Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A journey outward and inward

Apart from his genius for writing songs that make you think and hum, John Lennon was also a master of the pithy quote.  One of my favourites is "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."   It is unlikely that I could have foreseen the stuff that's happened in my life over the past year, but it is fair to say that life has certainly 'happened' to me.

I started this blog because I wanted to share my experiences in re-discovering the wild places and in moving out of my middle class comfort zone into a place where I could challenge myself. Where I could move beyond the usual.

For the most part I have gotten what I asked for - in spades! Walking the back country places - mostly alone - for up to a week at a time - in all seasons  - has given me ample opportunity to both challenge myself and to deep dive into the extraordinary, powerful solitude of the wilderness.  Walking the seldom-visited places has allowed me to tap into the spirit of adventure and to be a part of that group that loves a physical challenge whilst being immersed in the natural world at it's most primal.

What I didn't expect - what I didn't plan for - were the changes that the wilderness would bring to me in other ways.  Not changes in circumstance - outer changes - but rather internal changes. Changes in me.   The wild places, I have found, are like that - they change you.   Over time, my viewpoint started to shift.  As I would walk and walk and walk, through places of gob-smacking beauty, in utter solitude, my thoughts rambled, danced, dispersed, flew high and low and, ultimately, coalesced around new points of view.

Sometimes the ideas that emerged from these flights of thought were of the mundane variety - solving some niggly problem of the workaday world. But other times, new, disruptive ideas would appear.  Ideas that would challenge long held perspectives, assumptions, priorities and values.

I can honestly say, that the changes to my personal life since embarking on this journey into the wilderness have been fundamental. Not planned for, by any stretch, but they have happened and I now found myself embarking on an adventure of a different colour.  It's a very interesting adventure.  I am learning much from it and it's quite possible that others may also find something valuable - or even simply interesting - in these more introspective lessons.

So!  I will continue to tell you about the adventures I have in the remote places as well as the gear I have made and used.  After all, this is a blog that is primarily about hiking!   But moving forward I also want to share with you from time to time these other kinds of story - insights and perspectives from the inner journey that is accompanying the outer one.    My hope is that you will find both of these accounts of value.



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