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Armchair Exploring
by Sheldon Bass 
04/25/14
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Exploring the Earth’s Frontiers
Sheldon Bass

Over the years we’ve heard several geographical regions being touted as “The Last Frontier”. After the taming of the west, and then Alaska’s big draw of adventure lovers, we looked to the ocean. Still today, we have a long way to go before discovering and unravelling the hidden mysteries of the deepest depths of the earth’s seas.


In our cushy age of technological wonders we are breeding a generation of armchair adventurers. No need for that scuba diving certification, or licensing, insuring and training for voyages beneath the sea. We now can simply nuke a bowl of Orville Redenbacher, grab a mocha cappuccino, kick back in our post-modern version of lazy-boy recliners, and experience the wonder of it all. Let the few elite who really know the adrenalin rush of true outdoor adventure film it for us. I’m talking about 3-D in HD on a wall sized TV with theater quality surround sound. Yes, most are satisfied with just viewing a documentary on the true explorers.


That’s fine if the frontier is outer space, where at least for now, few will ever seize upon an opportunity to go there in person. I’m content to allow the cosmonauts take all the risk for that. As for the other frontiers, color me old fashioned if you will, I’d rather enjoy the adventure first hand.


Our country’s obesity rates, though leveling off are still far too high. Perhaps the agricultural industry and our food manufacturers and suppliers are partly to blame. Yet, lifestyle is still the biggest culprit for our ever expanding waistlines.


I celebrate the educational advantages of the internet and other technological advances, which puts whatever information I need at my fingertips. However, when it comes to actual experience, I believe nothing is quite like physically being there. And there’s no better way to stay fit than to exit our comfort cave and enter one of our grand frontiers to embark on a vibrant, life-enhancing exploration.


One of my favorite modes of travel for wilderness exploration is by canoe. Whether bivouacking miles from civilization, discovering caves, scuba diving, or rappelling from a sheer rock face, excursions into outdoor adventure keep me physically fit, and nurtures vibrancy of the mind and the soul.


I fear generation Z may never know the thrill. Or the closeness to creator God that impresses itself upon the soul who knows the joys of discovering all of the earth’s glorious frontiers.


Faintly, I hear the harbinger of time. Yet it's growing louder each day as those golden senior sunsets are swiftly approaching. Someday, our bodies will rebel against the thought of first-hand outdoor adventures. And I thank God for television and internet, which will then be my only hope for adventure, if only in my mind.

I think I might book some lessons on hand-gliding. I still haven’t seen the Grand Canyon from that perspective.



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