65 days to go!
I touched on fear/being scared in one of my previous blog posts. Several people have asked what some of my fears are. Others have said I must be fearless. And while following several Facebook groups, I have seen a number of people ask fear related questions.
I wanted to write a little bit about this. The truth is, I have a huge number of concerns, or what some may consider fears. I am not fearless by any means! Here is a short list of things I am concerned about.
Being gone 5 months!
“Missing” the entire summer.
Being gone 5 months and “missing” the entire summer.
I know for some people, this kind of adventure is old hat. They have done it before, and know what they are getting into. I don’t have this experience, nor do I know anyone personally that has undertaken such a complex and lengthy endeavour. So, I have read a lot about it, planned the best I can, and hope to be able to use my other life experiences to “wing it”.
So, I have never been away from home for 5+ months. I have absolutely no idea what this is going to be like. My bed, my closet full of clothes, a daily shower, will all be luxuries I won’t have. While I am expecting several of my friends and family to come visit me on the trail. The vast majority of the time, my friends will be at home, living life as usual. Which rolls right into “missing” the entire summer.
While I won’t miss the summer as I will be experiencing summer from the trail, I will miss the summer with my friends and family. Many of our summer routines and traditions will carry on without me there. Pool parties, birthdays, pride, the beach, are all things I will miss out on. While I have no doubt, I will have some amazing experiences, and everyone will wonder what I’m up to, I will be missing life as usual.
I grew up an only child, living somewhat in the middle of nowhere. We had a few neighbors but for the most part, I spent my formative years entertaining myself. I became very self-reliant this way. Fantastic. Since then, I have developed an amazing network for friends, many of whom I consider family. We spend a LOT of time together. This support structure wont be available for an adult beverage when I need to talk about something, or need a boast to my morale.
I’m of no illusion things will be the same when I get back. 5 months is a long time. People grow, and change. My absence will leave a void in many relationships that will culminate in new relationships being formed. Will there still be room for me when I return? What will have changed? I know I am going to change a tremendous amount because of my experience. Will my friends still want to be around me? Will I want to be around them?
This.is.a.big.one. There are about 47 million and a half “what if’s” What if I get injured. What if I fall off the side of a mountain and die, what if I get eaten by a wild pack of Madagascar zombie lemurs! All of these will result in failing at what I set out to do. Now granted if I die, it is unlikely i will give a shit I failed, however, any other instance in which I don’t complete the trail, will be failure, and that is absolutely terrifying. All the time, energy, support, and encouragement so I can go out there and not complete what I set out to do? What a waste.
Another big one on the list. Over the last 15 years, my husband and I have managed to work our way up in corporate america, achieving success, and building a wonderful life for ourselves. Many of the fantastic experiences we have had are a direct result of the success we have achieved financially. So, what would anyone with a lick of common sense do? Of course, quit their job and take 6 months off to go wander around the wilderness. Makes sense right? Well, not exactly. There are days, I absolutely think I’m out of my mind. There has been more than one person that has pointed out, I will have a large time gap on my resume and hiring managers often question these. What if I get back and can’t find another job?! What happens when we deplete our savings, and are left to live on the streets?! OH THE HUMANITY. (of course this is unlikely, I havent starved yet, and I likely won’t in the future)
The fear of the unknown
I tend to be a rather methodical person, I always have a plan. I’m always well researched, and have large knowledge base in which to pull from. Great! The problem is, what am I NOT thinking of? What am I missing? Are there things I am going to encounter that I havent the foggiest idea how to deal with? Oh no!
So what gives?
After reading all the things I am afraid of, many of you might be wondering WHAT THE HELL are you thinking man!? Why on earth would you potentially risk so much, just to walk a trail and be gone for 5 months? The short answer, “because it’s there”.
The long answer. Many people think I’m going on this journey to “find myself”. I don’t believe I am lost. I have a pretty good idea of who I am, and what I’m capable of. Personally, I think it’s very important to continually challenge ourselves. Without challenges and struggles, it is impossible to grow. In paraphrasing Dean Karnazes, ” I have never felt so alive as when I am struggling and in pain. It’s in these moments in which we see who we really are.” I have competed in endurance events for quite some time, and have always loved the outdoors and hiking. As Brian has said to me and others, this seems to be the next logical step. I would go as far to say, the trail has called to me. And by a number of fortunate circumstances, I am able to answer the call.
I believe nature has a way of chipping away the walls we put up, and the bullshit we feed ourselves. Removing yourself from modern society and all its many conveniences and distractions provides an opportunity to look within and really connect with what really makes you tick. In many regards I think I have become somewhat unfriendly and jaded. I’m taking this as an opportunity to unplug from my civilized life and go down a path few have traveled. Through it all, I feel I will be a better man.
I would be remiss to not include I enjoy being a badass. There is an element of pride when people learn of an accomplishment of mine and say, “You did what? Oh I could never do that.”
I disagree with them, of course. I believe anyone can. It’s simply a matter of, how bad do you want it? It is being this inspiration which provides a portion of the driving force for me to undertake such challenges.