“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” -Carl Sagan
Well, all of the plans are set. Travel is booked. Cabins are booked. The rental car is booked. And so begins the art of test packing what I’ll
want need to take with me. I’m struggling with this. I really am. This is the reason I drive most places – it’s the reason I drove all the way across the US last year. I’m the type of person that likes to be prepared. I’ve seen, read, and listened to too many accounts of accidents happening where unprepared adventurers become a statistic because they didn’t account for the possibility of their trip encountering a problem. I don’t mind flying at all. In fact, if I had my own plane that I could stuff full of, well, “stuff”, I’d fly everywhere. But now I’m limited to what will fit in a checked bag and a tiny overhead bin.
I’m well aware that I have a problem. Some professionals call it “Fortheloveofgodjustrelax”. (I think it’s Latin.) But it’s in my nature to account for the unknown. It’s who I am. I’m the guy that knows he has a long exhausting hike ahead of him but chooses to carry that extra 5 pounds on his pack anyway simply because you never know when an ice axe might be needed in the desert.
Last year, on my road trip, I had the luxury of bringing the kitchen sink simply because I could. It wasn’t just my obsession with being prepared, it was because I was traveling somewhere unknown to me, very remote at times – and I was doing it alone. If I could dream of a possible scenario where something could happen, I took the measures to counter it.
It turns out that, thankfully, I didn’t need to use any of my “emergency” supplies, but it did give me the self-confidence I needed to push myself to go to places I might not have gone without knowing my safety rope was there. And that is why I do it. To cautiously take the chances to really live life and see what’s out there in the world. You don’t get to see places like this without a little risk. And experiencing these places are what keeps me feeling alive.
With just over a month to go, once again I sit in quiet anticipation of meeting a new culture, exploring a new land, walking on a glacier, relaxing in a geothermal spring and re-energizing my life. If you would have asked me 15 years ago what I thought life was about, you would have gotten an answer about climbing the corporate ladder, partying, and slowly working toward some tangible form of success. I only wish I’d realized how naive that kid was a lot sooner.