I remember like it was yesterday: 6:30am commute to the office in bright daylight, nothing but a shirt, a tie, and my $15 dollar backpack bought off some shop in SE Asia with a hanging rock helmet. Yes, it was summer time, and yes, it was rock rage-wednesdays!
Those days are gone. The summer has sadly ended, and along with the cooler air and the opportunity to proudly wear my Brazilian touque, I have been hit by alarming conclusions.
Such conclusions came after analyzing some of my choices over the past 18 months. As I struggled with an incredible fear of insecurity, homesickness, and the realization that I know less than nothing, a good friend told me at the beginning of the summer that I was different, that a switch had turned in me – leaving my with nothing but a desire to explore, try, and fail miserably.
I’ve always liked to do “stuff”, and perhaps that’s why I came to Canada by myself in the middle of winter back when I was 17. I never really understood mountain sports, never been exposed to snow, and never really been interested in anything that involved being outside. I remember growing up in Sao Paulo, my parents would take me to a cottage every weekend, and I complained, and complained. I simply did not want to be there. Growing up in such concrete jungle makes it quite hard to explain why now, at 24, I choose to spend my weekends in the backcountry – cold, exhausted, and wishing I was in better shape.
It all started with that summit fever I believe we all get, I wanted to get out there and scramble whatever I could get into – ignorantly ignoring all hazards and trying to become “that cool guy on Facebook”. But the fever eventually stopped, and I found myself going after experiences rather than summits.
Looking back over the past 12 months, I now find myself surrounded by a network of nothing but highly accomplished individuals in various fields: from inspiring mountaineers, to world-bike-touring enthusiasts. It turns out that I’m highly influenced by others escaping the ultimate enemy: routine.
Escaping routine is different for every person, and for me, it comes in the form of heading into the absolutely controlled unknown. When I’m on a trip, either on my bike, or in the backcountry, I feel a sense of accomplishment that is really hard to explain. It comes down to the ultimate question of “why?”. And the answer is rather simple: because I can.
Someday I’m going to have to slowdown, and really try to come up with new experiences that will fit my broken body, but I can assure you, that such adventures will consist of nothing but that same feeling of accomplishment I felt when I woke up at 3am for my first alpine experience.
As I plan my first self-supported bike touring trip in Mexico, I fear. I fear that the hot Mexican desert will not forgive my selfishness and desire to feel accomplished. But I will go, I must go.
This personal note have been inspired by Phil’s “Getting Old” article.