People seem to think that repetition and tedium can really wear a person down. I had always thought that I was invulnerable to the erosive effects of tedium on the human spirit, or I at least thought I had conditioned myself to endure them indefinitely. Growing up, I spent most of my time playing video games. I immersed myself in the creative and impossible worlds of Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, Phantasy Star Online, and Halo.
For many years, I found this lifestyle fulfilling. I can still remember the sense of urgency I always had to get home from school and start playing a game where I was about to fight a boss or beat the game. I didn’t spend much time outside, I didn’t throw myself into sports, and I was generally uninterested by academia. Sometime in college, shortly after I played Skyrim, which will possibly remain one of the last games I will ever really play in depth, I found that video games could no longer hold my attention.
A good friend of mine named Collin introduced me to climbing and mountain biking, the latter of which lead to my first ever concussion, but that’s a story for another time. I had been climbing at birthday parties before, but I had never had a stable climbing partner, and it was amazing to have someone to challenge me. Our skills progressed quickly and we became engrossed in bouldering as we worked our way up through the grades. Around this time I was also working and attending school all simultaneously, so I really couldn’t find a lot of time for video games. As I slowly became more of an outdoorsy person, I started to become more and more dissatisfied with the life I had been living. The repetition in my job really started to wear on me, and I came to the realization that material wealth held no happiness for me personally. I sold most of my gadgets, and consolidated my possessions. I drive a 2007 Honda Civic Si Coupe, and I can currently fit everything I own in it.
I was feeling rather lost, and didn’t know what direction I wanted my life to go in. My eureka moment came when I went with Dimitri (this blog’s co-writer) to a National Geographic Live event in DC. Mark Synnott, Alex Honnold, and Jimmy Chin were in town to talk about their recent trip to Oman, and their lecture was absolutely inspiring. Their whole onstage presence was so fun and relaxed, that you felt like you were there for all the inside jokes. They brought you into their experience, and once I got that taste, I wanted more. I have included a video of the whole talk below.
After this talk, Dimitri and I were letting our dreams run rampant in our minds. We discussed the all too real possibility of living that life, and from that day on, the temptation of executing that dream grew within me like a flame put to kindling.
That spark was ignited last fall, and over the course of 2014 we have planned and committed to this odyssey. We will be living in a 2004 Honda Odyssey that has been outfitted with a sleeping cargo platform (build details in the next blog post), and we will be traveling across North America with the intention of climbing as much as possible. To put it succinctly, I plan to make every day the best it can be by living life the the fullest, and always endeavoring to improve the lives of those around me. I intend to do this by sharing my experiences with others, improving our environment via climbing related service projects, and being a veritable force of positivity and hope for humanity’s future to everyone I meet. Those methods are not exhaustive, but I could write for far too long about how I’d like to improve the current state of humanity through my actions alone.
The current tentative plan, is to climb the major east coast meccas, then work our way down to Texas, then finally to the west coast. Below is a map containing all the climbing spots, cities, and national landmarks I have gathered so far. Let me know if you have any feedback!