When I went away for a semester at the National Outdoor Leadership School in 2005, my good friend Meg remarked that she would be living vicariously through my stories while she continued through college. I always thought this was kind of funny, since she had (and still has) a perfectly adventurous life herself– soon after I returned, she traveled to Spain, crewed a schooner on the coast of Maine, and went off to the South Pole for a few Antarctic summers. I often wondered, why would you need to watch my adventures when you have so many of your own?
The fact that you’re reading this blog probably means you already have your own answer to that question. I have no doubt that all of the people who read this blog have their own amazing adventures– they may not involve six-month hiking trips, or living in a cabin in the wilderness for months on end, but they’re no less daunting on a daily basis. I’ve been doing the “normal life” (sort of) for about a year and a half now, and I can say that it is incredibly more difficult than being a hiker bum. Most of the time, the “normal life” is a lot more uncertain and scary. I manage to get away pretty often through other people’s stories, though. The links to other blogs on the sidebar to the right are just a small sampling of the stuff I use to help me daydream.
Ever since finishing the Pacific Crest Trail seventeen months ago (three lifetimes, in Guthook years), I’ve needed a lot of the vicarious living to keep my imagination limber. There have been plenty of fun adventures on the weekends and between jobs, but I can only be so many places at once. So I read about what others have done, because it helps remind me of all the things that I haven’t done, the plethora of experiences that are still possible in this world. Not just hiking and gear, but school, being a naturalist, living in a foreign land, and on and on. There’s a lot going on out there.
As for my adventures, my “normal life” has once again turned a corner– not unexpectedly. This week I’m back to being unemployed, but there are plenty of things left on my to-do list. I’m actually kind of grateful for the lull in activity here, since I’m running up against a self-imposed deadline, and I’m going to be working my tail off for the rest of this month on something big.
For the next few weeks I’m going to be mighty scarce while I put the finishing touches on my top secret project, head out into the White Mountains for an 8-day expedition, and then return to society. When I get back, in the first few days of March, I’ll hopefully be ready to reveal this project and also to post some trip reports from the end of this month. Stay tuned, and don’t worry if you don’t hear from me much in the next few weeks. Hopefully next month’s posts will be worth the wait. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite daydream-inspiring reads from the past few months: