Heroes

This explorer spends his life testing the limits. But why does he bother?

Answers to the question, "Why bother leaving the house at all?"

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Universal Pictures: Everest

In 2004, explorer Ben Saunders skied from the north coast of Russia to the north coast of Canada via the Arctic Ocean.

During this solo trip, he spent 72 days — or 10 weeks — in complete solitude, dragging nearly 400 pounds of supplies behind him.


Image from Ben Saunders' TED Talk.

But that didn't satisfy his thirst for adventure.

In 2013 and 2014, Saunders led the first successful journey on foot from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. That trip took 15 weeks.

Sure, Saunders' feats are impressive. But why does he do it? As an interviewer once asked him, "If it is being done somewhere by someone, and we can participate virtually, then why bother leaving the house?"

Here are a few of the reasons Saunders gives for his relentless drive to explore.

"Because it's there."

This quote is often credited to George Lee Mallory, the man who may (or may not) have been the first person ever to summit Mount Everest. Mallory is pictured below, second from the left in the back row.

Image from Ben Saunders' TED Talk.

When asked, "What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?" Mallory replied, "It is no use. ... What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy, and joy, after all, is the end of life."

Mallory was last seen alive disappearing into the clouds on Mount Everest in 1924.

"No one else will ever, could ever, possibly see the views, the vistas, that I saw."

When Saunders completed his expedition to the North Pole in 2004, he was traveling over a drifting sea of ever-changing ice.

Because of the constant shifts in that terrain, he had an experience that no one in the world will ever have again. NO ONE in the world will ever see exactly what he saw.

And that seems pretty worth it.

Image from Ben Saunders' TED Talk.

Saunders explains in a TED Talk, "I can try to tell you what it was like, but you'll never know what it was like. And the more I try to explain ... the more words fall short, and I'm unable to do it justice."

"Real inspiration and growth only comes from adversity and challenge."

Sure, this one's a bit cheesy, but hear him out.

Ben Saunders, extravagant explorer, is aware that you could get the answers to almost any question you could think to ask, right from your laptop or phone.

But in all his years of subjecting himself to extreme challenges, he's learned something important: "If I've learned anything in nearly 12 years now of dragging heavy things around cold places, it is that true, real inspiration and growth only comes from adversity and from challenge."

In the end, Saunders' point is this: "We could all benefit from getting outside the house a little more often, if only we could summon up the courage."

No, you don't have to walk to the North Pole. No, you don't have to hand in your laptop and quit the Internet entirely.

But there is a lot of truth to what he's saying.

Many of these quotes were taken from Saunders' TED Talk titled "Why bother leaving the house?" If you have the time, it's worth checking out the whole video here:

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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I almost didn't create this post this week.

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