Ever since watching the opening scene in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark as a young boy, I became entranced by Indy’s moxie, courage, and adventurous spirit. My mom would sing the theme song as I ran around the house imagining narrow escapes in the Peruvian Jungle, dodging giant boulders and poison darts during my getaway (which translated to jumping off my fridge and running through cardboard blocks in the doorway).
While these “adventures” in my younger years only paralleled Indy’s in my imagination, they fueled a thirst for exploration (and a fear of snakes) that have stuck with me over the years. Indiana Jones accomplished his missions using both brains and brawn, cleverly maneuvering into and out of sticky situations that couldn’t have been successfully completed without this balance. I looked up to my fictional hero as the consummate man, and someone I aspired to emulate. Intelligence, physical aptitude, bravery, humor, and, it didn’t hurt that he always got the girl ;). Indy unflinchingly faced danger and adversity, repeatedly putting his life on the line to preserve whatever artifact he was chasing at the time. Not for personal gain, simply for the sake of an ideal: “that belongs in a museum.”
For those of you who know me, it’s clear that I’ve fallen short in my goal of emulating my childhood hero. In fact, there’s really no comparison at all, besides being intellectually curious and many failed attempts at humor… There’s only one Indiana Jones after all. But we can still learn from our heroes, fictional or real, as we navigate our lives and decide how we’re going to live our own legend. Indy pursued his interests, worked hard, took risks, fought for causes and ideals he believed in, and stayed true to who he was.
After feeling bogged down, restricted, and generally uninterested in my job over the past few years, I found myself asking: Is this all there is? Am I supposed to sit in a cubicle and crank out spreadsheets, compliance reports, and engage in trivial small talk at the office watering hole for the foreseeable future? Am I ungrateful and disagreeable or is there a fundamental mismatch between who I am and what I’m doing? These were questions I wrestled with for months. I struggled with the conventionality of my situation and knew I would be settling if I stayed much longer. It was time to make a change.
As a 24-year old, single male, I decided this is the perfect time to pursue my interest in travel, adventure, and culture. I’ll be traveling throughout Latin America over the coming months and invite you to check in on The Road Lentz Traveled from time to time. Pardon the clichéd name, but I had to do it. It may make all the difference.