"Anyone who says they're not scared is a fool or a liar or both"

Posted by: Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Mar 26, 2010

For the second time, NOLS Wind River Mountaineering and Baja Sea Kayaking grad Anderson Cooper is gracing the cover of Outside magazine, this time in Outside's April 2010 Adventure Issue. Anderson is one of 11 intrepid adventurers who answer the question, "Why do you do it?" That is, why do you jump into planes and head to war or disaster-torn regions and take huge risks (like going to Somalia alone with no protection or a place to stay)? The full interview can be found at Outside on-line.

The coopThe question I wish Anderson had answered is, how do you do it all -- travel through dusty roads in Africa and dingy slums in the middle of civil wars -- and look so darn good doing it? I swear, through dust and dirt, not a hair on his head is out of place, and he is as coiffed as he was the day he graduated from Yale. And yet, here I am sitting at my office desk -- not a particle of dust or a speck of armed conflict in sight -- and I'm wearing a baseball cap because I'm having a "bad hair day."

Seriously though, the interview is worth reading. The snippet that hit home for me is this one:

I don''t believe you should be ruled by fear in anything in your life. I don't like anything that scares me, and I prefer to face it head-on and get over it. Anyone who says they're not scared is a fool or a liar or both.

What prompted the story? Anderson, like several other NOLS grads, put himself into the thick of things in Haiti. His split-second decision to jump into a crowd of looters in the middle of a story to help a little boy who had been hit on the head with a cement block created a stir in the journalism world - did he overstep his boundaries as a journalist? Anderson says, heck no - "anyone would have done the same thing if they had the opportunity."

That might be true, but nobody can do it with the style and finesse of the Coop.

Aparna is a NOLS instructor and has been the PR and Marketing Intern, PR specialist, and the Diversity & Inclusion manager at NOLS. She is a founding partner of The Avarna Group (theavarnagroup.com).