I once wrote a feature story for The New York Times Magazine about “the real Indiana Jones.” His name was Gene Savoy, and I met him at a seaside bar on Oahu’s North Shore. I was riveted by his tales about his swashbuckling days searching Peru’s jungles for forgotten ruins of ancient civilizations. All of his stories were memorable, but one in particular lodged in my mind, and only recently did I grok what he meant. The story was about the time he and his support team became hopelessly lost in remote jungle, and he became convinced they would all die.
“The jungle was impenetrable. During the day, we’d hack our way a few hundred yards, and at night, the jungle would grow back in. One morning, as I was drinking coffee and looking over my maps, I heard a loud ringing sound, like a bell. Curious, I got up and went to where I heard the ringing. I found a team member hacking at vines near the ground. I grabbed his machete, and I hacked as hard as I could until the thick, humid air rang out again. And again. I didn’t let my happiness show yet, but I knew we were saved. I ordered my entire team to work in that specific location.
Savoy’s face was beaming as he told this story.
“I knew when I heard the ringing sound that we’d discovered an ancient Incan road. Brad, a road goes someplace. Even though the road hadn’t been used in centuries, I knew we could follow it and it would take us back to civilization. Life is like exploring. You’ve got to have a path. Without a path, we are lost.”
At the time, Savoy’s comments confused me. But now, nearly two decades later, I am crystal clear about Savoy’s message.
What’s your path? What can you rely on when your own wits fail you? Maybe it’s a spiritual practice such as yoga or meditation. Maybe your morning walk or journaling is your Path. Whatever it is, lean on it. Going it alone without a path can leave you lost. Finding your path again after losing it is often the only way back out.