Thursday, January 26, 2017

Why, oh why?

Since going 'public' about my upcoming meander down Oregon's lovely coast, I've received a few different sorts of responses.  Quite a few of the "that's awesome! I wish I had the time do that.  It's something I've always wanted to try." sort.  Some of the "oh, I couldn't do that because of (insert ailment here)."  But the ones that catch me most off guard (and prompted this post) are the people that simply ask "why?"

Good question.

At first I didn't truly know.  Other than falling into the 'it's something I always wanted to try' camp, I didn't readily have a good answer.  Maybe that's enough of a reason... but I knew it was more than that.  The other obvious reasons I had were because the coast is gorgeous, because I would love to have a long-term opportunity to photograph the area, and because the potential health benefits of walking that far could certainly be a plus.

I've developed a fascination for thru-hiking - by reading of others who have done it.  I think I want to tackle the long trails, but feel it's better to get my feet wet in something less intense just to see if I *like* hiking like this.  I don't want to get out on one of the long trails only to find that after a week or two, it's not something I'm going to be willing to continue for weeks and maybe months on end.

I do want the challenge - both physical and mental.  I appreciate what it does for me, and the unexpected things I get back from pushing myself out of my comfort zone.  It worked well for me during the summers that I spent weeks at a time in work-trade programs - putting myself in a far off land, with people I didn't know.  Regardless of what I felt about the experience itself, I always had a new perspective on life afterwards.  It's this I love.

I also look at my potential future.  Unsure as we all are about where we'll be in a few years or longer, I only have to look within my immediate family.  My father suffers acute Rheumatoid Arthritis.  He progressed from zero to physically disabled in under 2 years.  He is still somewhat mobile, as much as possible with his pain and joint deformities.  He keeps upbeat about his situation, but wishes he was able to get out and do more.  I don't blame him in the least.  His regression has been difficult to watch... and I can't help but think about whether or not that's the direction I'm also going.  I've already inherited the knee problems, so who knows?  And the jury is still out on whether RA is hereditary - so there's always that lurking in the shadows.

Given Dad's situation, I decided a few years ago to get out and do as much with life as I am able. While it's possible. Before I'm in a potential situation where I can't do anything.  I'm thankful for Aaron's stance on these trips - he's my cheerleader, and I'm so appreciative.  I have completed some work-trade volunteer opportunities, which were amazing.  I'd like to go back and do that again.  And although it's not easy anymore, I still head to dance classes 1-2 days each week... because I'm still in love with it.  And I do like hiking - I've only done day and overnight hikes to date.  I feel like there's no better time than the present to head out for a taste of something grander.

This is my WHY.

My daydream... my 'someday.'