Real pioneers of yesteryear like Columbus, Lewis and Clark, Nellie Bly (not only her famous reporting adventures in the asylum but her later trip around the world) represented their era in unique ways. And what about hunter/trapper Nick Stoner, who was a scout in the Revolutionary War? As an explorer, he blazed a trail northwest of Albany that people still follow today, who might imagine what it was like when Mr. Stoner first traveled the area. Of course, he encountered Indians along the way, reportedly including the one who killed his father. To apply the fictional Captain Kirk’s phrase “where no man has gone before” might have to overlook the fact that Indians had already traversed the paths of Lewis, Clark and Stoner, but they were the first to document the areas they explored and paved the way for many Europeans to follow.
I could have chosen from countless other pioneers, which make it seem like there are many, but that’s only because history has a such a long time line. The reason these pioneers stood out is because they were so daring, brave and willing to do what no one else had ever done before.
Today pioneers look like Austrian Felix Baumgartner, who truly did go where no man has gone before. Yesterday the Austrian adventurer stepped off a platform into the stratosphere from a balloon that floated 24 miles above the earth. Seeing this man jump into space without any kind of craft was really breathtaking! No one knew what would happen. Would he survive?
Well, if you’ve tuned into the news you’ve no doubt heard he not only survived, but broke several records in the process (among them highest sky dive and fastest free fall speed).
All of this spurs a question closer to home: have you ever gone where no one you know has gone before? My initial response was to think of the risk writers take the first time they send out a manuscript to a publisher. Not as dangerous or glamorous as any of the pioneers mentioned above, but it’s still something that takes a certain amount of guts. Rejection is never welcomed, and as I’ve always said, writing isn’t a team sport until after you’re published—so those rejections are necessarily personal.
What about you? Have you ever done something that no one you know has done before?
Are you, in your own way, stepping off your platforms without a net?