The holiday season is among us, and while I am grateful to be with my family there are a couple of other things dominating space in my mind bank: I am right in the middle of two of the largest events to ever happen in my young adult life. One month ago, I self-published my first book and in one month I will be meeting up with fourteen other dedicated hiking enthusiasts to begin the journey of a lifetime. Caught between these two momentous milestones, I attempt to remain grounded as my wings start to shiver and shake in the breeze, anxious to begin the doubtlessly difficult act of beginning yet another demanding adventure.
I was not sure how my book would be received, nor was I sure if it was actually complete and ready to be published. With no publisher calling the shots, I was stuck with the incredible burden of moving this idea from the forefront of my mental lobe to a tangible piece of work bound in the fifteen-pound seven-ounce book baby you are now able to purchase, hold, read, under-analyze, over-analyze, and review. Like so many things in my life, this was new territory, but I particularly enjoy the challenge of figuring things out. It forces me to learn, adapt, and discover things I may have never been able to unearth before.
This book is my greatest creation. My favorite part has been sharing these words with you all and hearing your reactions through personal interactions, phone conversations, and Amazon reviews. The greatest gift I can receive is hearing what others enjoy, appreciate, and think about the story I have spilled out onto the page. I had an idea of who my audience would be, but like everything thus far, it was a cast into unsure waters. The feedback has been nothing short of surprisingly positive and I continue to step carefully across the rushing current of emotion threatening to sweep me away without further consideration.
Once I published this story, a part of me hoped the book would walk away on feet of its own, fully prepared to climb its own mountains, and ready to march through dry desolation to the next trickle of water. After a week, I realized my hope was just that. As I am the writer, editor, and designer, I also carry the mask of promoter, marketer and event manager. With the next adventure looming, I must do all I can to get this story out to as many people as possible while preparing to separate myself from the screens that allow me to be such an active liaison in the book’s prospects.
It has been almost a year since Sherlock initially asked me to join the team as an alternate. Back then, it was so far ahead in the future that I was able to spend the next eleven months preparing myself mentally, financially, physically, and professionally. The Great Western Loop will undoubtedly be a great challenge but at least I will be surrounded by other individuals who are also committing to this unique and foolish journey.
Back in November, seven of us were able to get together in Southern Utah and spend a week introducing ourselves while participating in our favorite activity. In a month, this group of seven will be reuniting while also meeting the other half of the team that was unconfirmed at the time. I look forward to seeing these new friends and meeting the other individuals who have decided to commit to the extraordinary.
After spending so much time detailing and revisiting my prior long-distance hike over the past year, I have had little brain space to entertain much else. Wrapped up in my own memories, the idea of another, even longer hike consumed me. As we get closer to our meet-up date, I find myself thinking more about what to pack, what to leave behind, and how to subsist. Yet again, I prepare for another adventure of a lifetime, undeniably grateful at the opportunities that continue to be presented.
The evolution of the hiker is still being observed and this trip will help shine a light on our psyche, motivation, and desire. Words will be written; photos will be taken, and video will be edited. Records of this hike will be kept in our minds, memories, hard drives, and clouds, only to be shared at the appropriate times.
- Knots (Brian Cornell)