I dropped the kids off at school, drove back home, parked the car in the garage and opened the door, ready to get out of the old vehicle. But instead of stepping out of that piece of almost-fallen-apart metal, I sat in it for a couple minutes, contemplating how much damage it would do to my position if I just closed the door and drove to Yosemite – damn all my other responsibilities in this “normal” world.
Well, strictly speaking, it would do a LOT of damage – I’d probably lose my visa in the end and would get kicked out of the US.
But at the same time,… c’mon, Yosemite! No, no, you have responsibilities here. But… but… Yosemite! Okay, okay, just calm down.
And then, boom, an advertisement for a new website or an app that helps find dispersed camping locations.
That’s it, I gotta go.
No, you can’t.
And so I didn’t. Instead, I’m turning back to my work.
But what is it? What is this force that pulls me – and thousands of others – out of the door and into the wild? What is the thing that makes us want to sleep on the ground in the dirt and cold, cook on a one-burner stove or survive off cold wet oats when we run out of fuel, and poop in a bag?
Dear… you, you who are reading this – I wish I knew. I wish I knew what it is, that wanting, that desire, that existential need to put ourselves in places and situations many other people would consider totally nuts.
We might be running away from something or running towards something, we might have a wilderness deficiency syndrome that shows itself in waves of depression when we’re put in the “normal” environment of everybody else’s “normal” life. We might need the mountains, rivers, and canyons to survive, or we might just be plainly crazy. You make the call.
But the truth is; out there, that is where we’re happy. Who needs an expensive spa, which you can comfortably drive yourself to, with hot water and massages when you can walk miles and miles to get to a swimming hole with freezing-cold water and rocks which you’ll bang your back against after you slip? Oh… every “normal” person. Okay, I hear you.
Well, let’s then say that we’re not “normal”. But let’s also admit that that’s what makes us happy.
Have a good day, you.
And don’t forget to do something totally out of the norm for you. Just don’t sue me if you break a leg after slipping on those wet rocks.