Monday, August 15, 2011

Journeys: answering questions you didn't even think to ask

posted by Melissa
Back in the winter, I went on a rant one night about why I will never buy wool socks.  Especially those fancy pants SmartWool socks that every decent white person with a higher socioeconomic status than myself sports most months in Seattle.  (Check out the psychological study on the prior link, interesting.)

"I am not part of that SES!" I proudly broadcast, while playing darts in a dive bar.

I am now the owner of new wool socks and hiking shoes.
This blog has created a lot of changes and transformations in my life, but my SES?  Indeed, if SmartWool socks are also your gauge to someone's socioeconomic status, then I guess I am moving on up.

I don't ever like to spend money on these things. Not only because I consider myself to be bonded more with those that "don't have", (as much as I do long to be with the "haves") but also because I really don't get into outdoor activities.  I like backyard camping.  Car camping.  Safe, well-traveled hikes.

I spent most of yesterday leaning towards calling the whole thing off.  In my head, I worked out how I was going to tell Amy that I was not going on the backpacking trip.  I decided it was going to be better for everyone involved if I didn't go.  And to top it off, REI takes returns on everything I just bought.  Well, except for those totally lame hiking pants I purchased from the clearance section.  Why does hiking gear have to be so unstylish?

Speaking of unstylish, I have been walking around town, and will continue to do so all week, in these new hiking shoes.  I have to break them in as fast as possible.  I feel so unlike myself.  I feel completely misrepresented by my shoes.

Moving forward (for the blog), I have found inspiration in the movie 180˚ South.  It is the story of a man's adventure to Patagonia, Chile.  The scenery is breathtaking, and the love for the great outdoors is contagious.  And that's just what I need.  My plan is to watch it nightly.

This quote was particularly encouraging:

"Im drawn to open country. It's where everything becomes clear, where the world makes the most sense. When I put myself out there, I always return with something new. A friend once told me: The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning, you didn't even think to ask."

As of today, I have come back to the commitment I made, and I will take on this backpacking trip.  I might cry.  I might fall.  I might hate every moment of it.  I might get killed by an animal.  But like my Mom reminded me, when it is your time, it's your sense in worrying about it.  Just see the beauty that is around me, as much as I can.  Because I might smile more than I cry.  I might feel strong and accomplished.  I might like a few moments.  And I just might live to tell you all about it.


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