have to try. It is like an addiction. I am addicted to experiencing the best adventures that our planet has to offer.
Sometimes, I think that maybe I should try to be normal. It often seems like living a normal life would be easier. It’s hard to think for yourself and chase down dreams. It’s hard to dream about what you want your life to look like and even harder to forge your own path to make it happen. But then, I remember all the amazing things I have seen and experienced and I realize that even though it may be harder, it is 100% worth it.
I encourage everyone to start crossing things off their bucket list now. Dream up your ideal adventure and then just do it. Fly, hike, swim, bike, do whatever you have to do to adventure. If you are questioning if it is worth it, trust me it is. Chase every dream. Dream, chase, sleep, repeat.