Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Tentacles of the "Other World"

Baltimore Jack was once asked what he did in the "Real World" and his answer was, "I Hike".  For him (and for me, too) the Trail (no matter which one it is) is my "Real World"  I have started referring to that world of cities and concrete and highways as the "Other World".  I hike in the "Real World" and when I'm not hiking and I get pulled back to that world of cities and concrete and highways, I'm pulled back to the "Other World" (OW).

Now that we have that terminology covered, I'm here to talk about that shady huge octopus that has at least a dozen tentacles that are continuously waving back and forth, searching for a part of me to grab and pull me back to the Other World.  There are so many things that can do that and when you are on a long distance hike, those tentacles are everywhere.  

Just off of the top of my head I can think of things that will demand our return to the OW.  First there would be the family emergency.  Both Lisa's and my Fathers aren't getting any younger, so, (god forbid) something happens, we will be coming back.

Then there are the major household casualties/emergencies.  Something major breaks that Brandi (Home Base) can't handle and we will have to come back to take care of it.  In the last few months, we have replaced our hot water heater, washer and dryer, so we are hoping that the rest of our major appliances will last the six months we plan on being away, but you can never be completely prepared.  

I am diligently trying to teach Ms Home Base all the little things that she will need to be able to handle as the head of the household, but when I start to make a mental list, it grows to outlandish lengths.  I will need to start writing stuff down.  Bills that need the old fashioned check and snail mail payment, grass cutting, dog and cat care, grocery shopping, dish washing, laundry, trash day, etc.  I get a little anxious just thinking about it.  

I don't know if our life in the OW will ever settle down enough to enable us to spend time in the RW tentacle free.  As long as we have people and things that can possibly draw us back, the potential will be there.  We aren't selling the house or getting rid or our cars or anything major like that.  We will have to maintain our life there, even while we have left it for a time.  

I'm guilty of letting the OW suck me back in.  When I retired, Lisa and I headed down to Georgia to hike for three weeks from Amicalola to Fontana, but when Lisa twisted her ankle as we were coming down off of Springer, I immediately gave up the plan.  I decided that I didn't want my bride limping through Georgia in pain.  I decided to get us back to our truck and then go from there.  I know now that that was a major fail on my part.  First of all, I really didn't ask Lisa if that was what she wanted to do.  I fell into the "protect my baby" mode and just wanted to make it ok for her, giving up on the plan to hike around 175 miles.  What we should have done was rest for a couple days at a Hostel and then decide what to do.  There was no hurry.  I regret that I did that.  My baby is a lot tougher than I give her credit for.  A lot tougher.  So lesson learned and score 1 for the tentacle.  

My Ultimate Goal for this hike is to become an Outsider and have an Adventure.  Completing a Thru Hike is a secondary goal.  If it happens, fine, but I'm not going to obsess about it (too much).  The Journey is the Destination.  As I said before, getting to Katahdin will not be the end of my hiking.  Just another memorable mile post along the way.  I will hike until I can no longer walk.  

So have at it tentacles.  I will avoid you if I can, but I like to think I'm flexible enough to be able to be pulled back for a  time and then to return to the Real World, when I can and hiking on.

Peace,
EarthTone
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