For one reason or another the phrase “You Only Live Once” or ‘YOLO’ seemed to hit the mainstream media early last winter and fans ate it up. Arguably Mae West coined the term YOLO long ago when she said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”  Eh? Eh!?

Anyway, growing up in the light of social media I have been introduced to many of my peers definition of YOLO. Generally, YOLO is something that is said after a drunken night out with friends. An excuse for a hook-up, the reasoning behind those drugs you want to try, or the amount of alcohol you want to consume. It’s an excuse for the dangerous or rather stupid things the youth wants to do and then make themselves feel better about.

I pity those who think “YOLO” means partying, getting trashed, sleeping around, etc. Of course, I’m not here to put a damper on your good time, by all means, live the life you desire. But, honestly that’s how you want to live the one life you have?

Climbing Mt. Cook

To me, YOLO is better described as that feeling of excitement when you are discovering a brand new place for the first time. That rush of adrenaline as you are about to jump out of an airplane or take a dive 134 meters tied to only a bungee cord.  That sense of accomplishment when you are scaling a rock wall, hiking one of the tallest peaks in New Zealand, or standing on a cliff looking out at the great wide open sea. That pit in your stomach as you take the plunge down a racing white rapid. The watering of your mouth as you sink your lips into a classic cuisine of a foreign land. The desire in your soul when you purchase that ticket for the new place you’ve been dying to see. Watching the sunrise from a beautiful spot, whether it’s on a mountain top or a rooftop. That hunger to keep seeing, discovering and learning.

Yes, to me YOLO is about experiencing new things. It’s about opening your eyes to a world you’ve never known about. It’s about finding the beauty in the streets, people and cultures placed all around you. It’s about taking in the moments and chasing your dreams.

Wander around. Get lost. Find yourself. Remember- you only live once.

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