The American lifestyle is all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness above all else. It’s about white picket fences. It’s about church and family. It’s about money and material wealth, even when it seems far out of reach. But is it about adventure? Not everyone would say yes. How many of us go out in search of a new adventure? Ask yourselves if you would do what these people once did!
The first mental obstacle is the most obvious. The Ancient Planters left everything behind. Everything they had ever worked for would be gone. It was a complete reset. Many people would have had to leave parents and other loved ones, knowing they wouldn’t ever see one another again. They couldn’t take many material possessions, even though most were wealthy.
We’ve already explored the way life worked back in the world the ancient planters had inhabited — one couldn’t just go find a wrongful death attorney to recoup damages. Frontier justice was neither common nor uncommon, because a system of justice was in place — albeit we can gather that it made mistakes in doling out punishments. There’s at least as much about this system we don’t know. We know it was harsh.
But that’s the least that a person traveling to the new world would need to prepare for. It wasn’t just about the circumstances we know about — the starvation, the bad water, the Native American threat, the brutal winters — but the ones they didn’t know about. They had no idea what they were walking into.
They knew the voyage overseas would be a terrible one. They had brought little extra food to make the trip, and if storms caused them to veer off course or spend more time at sea, they had little chance of survival. And the voyage was already a dangerous one. These were people who knew they might never make it across the ocean — and more importantly, they knew it was unlikely they would ever return.
When they arrived, they knew they would have to fend for themselves. They would have to find or grow their own food. They would have to locate a good source of water (they didn’t) and a defensible position (they did) from which to build a settlement that could last. They would have to build everything.
But keep in mind, these were not men who were accustomed to doing everything themselves. There was a great disconnect between what they must have known they would have to do upon arrival and what they actually wanted to do, which is why rules were put into place guaranteeing that no one who didn’t work would eat. It was a reality check.
Our own world has essentially been explored. The last great frontiers we have left are the ocean and space. Would you leave everything behind to go live the rest of your life on Mars? Would you leave the solar system? That’s similar to what the Ancient Planters had done — but truth be told, we have the resources and technology to make the trip safer and the life in space easier.