I’ve been awake for about two weeks now. The previous five months were merely a dream.
You see, reality comes equipped with these little nuisances, we call “responsibilities”. In the dream, there was only one responsibility: “don’t die”.
Over the past five months I have stripped myself of excess. This not only refers to the physical comforts: a wardrobe, electronic entertainment on demand, artificial scents, food that expires, etc., but also all of the artificial bullshit that comes along with it. I wasn’t concerned with schedules – hell, over the last two months, I didn’t even have a watch. There was only day, night, and whatever shades that lie in between.
Today, I’m confronted with the task of re-integration. For anyone who hasn’t spent a half year removed from reality, you may have trouble empathizing with how difficult a task this really is. I’m not asking for your sympathy, I am fully aware how spoiled a lifestyle a long distance backpacker lives.
On a regular basis, I would come across a beautiful mountain overlook, waterfall, boulder field, etc. On a whim, I could stop, lie down, and soak in the day- and I often did. You sleep when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, relax when your lazy, and walk when you have energy. In the dream, you do as you please, when you please. The dream was awesome extract.
And now- I’m having difficulty taking part in anything that isn’t awesome extract. In the process of halfheartedly hunting jobs, I can’t help but come to the conclusion that, “this job is not awesome extract“. The diamond lining with this glaring contrast is that I’m more determined than ever to do something that is awesome extract. I am in the process of writing you fine folks (especially the aspiring thru-hikers) a book very worthy of your time (I suggest to “like” the GB Facebook page for updates, if you’re not already). I’m having a lot of fun doing it. Awesome extract.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve spent quality time with family and given my body the rest it so desperately needed in the process. Awesome extract. I will soon be embarking in a cross-country road trip, crashing on friends’ couches, visiting new places, catching up with familiar faces. Awesome extract.
But as it turns out, groceries and gasoline cost money. As a result, I have renewed one of the contracts that contributed to my technology overdose prior to the trail. Watered down awesome.
Also, going from 8-10 hours of exercise per day to less than 5 hours per week, leaves a former thru-hiker at a serious endorphin deficit. It sort of feels like locking a German Shephard in a refrigerator box. Watered down, Awesome-Lite.
But in all honesty, I am not surprised by the difficulty of the transition. It’s pretty common knowledge that there’s an adjustment period on the other side of Katahdin. I sensed it coming– which has helped to soften the landing. And for the last week or so, every day has started to get a little bit easier.
Now I make it my daily task to instill some of the learning lessons from the dream into my former reality- to construct a hybrid of the two.
Today, it’s a matter of refocusing the profound energy required to walk across the country in a new direction- figuratively, not literally (I now need to clarify this).
I am stuck on the idea that having dreams worth waking up for is the only reality that makes sense.