“What the hell have I gotten myself into?!?!?!” Ah, my favorite eight little words + 6 question marks and exclamation points that are an integral part of any adventure. For we all know, it is not an adventure until something goes wrong.
M. Bordaux, the author of the blog Thru Hiker 2013, wrote just days before he was to take his first step of all 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail over the course of 6 months, ”That’s when my brain decided to let it sink in that I was actually doing this. And as I’m being honest here, for that moment as the plane took off my thoughts were not “wahoo this is it I’m finally doing it I’m on my way.” No! My thought at that moment when it sunk in that I had just left all my loved ones and my most loved one my amazing wife for six months was ‘Oh Fuck, what the hell have I got myself into’!”
“WHAT THE HELL HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?”
This self-imposed question should be asked as much as possible in our lives. It means that we’re taking a risk and we’ve opened up the opportunity to truly screw up, fall flat on our faces, and simply stated, to fail.
Every adventure should have this moment. Surely, on a 6 month adventure, there will be moments of high and low. Moments in which there is no other place he’d rather be, and moments when he wishes more than anything to be anywhere but there. And as I ponder the experience that awaits him over the next 6 months, I can’t help but think about some of my own “What the hell have I gotten myself into” moments and what they’ve taught me.
30 Mile, 12 Hour Skate Trek from Boulder to Denver, CO
- At 3PM, I called my mom and said to her, “This sucks. My feet are killing me. The skyline of Denver looks like a dot. It’s hot as hell. There is no way I’m going to get there before sunset.” At that point, I thought I was pretty freaking stupid for deciding I’d skateboard between Boulder and Denver. I wanted to give up.
- At 8PM, I skated into my destination in the center of downtown Denver. 8 PM on October 12th was one of the happiest, most rewarding, most freeing moments of my life. I had done it. I had gotten myself through what I’d gotten myself into. Sure, my body was tired, but my mind was more awake and aware than I can describe. I felt so present in that moment – I go back to it all the time.
50 Mile, 48 Walk Along the Atlantic Ocean
- At 7AM, I began my walk as the sun was rising and the first beach goers were setting out their lounge chairs. By the time 9AM had rolled around, I’d unloaded my pack, and I was already a bit bored. By the time 1PM rolled around, the Florida sun was burning me to a crisp and there was no escaping it. I thought to myself, “So this is what it must be like to cross the Sahara by foot. Everything looks the same, the sun surrounding you with no escape, and your destination seems infinite from where you stare into the horizon.” I had a day and a half left of this. What the hell had I gotten myself into, I thought?
- At 6PM the next day, I arrived back at the very spot I started at. My shoulders were bruised from my heavy pack, my feet in pain to the point where I thought I’d seriously injured myself, and my skin 5 shades darker. My friend met me on the beach and handed me a beer and asked me how it went. I smiled and said I’ve never loved and hated the beach so much. I can’t wait to do it again.
Why do we do these things?
Why do we put ourselves through these challenges?
There is nothing more rewarding than standing on the top of a 14er’s summit after waking up at 4AM to hike up to the top, just so you can see the life-changing view that reminds us just how small we are, just how beautiful and vast this planet we live on is, and just how capable of overcoming a challenge we can be.
There is nothing more rewarding than surfing your first overhead break that time and time again before sent you crashing back into the shore as the other surfers watched you tumble. Now, you and the ocean understand each other – and there’s no other feeling like it.
There is nothing more rewarding than crossing the finish line at the marathon you trained 2 months for; running every single day, ditching hangout sessions with friends so you can keep up with your training schedule, and literally feeling like you’re killing your body in the process.
So my advice for you today – get yourself out on an adventure that you’re scared you won’t be able to get yourself out of. Hike from sunrise to sunset without stopping, kayak the circumference of an island, skateboard between two cities! Think about M. Bordaux and the 6 month journey he’s committed himself too. It’s a grand adventure that he’s on, and that’s exactly how life should be lived.
FOR THE COMMENTS: What has been one of your most memorable “What the hell have I gotten myself into” moments?
(I read and reply to every content here on OMM. Hearing your stories is the most rewarding part of sharing my own!)
Image Credit: Seed