Also, despite the opening story, I promise this post isn’t about golf 🙂
I still remember the day. It was March 28th, 2013.
I was with Tate’s family staying in Eagle Crest, Oregon for their annual Spring Break trip.
Each year we take a long weekend, and on the trip we ski one day and her dad and I play golf on another.
Usually we just play the course at the resort, but this time I found something special online.
There was a tee time for $50 to play the Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn.
You see Pronghorn has been one of the biggest golfing developments in Oregon in the last 15 years (next to say, Bandon Dunes). They built two courses and the club was ultra-private – until financial trouble forced them to make one of the courses public.
I’d been wanting to play there ever since I first heard about the resort. It was one of those places that you always knew about, but never thought you’d be able to experience for yourself.
And now for about 1/4 of what a round in the summer would cost, we had the chance to go play.
It was a beautiful (barely) Spring day, and both Kirk and I played really well. Even just coming out of winter, the course was in great shape, and it was hard not to be in awe of the scenic high desert landscape and strategic shots the course made you hit.
This course is ranked #28 on Golf Digest’s list of the Top 100 Public Courses in the United States. and it was the beginning of my quest to play all of the best golf courses in the world.
The Evolution of a Quest
Now I know that most of you reading this post, couldn’t care less about golf – don’t worry this post isn’t about golf, it’s about the quest that I’ve set forth on.
In 2009 I created my bucket list of all of the things I wanted to do. That ever-evolving list was the original quest which has led me down the path I’m on now.
I wanted to setup a system for accountability so that I’d actually follow through with all of the things I wanted to do in life. And stop making excuses like “I’ll do that one day” or “I don’t have the time/energy/money/expertise” etc.”
Because of that day in March of 2009 when I wrote out my bucket list, I’ve now done over 1/3 of the original list.
Just a few note worthy things:
- Climbed a Mountain (Video here)
- Lived on a Tropical Island
- Ran a Marathon
- Built a Sustainable Online Business
- Spoke in Front of a Large Crowd
- Gained 10,000 Twitter Followers
- Danced in the Carnival Parade
- Created a drink and got it on a menu at a cocktail bar
- Smoked a Cigar in Cuba
It’s because of the bucket list quest that I’ve followed through and created a lifestyle that allows me to do these things.
More recently, I’ve become pretty obsessed with golf.
It was after that first round that I decided I wanted to play the Top 100 Public Courses in the US.
Within 6 months I realized what I really wanted to do was play the actual Top 100 Courses in the US (most are private, and very hard to get on).
Now today as you read this, I’ll be touching down in Edinburgh, Scotland where I’ll be playing 9 of the Top 100 Courses in the World in 9 days.
Edit: I’m writing this from the Edinburgh airport while waiting for my buddy Dan to arrive.
If you’d said within a year and a half of that first round I’d have played close to 20% of the best golf courses in the world I’d have thought you were crazy.
Yet here I am back in Europe for the first time in 7 years, more excited than ever.
Having a quest and tangible goals is what has given me motivation to work so hard on my business and help others with their goals. Very, very few people in the world are fortunate enough to have the time and resources to do something like this.
I’d be doing myself and all of you a disservice not to pursue something big, and that’s what has been so cool about both the bucket list and the golf quests.
It’s not about the golf, it’s about the journey, which has been one of the most fun and exciting of my life.
The Happiness of Pursuit
So, while we’re taking a trip down memory lane, I have to mention one more component, and without this, I never would have started in the first place.
It was Chris Guillebeau who first inspired me to start this blog and write down the things I wanted to do.
He agreed to meet me at a Starbucks in Portland in 2009. I made an excuse at work, walked to the most hipster neighborhood in town, in my ill-fitting suit and tie, and told Chris I wanted to make a change.
He inspired my bucket list quest, and subsequently my golf quest, with his goal of visiting every country in the world.
And today, he released his latest book, which is all about quests: The Happiness of Pursuit.
It’s validated all of the thoughts I’ve had about my own pursuits, and helped renew my vigor with which to pursue them. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in life, this book has a very important message for you.
It shares incredible stories of the man who set out to shoot, edit, and publish one million photographs; the teenager who sailed around the world; the woman who wanted to see every bird on earth – the list goes on.
When you read The Happiness of Pursuit, you can’t help but be inspired and motivated to create your own quest – however big or small.
So as I currently set off on the unknown, and begin driving on the wrong side of the road, to every corner of a country I’ve never been before I’ll be thinking of a few things.
First, I’m incredibly lucky to have an opportunity like this, and I won’t take it for granted.
Second, I have this opportunity because I made it for myself, and worked incredibly hard to get there.
Third, I don’t care if anyone else understands it or not – I’m doing this for me, and that’s the most important part in any quest.
Fourth, and this one is important, life is short, make good stories.
What stories are you creating in your life? Need a little kickstart in the right direction? Please, please go read Chris’ new book. Regardless of where you are in the lifecycle of your personal quest, I promise you’ll enjoy every page.