The Lewis and Clark Expedition began in 1804, when President Thomas Jefferson tasked Meriwether Lewis with exploring lands west of the Mississippi River that comprised the Louisiana Purchase. Their mission was to explore the unknown territory, establish trade with the Natives and affirm the sovereignty of the United States in the region. One of their goals was to find a waterway from the central US to the Pacific Ocean.
The excursion lasted over two years: Along the way they confronted harsh weather, unforgiving terrain, treacherous waters, injuries, starvation, disease and both friendly and hostile Native Americans. Nevertheless, the approximately 8,000-mile journey was deemed a huge success and provided new geographic, ecological and social information about previously uncharted areas of North America.
But they almost didn’t make it. They started their expedition in St. Louis and paddled, dragged, and lugged their canoes upstream fighting the current the entire way. In their minds, they thought they would struggle up to the head of the Missouri river and then they would find a new river that would carry them downstream all the way to the Pacific Ocean. When they got to the head of the Missouri they came face to face with something they did not expect. The Indians had told them there would be mountains and in their minds the mountains were like the hills of the Carolinas, instead they would be staring at the Rocky Mountains.
When they reached the mountains, Lewis and Clark had to make a decision. Would they turn back and plan for another expedition some day in the future or would they press ahead. Going back would be easier. They could float down the Missouri this time and they had mapped it out. If they pressed ahead they would be going off the map into the unknown.
The decision was an easy for Lewis and Clark because they had been tasked by President Jefferson to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean and that is exactly what they were going to do. They ditched their canoes and prepared to climb across the Rockies. It was a monumental shift.
Right now, you may be at a crossroads. COVID19 hit the world in the face and nobody understood just how much it would impact and change society. Now is the time to move into new territory. You will have to take risks that you have not taken before. You will have to look at how you do what you do differently. You will need to assess and reassess your current reality. You are going to have to go off the map.
For parents this means your kids might not go back to play all the sports they did. It might also open up opportunities for more family time due to changing work schedules. For youth it means you have more new opportunities to learn and grow in front of you than ever.
When Lewis and Clark made the decision to ditch their canoes, they let go of what was familiar to them and never looked back.
And for you, embrace the new opportunity you have. Maybe now is the time to search for a better career or a less stretched schedule. Ditch the canoes, you are not drifting back to where you were.
The Lewis and Clark expedition lasted from May 1804 until September 1806. Lewis and Clark failed to find a waterway from the Mississippi to the Pacific, but succeeded in documenting more than 100 new animals and 178 plants, as well as providing 140 maps of the region. It’s time for you to let go of what was and embrace the unknown and uncharted future. The bible says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6