Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Selfish Christmas

Dear Husband, Family, and Friends,

I am writing to apologize, because once again I am disappearing into the wilderness for the holidays. I know, I know: this is supposed to be a time for being together, eggnog, baking, etc. (What is eggnog?) Instead, I am going backpacking in Big Bend National Park. And trust me, I have been the recipient of some strange looks, and an unspoken sentence: What is wrong with you?

The truth is, I wish I knew why the mountains call to me more than most people. Why I work grueling ten hour days in the summer, starting at six in the morning, just so I can sneak away on a Friday. Why a day off feels wasted unless I am out there. Why I feel like a clock is ticking down the years, hours, minutes, telling me, someday you might not be able to do this. Now is the time. Why sleeping fifty nights in one year in the backcountry is so important.

And here's something else: As much as I love this little mountain town, there have been times when it has been lonely. I haven't met a tribe, like I have in other places. There are some great friends, who I can count on for a day hike, sometimes an overnight, if other responsibilities don't claim them. But the kind of people I used to sleep outdoors with under a blanket of stars, hike wildly through the woods with map and compass, seeking a hidden lake, the ones like those...No. And again I wonder, what is different about me, why can't I be more like my wonderful friends, who can balance their chores, their obligations, with wilderness?

I know that my people are out there, because I've "met" them on blogs and long distance hiking trail forums. When I read that one bloggy friend was headed out for a long hike over Christmas, I thought..Yes! It's not just me!

But anyway. I know you know all this. You know that I'd rather visit you when the tundra isn't quite so frozen instead of a forced holiday. You know that getting out into the wilderness is what fills me up. You have seen the evidence of otherwise: Crankypants rides again. You all know that in spite of what I do, you are just as important as wilderness. Thanks for understanding.

Love,

Monkey Bars


21 comments:

  1. I sometimes envy folks who can do outdoorsy things on the holidays. Although I love my hubby and kids very much, they are not up for the same adventures as I seek. If we lived closer, I'd love to come exploring with you! (If you'd have me)

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  2. 'S all right. Enjoy and come back to tell us all about it.

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    1. I still feel sad! But looking forward to BB.

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  3. You know you've found the right partner when they understand and support your need to break tradition. Your adventure acquaintances like me have complete empathy. Society guilts us into conforming to some Leave It To Beaver holiday that doesn't exist. Listen to the call. It's screaming your name.

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  4. I usually travel far, far away over the December holidays so I can opt out of everything traditional. I don't understand the appeal or obligation of all that stuff, and I don't think it's selfish at all. Why people are programmed to think we must all do the same things on the same day is beyond me! Have a fun time, and don't think it's selfish at all.

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    1. The expectation of "society" is a hard one. I am fortunate that I am not given big guilt trips, and everyone knows I will visit when I can.

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  5. Your Welcome...
    John McGilvra

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  6. My Christmas was spent on the trails again this year too. I use it more of a distraction from the fact that I'm apart from my family. This year, both my parents had major health issues that landed them in the hospital, and it got me thinking about how little time we truly have together. I think I'll be heading back for Christmas next year, my first in a decade, because I don't know when those opportunities will run out.

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    1. I can totally understand this. Maybe I will see you on a running trail next year in yooperland.

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  7. It's OK! I know you will come back a much happier Princess, because you unlike the rest of us will have had the time to destress. You will have also met your 50 night goal. Which is Amazing! We also know you will share your beautiful pictures and great stories of adventure with those of us that live vicariously through you. Have fun and Hike on!

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    1. Getting to the 50th night was awesome!

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  8. Love this post. I just got back from my own backpacking trip over Christmas. I'm glad you express these things I feel as well- about feeling the crazy draw to the wilderness. Glad you get to be out there and hope you are having a wonderful time out in Big Bend!

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    1. I've been reading your report and I am intrigued by that trail! I never heard of it before.

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  9. I hadn't even thought about going on an outing during Christmas, but I think it's brilliant. With our new 15-month old child, the hardest part about getting out on backpacks is finding childcare -- with the holidays there are plenty of people to watch the little one and with him around attracting all of the attention, I'm pretty sure no one would even notice my absence!

    Thanks for the tip, I'll have to see what I can do next Christmas...

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    1. It really is a great time to go. Just a little limited by weather. We encountered both very hot and very cold temps, plus water carries, so a much different trip than in summer for sure.

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  10. Happy New Year, Marre. Hope you've had a great time.

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  11. Hi Monkey Bars. I hope you enjoyed your trip to Big Bend! I hear that you can see the Big Dipper early in the morning there better than any other place on earth. I hope you got to see it. I understand about the clock ticking away the years, the hours, the seconds. I think it all comes down to one thing: We all wish we had more time. So keep seeking out your wilderness, and keep looking for your tribe. I applaud you!

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