May 28th, 2013
As many of you know, the Way of Saint James is my newest adventure, starting this September 1st 2013. I’ve just finished my last year of my Master’s Degree and it’s time I satisfy this Wanderlust of mine, which has returned since my journey living in Europe ended two years ago. I thought that after living abroad for over a year, I would be ready to come live in the States, like normal people do. Perhaps I’d even want my own house in some specific town. I guess not. My adventures in Europe somehow all seem so far away now. It looks like its going to me, and my big brother and I are going to embark on a great big adventure together across the Pyrenees to find ourselves, or our destinies, or perhaps just find out how well we really do get along. I’ve started a gear list and have been accumulating sale water-wicking gear and practical things since January when all the winter sales start. The 800+km hiking shoes are decided and bought.
My still brand new hiking backpack is sitting in the corner of my room, straps dangling over an old red travel chest, waiting for an adventure. I can see it while I sit on my bed, it’s the next thing within eyeshot after noticing my neon pink Cannondale bike rims, which have also been carrying me across some adventures lately. I suppose, if I am going to do an 800 some km hike across Europe, id better be pretty in shape.
I was just thinking today, it seems like it is going to be an epic summer here before my life as I’ve known it for the better part of the past 8 years changes. Apparently I’m not satisfied with familiarity, I have to be moving forward, there has to be change and forward motion. I’ve finished my degree, that was my forward motion, and now it has stopped. I can only imagine where my next adventures and travels will bring me in life. I certainly don’t know, what paths might I cross in Europe, and what opportunities might arise? This is going to be a great summer. I’m finally in a house that is comfortable, with modern amenities, is comfortable, and quiet, and that has a bathtub. I’m so comfortable; I don’t know what to do with myself. How can it all be so easy? I’ve slept on so many old beds, couches, floors, and in uncomfortable situations for so long it seems that I cannot just sit and enjoy a comfort. Before too long, it gets too comfortable, and I wonder how long it will be before I get bored again. Perhaps I am spoiled in my wanderlust and ability to leave comforts behind in search of new adventures. People think I’m silly, or crazy. Yet, it is something that doesn’t go away. The urge lingers, and until it is satiated it can be detrimental to the traveler, the person who feels most at home on the go. When stuck in one place, our brain ponders all the possibilities that lie ahead, it wonders… how much further could I have gone? It is not satiated, until it has reached the top of that mountain. I cannot simply gaze at the 14ers in Colorado every day without wanted to explore them. I cannot simply enjoy their beauty from afar without knowing their strengths, their weaknesses, or if I can traverse them. I need to caress their hills make peace with their magnificence. Perhaps it is the challenge for me, and I rarely back down from a challenge.
We are a rare breed of travelers who march face-first into challenges that are uncomfortable. We march into challenges that are difficult and strenuous, they are sometimes physically painful and they hold an final accomplishment that can only be reached through a struggle. Yet once that threshold of challenge is overcome, and I have overcome that split second when I think that I cannot do something and then I do, I am satisfied. That is the satisfaction of life, only fulfilled by constant challenges.
I cannot sit in stagnant water. I am the one who puts the ripples from a skipping rock across the water in a muggy pond. I ruffle the feathers of a content hen. It is these actions, these challenges that define a person’s character, for one never knows the true definition of his or her own character until it has been tested. And as the saying goes, in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving