When we were cruising around Key West on our last adventure, we stopped for a while at Key West Island Books. I love checking out used book stores on my travels and needed something to read on the flight home. I had already finished most of the screenplay I was working on during the flight out and needed something to fill my time on the plane.
And boy did I find the right one. Endurance, Shakleton's Incredible Voyage is about a failed 1914 sailing expedition to the South Pole. The sailing ship became locked in the ice for ten months before it was finally crushed spilling out it's crew onto a melting ice pack. They then traveled 850 miles to get to the nearest living human for rescue.
During the eighteen month ordeal, Shakleton was rock steady and made amazingly hard decisions to lead all of his crew to safety through unimaginable cold, driving winds, and seas that would freeze on the sailors face into giant icicles.
I think what I love most about this story of adventure is that although Shakleton never made it to his original destination he still got what he came for, a lifetime worth of adventure and challenges. Every time you go on an adventure, you put yourself out in the open, inviting the unexpected to come your way. And most of the time you get it. Those diversions are usually the thing that makes the expedition.
I read the book during the whole flight and finished it that night. Such a great story of a man who prepared for the unexpected and had the strength to lead through the toughest eighteen months many of us will ever see. Now, that's my kind of adventurer.