Thursday, June 9, 2016

Going East of Eden

"All great and precious things are lonely" - Steinbeck, East of Eden

... Tomorrow, I leave on an epic adventure.

There are a handful of things that I feel anxious about on the eve of this adventure. I haven't really camped by myself before. And I haven't really camped for more than a weekend. And I haven't really camped without reservations, without a solid plan. And yet here I am, about to drive off to Glacier National Park, by myself, for a full week. I'll camp on the way out and the way back, and generally be on the road for the next twelve days. Which I've also never done before.

To be fair, I didn't plan for it to go this way. Since this is my big Year of Thirty, I thought an epic trip to Glacier National Park would be a great way to celebrate three decades. In the past couple of years, I've taken to traveling on my birthday weekend with friends, going on little trips here and there that force exploration of nearby places. And why not go big when you're turning thirty? So I pushed the date back for snow-free potential and invited everyone I thought would want to join. I picked solid dates, made solid plans, and was hopeful. This would be my big adventure full of games and friends and beauty.

But life got in the way, which is apt to happen when you must wear the mantle of adulthood. One by one between new jobs and new babies and new houses and obligations, I found myself facing this epic celebratory adventure alone. I didn't expect everyone to come, but I also didn't expect to be alone. I only halfheartedly planned for the possibility, when I probably should have been more serious about it.

And yet, that seems to be life, and this is just the next adventure and challenge. I've grown in my ability to adventure, from camping now and again with friends in college, to moving across the country to unknown places, taking trips throughout the Midwest, and now attempting to relish adventuring to the unknown for the hashtag-yearofthirty. Why wouldn't I do this alone, on top of all the other uncertain, unplanned, and unexpected things this year has contained? As friends develop relationships and families and we all settle into adulthood, I've got to learn again to make my way, to continue to embrace adventure even if I'm the only one going. I've done this before, I'll do it again, and I'll leave for it tomorrow. It's just that this time, it looks different.

And so it's okay. It must be okay, and it will be okay. I allowed myself the disappointment so that I can take up the challenge. No better way to learn than to go. To do. To jump in, all in, and embrace whatever comes. I don't have everything planned except what needs to be known (though I have purchased and packed everything I think I could possibly need because you can't completely shake out the Christy). I'm an open book for an epic solo adventure in a beautiful place that is only just the beginning.

As long as a bear doesn't eat me first. I'll let you know.

One exciting purchase: freeze-dried food kit. I am so excited about this because I get to make my own meals! It even has leek flakes!