It’s all about the mindset. There’s a place right on the beaten path, a place where everyone goes. It’s linked together with a spider web of asphalt and telephone poles. Homes so close together that people have to unintentionally see every move of their neighbors. In the summer it becomes a tourist smackdown for the best plastic shovels and foam boogie boards, and of course the most expensive house rental you can find. When the heat leaves, the masses leave and snow takes their place. While now a quiet, seemingly deserted region, it’s pretty okay that Southern Maine isn’t on your adventure bucket list. However I love Southern Maine and it’s the day I got stuck that made me love it even more, for its looks and even its adventure, all because of mindset.

            6:30am on a Tuesday morning and the alarm is going off. Snow is falling hard outside, stacked up against the window screen. I roll over and check the email, classes cancelled. Instantly I’m stuck, because I know there’s work that needs to be done. Yet an idea comes across to me while I’m stuck in my burrito of blankets at 6:30. All this work piled on me has absolutely no relevance to what I’m looking to study, and for some reason it costs me an arm and a leg to be here to do it. So what do you do when you get stuck? You get out. Stupid work can get done later, so I got into contact with my friend Megan, and we decided to get unstuck, and take on a little bit of life and brave the storm.

            A few hours later and my Jeep is packed up with camera gear and layers upon layers of winter gear and we’re on our way without a single place to go or reason to go there. Wind and sleet are pelting the windshield to the point where the windshield wipers can hardly keep up yet we push ahead to sound of Bon Iver and Skinny Love (a great music choice by Megan). Within minutes we’re out on the coast, which appears like frozen tundra, flat and white, with just the little yellow tips of the dune grass protruding from the snow. A single snow covered island loomed in the distance, an island I hope to return to in the near future for some kayak fueled adventure. After becoming frozen through we hit the road again, winding through one snowy back road after another, until finally we reached a fork in the road, the poetic “two roads diverged in a yellow wood” all too familiar to the adventure fanatic. This time Megan decided, she made the call to go right. A good call, because seconds down the road we ended up exploring alomgside old school abandoned subway cars and busses, one of the more unique spots we’ve found in the backwoods of Maine. We made some jokes about my ugly sweater I had on and reminisced on what it might’ve been like to ride on these old testaments to transportation as we took a few shots. Craving even more, I set sail for something I had seen while sailing actually, some major cliff sides down in York. While there we hung out and watched as the angry, freezing waters of the Atlantic slammed the 70 foot cliff, only to be pulled back out again in preparation for another hit. There was an urge to get up close and personal and head down to the rocks, but we decided to stick to the high ground as we weren’t really trying to get sucked away on a Tuesday afternoon. Lastly, when the day wasn’t quite over yet, we had to top it off with a classic New England Lighthouse, where I braved the wind and sleet again to get up close to take a few more shots. At the end of the day, we had covered Southern Maine almost all the way back to New Hampshire, and really made some true adventure out of it, despite the fact that it’s paved, populated, and prominent. We were able to do this for one reason, and it circles back to mindset.

            All it took to get out there and do this was to change the mindset, we went from being stuck indoors and stuck under mountains of work to feeling like we were on top of mountains and truly living, essentially right in our own backyard, in area far from being known for adventure. Take on the role and be who you strive to be, set aside the bullshit (excuse my French) and live, and learn to live with others, find adventure in every place you can and it will pay off tenfold. Eventually, you will always be living the way you were meant to live. Indulge and enjoy.

-       Max Ablicki