Find What you Love and Let it Kill You

Written By: The Planet D

In the Winter of 2008, in a suburb north of the city of Dublin, Ireland something felt amiss.

I was living comfortably, the apartment I lived in was scenic and well situated and my neighbors were quiet and pleasant. I made good money, had a nice nest egg of security in the bank and my health was fine. But something was just not right.

“Is this it?” I thought. “Is this the next 60 or so years of my life?.” At that time I didn’t have the words to describe it but what I was feeling could be summed up as ennui, a restless boredom.

The recession, both global and local was in full swing. My job was relatively secure but any hope of a raise or a promotion had vanished.

Find What You Love and Let it Kill You

you have the choice couple

The recession, in hindsight, was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

It effectively kicked a wedge underneath the hamster wheel I was on and broke me out of the trance I was in to find some corporate ladder somewhere and blindly begin climbing it.

My wife, working in financial institutions also, experienced the same thing. We spent many evenings talking about what we should do next.

Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that we needed a fresh start, a new perspective.

We needed to try living somewhere different. Even though we had everything we’d been raised to believe would give us happiness, we simply weren’t happy.

Over the next couple of years, we had to make some hard decisions.

We sold off everything we owned, let our friends and family know we were moving, left our careers behind and, finally, in early 2010, with only 3 suitcases of belongings remaining between us we uprooted ourselves and headed west to Canada.

you have the choice airport

Growing Up in Canada

My wife grew up in Alberta and I had visited Canada a few times in the past to see her while we were dating. Canada, particularly the Southwest of the Province of British Columbia, had always been this far off pipe dream destination to eventually move to since we had driven through there on a road trip back at the turn of the Century.

It only began to sink in that our dream had become a reality when we set foot inside our first rented apartment, in the small town of Squamish, British Columbia, and put our suitcases on the floor.

It was liberating to be there, without Careers to worry about, bills to pay or expectations to meet. We truly felt free. The town we moved to, Squamish, is surrounded by water and mountains. With an abundance of time on our hands, we began to explore these wild places.

you have the choice mountain

Exploring Our New Home

Something we began to quickly realize, as we walked the trails near our new home, swam in the lakes, and began to push higher up to the snow-capped summits around us was that we were reconnecting with a feeling we’d long since forgotten, the curiosity we’d once had as children, when we’d spent entire Summers in the woods, in awe of tadpoles and frogs, happy to be among the tall grass fields and feeling content with simply being.

you have the choice skiing

Somewhere along the line, in the process of growing up, we’d replaced being motivated by curiosity with being motivated to keep up with our peer groups, advancing ourselves financially and increasing our status in our society. This was maturity we felt and it was what our families and cultures expected of us.

rock climbing

Feeding Our Curiosity

Without this pressure to be, or at least appear, mature, this latent curiosity that I feel we all always have resurfaced and we embraced it.

Simply feeding our curiosity has taken us to some amazing places and given us some amazing experiences. In Ireland, we were both very much couch potatoes but now, in Canada, we are driven to not only see as much of the wilderness around us as possible but we are also curious about what our bodies and minds are capable of.

you have the choice camping

We fell in love with the mountains all around us. They are places of jaw-dropping beauty but also an arena where we can test ourselves and see what we are made of.

In the last 4 years since coming to Canada, we’ve grown a lot. Our desire to see the high, wild places in the mountains has pushed us to learn many new skills from Mountaineering to Ice and Rock Climbing to Skiing and Mountain Biking. Before coming to Canada we’d never owned a tent but now we spend many nights a year perched high in the mountains in one.

Camping on a summit above the clouds
Camping on a summit above the clouds

We’ve been asked how we’ve been able to learn so much in what seems like a short time. The answer is simple. Curiosity.

While others might spend time at the Bar or watching TV we’re looking at maps to see which new mountains we’ll explore, reading about how different foods will affect our bodies and learning the skills and training needed for specific activities.

My wife, Spring, is currently training for her 2nd Ultramarathon, an 80km race through technical trail networks in our home of Squamish. Since coming to Canada I have lost over 100lbs in body fat and am currently training to climb harder rock routes and working to inspire more people to explore the wild through my photography.

choosing to run

This, a life spent connected to the natural world, testing our limits, has brought us happiness. We’ve truly found what we love and have embraced it fully.

Find What You Love and Let it Kill You

Which brings me to the title of this post, a quote from the poet Charles Bukowski. I’ve seen it misconstrued a few times as a motto for the self-destructive adrenaline junkie or thrill seeker. This isn’t at all how it should be understood.

mountaineering in the snow

Here’s the rub, life is going to kill all of us. We may not feel it, but the energy we have is finite, precious and ephemeral, and every day a little bit more of it gets used up and evaporates.

Faced with this fact, we have a choice, we can either live a life that stays within the tracks, that is filled with ‘What ifs’ and ‘Someday I will’ or we can find something we love in life and pour all of our energy into that until nothing is left.

When myself and my wife reconnected with being curious, we were also imbued with a sense of urgency to live our lives better, chase happiness and to understand how precious and fragile existence really is. We feel we are now doing this.

sunrise on mountain

Our advice to everyone is simple, listen to your younger self, who knew how to be happy and curious, and let a life lived well use up every second you have on this Earth.

Find what you love and let it kill you.

climbing athelney

Bio:

Leigh and Spring

Leigh and Spring McClurg are Writers, Photographers and Adventurers. Currently living in Squamish, BC, they look for every opportunity to explore, whether it be by visiting new mountain summits in the wild or exploring the limits of their own minds and bodies. At the heart of everything they do is a love for the wild, natural places around them. They hope, through their words and pictures, to inspire others to venture outside into the natural world also.

They blog about their adventures at Pebbleshoo.com and can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+

Read More

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The Best Canada Adventures: 36 Amazing Trips from Coast to Coast

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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21 thoughts on “Find What you Love and Let it Kill You”

  1. I just visited Squamish this past weekend for the first time. There are so many outdoor activities to get into! I was there for rock climbing, but I have hiked in Garibaldi Provincial Park as well. What a wonderful place to live and have an adventure life!

    Reply
  2. (RIP James Hart 7/27/84 to 3/3/14 collapsed and died while backpacking in Cambodia months after writing this doing what he loved)

    You Can.
    June 18, 2013 at 4:08am
    Did you know, you can quit your job, you can leave it all? You aren’t legally required to stay, it’s a social pressure and expectation, not the law, and no one is holding a gun to your head. You can sell your house, you can give up your apartment, you can even sell your vehicle, and your things that are mostly unnecessary. You can see the world on a minimum wage salary, despite the persisting myth, you do not need a high paying job. You can leave your friends (if they’re true friends they’ll forgive you, and you’ll still be friends) and make new ones on the road. You can leave your family. You love them, they love you, it’ll be okay. You can depart from your hometown, your country, your culture, and everything you know. You can sacrifice. You can give up your $5.00 a cup morning coffee, you can give up air conditioning, frequent consumption of new products. You can give up eating out at restaurants and prepare affordable meals at home, and eat the leftovers too, instead of throwing them away. You can give up cable TV, Internet even. This list is endless. You can sacrifice climbing up in the hierarchy of careers. You can buck tradition and others’ expectations of you. You can triumph over your fears, by conquering your mind. You can take risks. And most of all, you can travel. You just don’t want it enough. You want a new degree or a well-paying job or to stay in your comfort zone more. This is fine, if it’s what your heart desires most, but please don’t envy me and tell me you can’t travel. You’re not in a famine, in a desert, in a third world country, with five malnourished children to feed. You probably live in a first world country. You have a roof over your head, and food on your plate. You probably own luxuries like a cellphone and a computer. You can afford the $3.00 a night guest houses of India, the $0.10 fresh baked breakfasts of Morocco, because if you can afford to live in a first world country, you can certainly afford to travel in third world countries, you can probably even afford to travel in a first world country. So please say to me, “I want to travel, but other things are more important to me and I’m putting them first”, not, “I’m dying to travel, but I can’t”, because I have yet to have someone say they can’t, who truly can’t. You can, however, only live once, and for me, the enrichment of the soul that comes from seeing the world is worth more than a degree that could bring me in a bigger paycheck, or material wealth, or pleasing society. Of course, you must choose for yourself, follow your heart’s truest desires, but know that you can travel, you’re only making excuses for why you can’t. And if it makes any difference, I have never met anyone who has quit their job, left school, given up their life at home, to see the world, and regretted it. None. Only people who have grown old and regretted never traveling, who have regretted focusing too much on money and superficial success, who have realized too late that there is so much more to living than this.
    as ever J. Hart
    http://www.ifiweregoing.com

    Reply
  3. I love the article title too. I’ve also not heard of it but can see a lot of inspiration in it.

    Great to see you being so adventurous, exploring and not accepting monotony. Whilst I have enjoyed my experiences in Canada I think I’d prefer an Irish winter 😉

    Reply
    • An Irish Winter out West in a small cabin, somewhere in Co. Clare, the windows rattling from the fierce wind and rain off the Atlantic while you sit around the flickering glow from the hearth wondering if you should brave the elements to make it to the local pub for the weekly Seisún.

      I love our adventure in Canada now, but I do miss the heart of Ireland.

      Reminds me of a joke:

      Have you heard about the Irish boomerang?
      It doesn’t come back, it just sings sad songs about how much it wants to.

      Reply
      • We were in Ireland for the first time in May and absolutely loved it. We’re looking forward to going back in October to experience more of it!

  4. This post is so inspiring, thank you so much for sharing! My partner and I are planning to do the same next year… It’s terrifying, but also the only thing that makes sense!

    Reply
    • Best of luck to you and your partner, you are going to love it. There will be ups and downs, but that’s what keeps life exciting.

      Reply
    • Cutting those tethers to your current life is definitely the hardest part. I wish you luck. It’s not easy but anything worth doing in life rarely is.

      Reply
  5. “…we’d replaced being motivated by curiosity with being motivated to keep up with our peer groups, advancing ourselves financially and increasing our status in our society.” This was a huge revelation for me. Once I realized this, I knew I had to learn to stop worrying & thinking about catching up, or staying above others in status. I then began to do what I really wanted to do in life. And just like you two, travel (or moving to a new place) was the spark I needed to become curious again. Great article! PS – How did you get the lighting on that tent/stars photo? That’s a great shot

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words Jon. It really is a eureka moment when you realize that you don’t need to keep up with the people around you.

      In regards to the photo, it’s lit from inside by a headlamp. It was a long exposure shot so the person inside the tent “painted” the walls of the tent with the light from their headlamp so it would come out in the shot.

      Reply
  6. Thanks for the inspiration. “When myself and my wife reconnected with being CURIOUS, we were also imbued with a sense of urgency to live our lives better, chase happiness and to understand how precious and fragile existence really is.”

    Curiosity — thats one of those important qualities that most of us fail to keep and treasure while growing up, society puts too much pressure on the ones who venture outside the box.

    Reply
    • Very true. There isn’t a lot of jobs that pay you well to be curious. Which is a pity as I believe it is what makes us unique as humans, our ability to look at something and ask “why?” and spend our lives searching for the answers.

      Reply
      • It’s been a favorite quote of ours for the past few years. The full version of it is this:

        “My dear,
        Find what you love and let it kill you.
        Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness.
        Let it kill you and let it devour your remains.
        For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.
        ~ Falsely yours”
        – Charles Bukowski

  7. Your message is very inspirational. I think the first mission we have for those of us who have children, is to raise and launch them well. One can pass on the message through your own actions to your children about being involved and noticing nature more often. We live more in an age where our technology is creating less contact with nature and more of a focus on being entertained.

    I am inspired also by this TED talk below and I look at it each morning for a reminder. https://www.youtube.com/embed/gXDMoiEkyuQ

    Wonderful message and pictures. I have a spot I love in Italy where I walk ancient pathways between villages and live in a small community away from the masses. I try to walk slowly and notice nature. I have discovered a little island in Mexico, where I feel serenity and awe about the beauty of this world. I go to both every year. I live in a small town in northern Ontario with much beauty around me.

    Thanks again for the encouragement to live life to the fullest and for most of us a “life less travelled” as we get so busy and can lose our way, Leigh and Spring.

    John

    Reply
  8. “Find what you love and let it kill you” – I love this.
    You often read about how we’re all going to die one day and that it’s important to make life worthwhile before death arrives.
    Although I certainly believe that’s true, I prefer the quote “Find what you love and let it kill you”. To me, that means that you’re okay with going on and growing older, but that you prefer to do it while also doing what you love.

    Reply
    • Good point Sofie. We liked the quote also for this reason. It’s a switch in perspective. Fill your life so fully that you burn up every ounce of energy you have.

      Reply