Monday, June 13, 2016

Home/Adventure

I sat beside my packed backpack. Stay or go? It is a constant tug of war, the lure of the wild and the comfort of being home. I've never really faced this before, because I was always about the adventure. Now, though, I hesitate. My workdays are long, ten hours at the least, in a usually futile attempt to have a three day weekend, but something always comes up on Fridays so I end up working. I love the cabin and never have the time to hang out on the porch, bake cookies, or write. There's the pets, who look betrayed at my absence. And J, who isn't much for backpacking these days; it's hard to leave him too. 

But the adventure. It balances out, as much as it can, those ten hours sitting at the computer. I want to come back to work with memories. I want to see things, not just the space in front of the house, or a few hours of a day hike. I want to be away. Luckily, J gets it when I say, "I want to do these things while I still can." "Why do you think I bike so much?" he asks.

In the end, I decided to go. I drove for an hour up a road that led to a fire lookout, and hiked a trail I hadn't been on. It plunged downward into the canyon with twenty-nine switchbacks. It was apparent nobody had been on this trail for some time. I bashed through a thick forest of brush, praying tick season was over, and climbed over and under 32 fallen trees (I count them for the trail crew). The views were outstanding. This canyon is every bit as amazing as the Grand, but lack of money to maintain trails and its relative unknown status keeps people away. I feel kind of sad about that, even though I can count on not seeing a soul.

Rush Creek Rapids, 6,000 feet below.


The hills are alive.

I found a bench to camp on. The silence was incredible--just the wind and little buzzy bugs. I don't think most people get enough silence.
This ranks right up there in top tent sites.
I don't know why I have it, this ticking metronome that makes me want to go instead of stay. I don't know a lot of other people who are this way. They still have full weekends, with some outdoors stuff, but are content to be home every night. It would be easier if I didn't feel so driven by the need to step outside a routine. But I do, and I can't believe it is wrong. 


I've read a rash of articles lately by young women who state that they are "choosing adventure over the daily grind." They blithely state that they will bankrupt themselves for the present, and will not worry about having to work at checkout stands at eighty. While I understand that desire, I can't subscribe to it. That's why I'm living my life as a hybrid of this. Work and save during the week, adventure (as much as possible) on the weekends. Is it perfect? Of course not. I still want a home, and pets, and not to live out of a storage unit or my car. I also want to be in the wilderness. I don't want to work at eighty years old. So I do what I can. I will almost always choose to go.




18 comments:

  1. Well, they're not "choosing adventure" so much as "choosing perpetual teenagerhood." Eventually that all comes to roost.

    I'm betting that your two and three day weekends pack more actual adventure than those folks do all month if not all year. Not that it's a competition but I do think that the ones talking the most about how adventurous they are are those who like to talk about it more than they like to do it. Now that it's become trendy to ask for money for this type of thing, we'll probably see more of it :/

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    1. I suspect there's a lot of truth in your statements.

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  2. As much as I love a good outdoor adventure, I too feel the tug of home and things I think I need to get done. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty taking vacation during a busy time at work. I totally understand your feelings - I'd also love to "choose adventure over the daily grind" but reality dictates there are bills to pay so I'm like you and try to balance work and fun.

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    1. I feel the same way about work which is silly to me because I put in so much more time than a lot of folks plus I know I am replaceable there. Just have to do what we can.

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  3. Hi Mary,

    I just tracked you down via your comment on my blog, and I wanted to let you know how much your final paragraph resonated with me. I actually have a half-written post on the topic, which will probably see the light of day sooner rather than later. In a nutshell, I agree with you wholeheartedly!!

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    1. I could have written a lot more on this. It's almost a put down the way some of the articles read. I can't read another one like it. Looking forward to reading your post.

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  4. I admire your drive to override the 'shoulds' and get out there. I want to get out more weekends than I do, that's for certain. Partly it's the expense, I just can't justify the gas to get to a spot to head off backpacking, and so often it also seems like I just have so many things to take care of (hard to imagine I suppose since I live in a wall tent).
    But I have our Colorado trip to look forward to (hopefully I'll get the time off approved...).

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    1. Luckily it's not as far of a drive here, as you well know. Hat Point was a little far. If I had to drive an hour every weekend I probably would hesitate.

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  5. I feel guilty when I leave my kitty home for too long. She stayed home on my most recent trip and it felt weird that she wasn't traveling with us as she has for most everything else this year.

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    1. I feel soooo guilty leaving my kitty. I've spoiled him because I work at home, so he gets lonely when I leave.

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  6. Your posts usually resonate wirh me, this one espcially so. Just cut an overnight trip short to head in to work to complete a project. At least I got one good night of peace in the woods but sometimes rhe pull of work and the pull of wilderness feel like rhey might break me in too. Balance is tough to strike.

    I keep reading these articles about going into debt to backpack and cant agree at all. Im glad you and others are speaking up.

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    1. Yes I wonder what some of those 20 year olds will be saying at my age. I hope it works for them, I really do, but there's no need to look down on people who choose differently. That's the main thing that bugs me...that if you choose to work and save, you can't be adventurous.

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  7. Although I joke about being a Walmart greeter at 70 or 80, I truly hope it doesn't come to that. Growing up in poverty, financial security has always been important to me. I have no interest in living off of others or the system. Yes I'm living the dream but I worked nearly 40 years, living frugally while staying focused on saving for my future. Little did I know that burnout and menopause would expedite my early retirement. I'm glad I'd saved and am beyond happy that by living frugally I can regain my health and happiness. I consider these 10-20 years a gift to myself. I know I won't have a body capable of carrying me up big mountains forever. I watched my dad lose his spirit after injuring his back. I have several friends my age who are on permanent disability from accidents and injuries; others are dead. I'm willing to roll the dice and hope I can remain financially independent for the rest of my years or find a way to supplement my income responsibly when the time comes. For now my life goes on. I'm living the dream without regrets.

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    1. Well, I wasn't speaking of you. You have put on your time, though you are way too young to have worked 40 years in corporate life. I know all the tales people trot out about folks dropping dead and believe me, it frightens me, but not enough to quit working..yet. I aspire to your lifestyle someday. I can't get there yet, need to save a little more.

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  8. You so eloquently put into words my exact feelings! Right now in my life and for another little while, I say "I need to be here to be out there". I am not at a point where I no longer need to work but am working towards that. For now, I make sure that on weekends and for vacation time, I am out there whether it is closer or further, alone or with others, all day or part of a day. When the time comes when I no longer need to be here and have all the time to be out there, I want to be able to afford to be out there.

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    1. Same, it's so tempting when I see other people not much older than I am doing it and of course much younger. But exactly, I don't want to worry about where my next pair of hiking shoes is coming from.

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  9. Dang you're smart.

    One of the best summers I had was taking 3-day backpacking weekends all summer, rather than one long vacation. I had to use the time one way or another, or lose it. Really - great. 'Nuff time to relax, not too much effort. Luxurious.

    That was the same job I quit about three years later, at age 56, after deciding I'd rather die than to keep working there. I made it, though this is not recommended for general use.

    I'm good at saving money, and realized once upon a time that there's another person up ahead in the future who is depending on me, here, now, and what I get up to. From Dave to Dave then: Thanks, guy. You done good and I'm OK.

    Meanwhile, since then and now, the money I diligently stuffed away has roughly quintupled, and I'm also pulling down two modest pensions. Not enough to live well in the U.S., but fine and dandy in Ecuador. I am planning to come back north to do some backpacking, which is inconvenient and expensive, but hey - I can afford it.

    Now, how do I convince my sister to start saving for retirement at age 60, while she still has a tiny chance to do something about it? Oh. Ow.

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    1. Oh good for you. I like that thought: someone in the future is depending on you. And Ecuador is looking good (except no snow!). I have a friend in the same boat--same age--and it doesn't seem like there is a good way to convince those peeps. You get the argument that you could die tomorrow. Yes, you could..but what if you don't? I'm happy with my weekend adventures and money in the bank. Yes, I would love to be retired, but I know what I need to do and I am not there yet.

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