“Wait – how far?!“, or
“Solo? Are you serious?”, and
“So when do you leave?”,
The most common question I get asked is
“Are you ready?”
And I don’t really have an answer.
Ready is relative, I believe.
Do I have a tent? A backpack? Yes.
Sleeping bag? Yep, and I even chose my own custom colours (purple and black on the outside and yellow inside – apparently it’s a good idea to have a bright colour on one side, as it can be useful if I need to flag down someone in an emergency!).
Shoes? Of course, but I reckon I’ll go through a few pairs along the way.
Enough savings? Well… Here’s to July’s tax return (and all my lovers at www.patreon.com/beingjoyous).
I’ve got basically all of my ‘stuff’ for the hike sorted.
But am I ready to pack up my caravan and say goodbye to my housemates and friends up here? To hug my parents farewell, again? To sell Betty the motorcycle?* To live in a tent and eat porridge and tortillas for half a year? Am I mentally and emotionally ready to walk into the desert, the mountains, the woods, and say goodbye to society? To spend days at a time without speaking to another person? To rely solely on my legs, my feet, my wits and my faith to carry me 4,300km?
I can’t answer “Yes” with full confidence.
I leave Lennox in three weeks.
It’s starting to get a whole lot more real, but I am also living in a semi-dream state, and this does not eel like reality. I’m in a weird limbo here, and I’m feeling a bit homesick before I’ve even left.
Yesterday, I found myself down a train of thought that began with, “What the heck am I doing?!”.
People plan and prepare for this for years. A quick google search brings up an endless list of blogs and stories and Reddit threads of countless others who have been training, and getting ready physically, mentally, practically, years in advance. There are books and podcasts and forums and it’s all more than a little overwhelming.
I’m going about this hike a little differently to most.
Originally, it was a very distant pipe dream; a far-off thought that it could be cool to do that walk one day.
It slowly became more of a bucket-list idea – something that I would actually maybe possibly attempt at some point. Maybe.
Then last year, it really started to come closer to home: “Why not?”. I wasn’t tied down to a house, or a family of my own, or a career, or study. I’m not quiet about how much I love my job at the pub, but I can always come back if I leave (I hope!).
And so I gave my notice at work, I bought that tent and organised tickets and a permit and now it’s actually happening.
Maybe I am crazy.
I don’t know anything about snow hiking. I’ve spent one practise night in my tent so far, and had to take pain killers the next day for how sore my back was! I’ve got the walking part pretty down pat, but keeping it up for 30+ kilometres a day, for six months, carrying my life on my back? You can’t train enough for that. And by myself too. At least I know how to use a compass… Granted, I still need to buy one.
The problem with being adventurous and jumping off the deep end is that I really have no idea what exactly I’m jumping into. It’s becoming a bit more scary as my flight looms closer. Even travel insurance – I need to get one that includes death cover, just in case. How’s that for some peace of mind?
I’ll be fine – I always am. I’ve got a brilliant support network and a fairly good head on my shoulders.
It can’t end badly.
And if God has never let me down so far, it’d be pretty unlucky if He were to start now.
Just feeling the feels as my big dreams become realer.
*Okay, I am kinda definitely ready to sell Betty. Motorcycles are sexy, but they are not convenient!
No one warns you that you can’t just jump in the car and cruise to the beach – you’ve got to put on jeans, boots, leather jacket, gloves, and a backpack for the towel and hat and water bottle you want with you. And then putting all that gear on after having a swim in the salty ocean? Don’t forget about sand. It’s just not fun.
You can’t escape rain.
You have to add extra time wherever you’re going, to get all that gear on and off.
Betty was a fun chapter and I don’t regret the decision, but next time I will keep a car as well!