The hardest part of any adventure is the first step.
I can’t tell you how many times I have planned a climb or hike, done meticulous research about what to expect on the trail, and bought and poured over maps in preparation. But then when I get to the trailhead and throw my pack on, I have no idea where the trail actually begins. Once I am on the trail it is clear sailing, but the first step is the most confusing and difficult. But it is that way with not only a hike, but most new things.
At the end of October, I quit my well paying and comfortable job as an Army Captain to live out of my van while I trail run/mountain climb/ski/rock climb/general adventure all over the American West. I’ll admit, this is an incredibly scary thing to do. I had been wrestling with the decision for over a year, but finally decided this past spring to make the leap. Ever since the decision was made, I’ve had moments of “what am I doing with my life” freakouts. Looking around and seeing all my successful friends and peers, I was continuously stressing out if I was making the right choice. What would I do for money? Would I even enjoy it? Would I lose my momentum and fall flat on my face? What career do I want to end up in? All summer and fall, these questions nagged at me as my “out” date loomed closer and closer. I am not proud to admit I have had more than a few moments of panic, and have to thank a lot of my friends for putting up with me.
As of two weeks ago though, I finally got OUT THE DOOR. The stress only increased as the moment crept closer, but as soon as I got on the road with my van, all the stress and worry has taken a back seat. Of course, there are other stressors
now, like my van constantly breaking down, but that is what it is. The questions still need to be answered, but you have to discover them, not wait to jump until they’re all answered. I am not just going laze fair towards my trip. It is with a specific plan to develop my outdoor skills, gain accreditations through guiding and medical courses, investigate different parts of the west, with the end goal of deciding where I would enjoy living and what profession to pick up there.
In any facet of your life, I urge you to figure out what something is that you have always been wanting to do or get into, and DO IT. Taking the plunge is scary, I’ll admit it. But once you’re in it, I guarantee you won’t regret it. I’ve seen too many people go through life letting the flow take them, instead of working to get where they actually want to be. There will be of course hiccups and low spots along the course, but they happen and you have to work your way through it. You can come up with every reason in the book NOT to do something, but they’re usually just all excuses. There were so many reasons why I should have stayed in the Army. I could have progressed quite well, done a lot of cool things, traveled to exotic locations, and made a bunch of money. But you have to do what is going to make you happy in the end. It doesn’t matter if it is quitting your job to travel, moving to a different city, starting a new hobby, or even getting off the couch to go for a run today, DO IT.