There are two camps on New Years Day: those who are too cool for resolutions and those who savor the excuse to create change in their lives. Both camps realize that most resolutions are futile, yet the latter camp clings to optimism. I am forever in the latter camp. This is the story of how I went from miserable and unfulfilled to happy and excited about life and how I hope to help others do the same.
On January 1st 0f 2014, I took stock of my life. A lot of stuff was a-ok. I loved my friends, had a great girlfriend and was making plenty of money. However, I wasn’t content. I felt like life was slipping through my fingers, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I decided to ditch the resolution to get in shape and instead settled on these three goals:
- Go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
- Climb to the top of Half Dome
- Start a company
I wasn’t in particularly good shape (see former failed resolution), but I’ve always wanted to do the Grand Canyon and Half Dome. It was time to cross them off my bucket list. So my best friends Sarah, David, and I made it happen. We backpacked rim to rim of the Grand Canyon and spent several days in the back country of Yosemite before scaling Half Dome.
I felt an elation in the Grand Canyon, and again in Yosemite, that I hadn’t felt in a very, very long time. It would be easy to chalk this up to being deep inside two of the nation’s most beautiful natural treasures. However, I had a nagging feeling that there was more to it than that.
What was it that was making me so happy? I realized that, even though I was trying hard, I didn’t have a work/life balance that worked for me. I am the kind of person who likes to experience new things, yet my day-to-day activities were stuck in a rut. The idea of Quest Scouts was born out of a desire to help myself and others break free from the “lather, rinse and repeat” lifestyle to live happier, healthier lives.
What Is Quest Scouts? (The short version)
Honestly, I think the idea of Quest Scouts has been floating in and out of my subconscious for a while now. The exact moment that Quest Scouts snapped into place for me was as I was hauling myself and my backpack up a particularly large hill in Yosemite. Out of breath (we’ll blame the altitude) and putting one foot slowly in front of the other, I knew that I wanted to create a community centered around challenges and badge collection.
At that moment, Quest Scouts was born. Sure, it wasn’t called Quest Scouts yet, but I knew that my purpose for the next few years was to bring this into the world. I felt then, and I feel even stronger now, that Quest Scouts can change lives.
Upon getting home, I reacquainted myself with an old friend–the Bare Bones Cafe in Portland, OR. It is there that Quest Scouts really came to life. I filled in the details and planned 12 Quests, one for each month in 2015. I couldn’t stop there, though, and “special quests” (the name could use some work), quests in addition to the monthly quests, were born. (There are two special quests available through Quest Scouts now!)
You can find a detailed explanation of Quest Scouts and completing quests at our website, but I’m not going to go into the details here. However, I will give you the Twitter version of it here in 140 characters or less:
Each Quest has a unique theme. Quests have objectives. Complete objectives for points. Earn enough points, and your Quest is complete.
How Quest Scouts Has Changed My Life (And How I Hope It Will Change Yours, Too)
In January of 2014, I resolved to do three things, but I didn’t realize yet how the first two would inspire the third. While my Grand Canyon and Yosemite journeys are over, my journey with Quest Scouts is just beginning.
In January, my life was good, but I was far from happy. Now it is November, I am self-employed and the owner of Quest Scouts. I am the happiest I’ve been in years. Half of my happiness is derived from being my own boss. I’ve switched from the office life to the coffee shop life, and I fit in much better here. The other half of my happiness comes from Quest Scouts itself. I’ve issued two special quests so far, and I enjoy both sides of the quests. First, I complete all quests that I ask others to complete. I love the way checking off objectives mixes up my day.
Second, I love that I’m seeing Quest Scouts positively impact the lives of others. While we’re still relatively small, Quest Scouts has participants from all around North America. Quest Scouts is working, and we haven’t even officially launched yet! People are stepping out of their routines and doing things they normally wouldn’t have done.
This is the part where I invite you to join us. I truly believe that if you start with us today, you’ll look back on your year come New Years of 2016 and be happily surprised at all you’ve accomplished with Quest Scouts.
The following video was created for Quest Scouts’ Kickstarter campaign.
Dylan Waller is a former research nerd turned entrepreneur. He splits his time between running Quest Scouts, designing board games and exploring the city of Portland, OR.