This is it, I’m off! No exaggeration: I’ve been “planning” whatever this is gonna be for over two years. Now that I’m confronted with the reality of this trip, there’s nothing more to do other than relax, be patient and hold on for the ride. The next nine weeks hold many great stories yet to be told…encounters with Soviet vans, nomads, dinosaurs, Ramadan, hunger, exhaustion, and joy all set to the dynamic tempo of the natural world.
Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion…I go to them as humans go to worship. From their lofty summits I view my past, dream of the future and, with an unusual acuity, am allowed to experience the present moment…my vision cleared, my strength renewed. In the mountains I celebrate creation. On each journey I am reborn. -Anatoli Boukreev
It’s funny…I feel like I have been exploring my whole life, but now that the mountains are bigger and the countries are harder to pronounce, I’m fielding a whole new set of questions. Namely, things along the lines of “Isn’t this dangerous?” and “Wait, why?” On some level, the more I probe, the more these questions remain. I’ve always been drawn to the big. Mountains are both great metaphors and great physical monstrosities. The possibilities with objectives of this size are simply limitless. And there’s no better way to understand the scale of nature and earth processes than by interacting directly with them.
I like to be overpowered by nature. It’s not that I like high winds, extreme cold or light nausea. Ceding control to an environment we can only briefly visit is simply a remarkable experience. So far, I’ve found it incredibly rewarding to leave our world and go somewhere governed by a completely different set of rules. It’s also not that the rest of my life is lacking. In fact, I miss the simple things greatly and appreciate them more than ever when I return to thick air, warm temperatures, good food, my research and loving family and friends. What would be the point if they didn’t exist? Sure, I could probably do this in a more controlled fashion, say through meditation or music, but maybe my style is just to chuck myself in there with no escape valve for a while. In short, I’ll be alive.
Have a great summer! I’ll check in soon,