Dark November

I swear it’s the moon. Not quite full, but still I don’t feel quite right. Interestingly enough, I had the same thing going on this same week some two years ago. “Quite out of sorts” I wrote. After a couple of very contemplative updates…I feel like doing a brain dump.
That’s your cue to stop reading. After all, what could I possibly have to say about the questions on my mind that will make any difference in your life? My mom thinks I could make it in travel writing, but I think I’ve gotta find something more interesting to write about than what I’m gonna do with myself. But if you insist…I’m going to rehash all the same things that I write about every so often on this little corner of the web.

So here’s what’s on my mind: I’m leaving in two months for perhaps the greatest expedition I will ever undertake, but obviously I feel a bit torn about it. After all, I’m leaving my friends, my family, and my life here in Pittsburgh to go get killed in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. I’m super excited. Trekking and paddling for three months in Patagonia is sure to be one of the most interesting experiences I’ll ever have, and after that I will be able to be comfortable anywhere. The mountaineering in Peru will be icing on the cake….first shot at high snow peaks and hopefully a base for many many shorter mountaineering expeditions to come.
I know that this trip is good. Still I am wrestling with the implications. I guess the biggest thing that bothers me is being away….really away. In the past I’ve been able to keep in touch via phone and email….down there I’m not going to have any contact with the outside world for the first three months.
I guess that’s not so bad…I’ve picked up with old friends after longer than that with no better reason for not talking than being busy. Maybe it’s that I’m afraid this is not the last one. That I won’t be satisfied after eight months of playtime overseas. That I won’t be able to bring myself to settle down into a more normal life…
Who wants normal anyhow? I am plotting and planning for after this trip….and big words like LAW SCHOOL and REAL JOB and INSURANCE and such are flying about. I feel like I’m making decisions based on what feels right now, with no idea whether I am actually doing what I should be or not. Law school….is that just an excuse to come back to Pittsburgh, to not be that guy who works full time in a climbing store, to still be here and be with the people I’ve lived with for the past three years? What on earth am I gonna do with a law degree?!? Make money, make my parents happy, have a shot at the normal life my relatives all wish I would fall into. It would come with relative peace of mind, in that I could make enough to support myself and a family without even trying.
I am pretty sure it’s not what I want right now. Not that right now has any meaning….heck if it were up to me I might just totally skip out on school and paddle for the next few days. Wouldn’t do me much good in the long run though.
Paramedic school sounds interesting. Too late to track myself towards medicine, but I can get involved in the emergency side of the field. I would love to be a WFR instructor. And with that experience I would probably make a considerably more interesting Peace Corps applicant, should that come my way someday. The application on the floor by my bed attests to that plan…but it’s not for next year. I can’t do it now. I think the Peace Corps is something I would like to do farther down the road, maybe after getting married (should that chance ever befall me).
Mike Carter said to me once, as we sat around a campfire:
“No regrets, no complaints.”
What a wise way to live.
Face it Phil…you are twenty-one years old and don’t really need to make these decisions now. Go to Chie, hike around, chew the coca leaf in Peru and have some crazy vision about the future and act on it. Figure it all out as it comes, and keep your options open. You know how well things have always worked out in the past…why doubt good fortune?
Enough already. You’re bored and I may be able to do some schoolwork before other distractions find their way onto my computer screen.

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