We’re in Butte, on a day off, heading out Monday am, about 400 miles and a little over 4 weeks into our hike. Overall, it’s been great, although there were some sections during this last stretch, with a lot of road walking and cows and very little scenery where I had to keep reminding myself that, like life, the trail has parts that you simply endure to experience the rest of the good stuff.
I miss the social aspects of the SMG. But, in some ways, I have apreciated the break from the weekly meetings. Although, it’s not all “freedom” – the time on the trail brings a LOT of introspection. Not many answers, but the questions get deeper and some occassional insights flash into mind.
In response to another man’s question about finding the path to doing what they really want to do, I wrote about the following experiences I have had, and think it will be of general interest to share it here:
I have long recognized and appreciated how difficult it is to do what we really want to do. I had several epiphanies in the early 1990s and made some choices to do what I wanted – my first long hike. It meant making some sacrifices and it meant taking some risks. Doing it was liberating though, and it became easier after that first leap to do so again. I’ve encouraged others through the years to make such personal leaps of faith and go about doing whatever it is that they truly want. At the last corporate job I had, I preached “anarchy” to all new hires and interns, suggesting they all quit before they got trapped into careers. I diddn’t hide this – I told my bosses exactly what I was doing, and yet they let me keep on training. Probably feeling safe that few would listen.
One of the things I have found is that most people do not know what they truly want. They are either afraid to dream, or are afraid to admit to whatever their dream is. I guess because it’s often easier, in the short term, to supress or deny a dream than to pursue it. Of course, later on regret can be more demonic than the sacrifice needed to achieve a dream.
I’m more scared of potential regret, so I try to pursue my own dreams. I have to, or can’t quite live with myself.
So, that’s where I am, willing to endure the hardhships and compromises, to be able to do what I want to do, walk 1,300 miles this summer. And maybe, tonight, to go sit in the hotel’s hot tub and drink the beer I have been dreaming abot for the last five days!
Phil, Compassionate Coyote, Hough