What I Most Need to Do

What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am neither a hiker nor someone who makes snap decisions. Usually.

But I did something Sunday that was completely out of character for me and it truly felt like the most exactly right thing to do:

I decided to do the Salkantay Trek in March 2020. I literally bought the trip on Sunday. Easter Sunday. I decided it was time for some new air, new life. Going with the resurrection flow, really.

How did I come to this?

Serendipity is odd. It strikes when you’re least expecting it and, if you’re anything of a control freak like me, you’re unnerved by it. I’ve never thought of it this way before but I think Serendipity is your soul conversing with the universe in its shared language. So the answer to the question is that pieces of this have been coming together for a long, long time.

The Incas are were awesome.

I’ve been having a constant dialogue with myself about ancient civilizations for a long time. I’m absolutely fascinated with the facts of their rise, their incredible trajectories, but most especially, their downfalls. I’d love to know (as would whole swaths of academia) what those exact elements were (okay, fine, Spain, sure…that was a biggie), in combination, that led to the downfall of these uber-sophisticated, learned civilizations.

Said more plainly: I’ve been hankering to go somewhere that reminds me that our civilization today is not as smart as we think we are. Where better to do that than an elaborate series of settlements literally built in to some of the most mountainous regions of the world?

Also under this heading: I’ve been hankering to head down to South America for…quite a while. The people there seem…better in a lot of ways. Of course, that’s…what’s the opposite of xenophobic? Google tells me it’s xenophilic which is the love and affection of foreign people and objects. That works. I need some culture other than that of these lower 48 right now.

I Need Some Air

Literally, physically, spiritually, mentally. I’ve lived in Chicago for almost 15 years with very few travels interspersed and the city starts to close in. I’ve been losing myself in Youtube videos of people hiking the Appalachian and Pacific Coast trails. I’ve been feeling like I just want to walk for awhile. So why not make that even better by walking straight up…stairs…for what I’m told is days?

I Need Some Motivation

Working out has started feeling pointless. No matter how hard I work, something is missing. Some of my greatest accomplishments I’ve reached because I’ve set my sights high. Funny that I have always used the mountain metaphor to describe those things. I need a physical challenge that will give some point to all of this training and diet tracking. AND, it’s something to look forward to. I’ve been searching for an epic goal for awhile. This felt like a really good one.

I Need Some Adventure

I’m starting to feel life passing me by. I’m not sure when that started happening. I’m not sure that I’ve calibrated my measuring stick correctly but what I know is that I’ve tried so many different things and never seem to feel any better, freer, more connected, more engaged. I think I’ve lost that flicker…maybe a long time ago. This feels like a jolt of the right magnitude…I fear a lot of what this is going to take in a lot of ways–physically, mentally, financially, and from a place of commitment.

The Time is Right.

That’s the one thing I’m sure about. As I was sitting there, contemplating sending that payment, I knew there was really no backing out of this thing. And it was a choice I was going to make myself and with no one else really involved. I love that little voice of mine that comes around in those moments and very surely says, “This is right. Do it.” I’ve heard that voice before but what I appreciate about it is not its rightness but its sureness. In one second, it helped me sort out whose voices would resonate and whose would just seed worry. I took quick stock.

Payment sent.

Of course, I’m going to keep track of all of this because it’s going to be nothing short of entertaining for us all, I think. I have a real aversion to stairs; I live just about at sea level; I’ve never hiked one minute in my life; this is truly going to be a fitness journey in every sense of that term. There’s going to be a lot going on.

And for the first time in a very long time, I’m genuinely looking forward to something as more than a day or project or email…just to get through.

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