When I was a little girl growing up in a suburb of Denver, Colo., I saw a man named Brian O’Malley speak about his journey to Nepal to conquer Everest. I don’t remember too many specific details about his speech, but I do know I walked away inspired and wanting to one day climb Everest.
Around that same time—some point during elementary school—I remember a husband and wife team who came in to speak to our school about their bike travels around the world. The woman had a camera—or maybe they both did—either way, they used it to make money seeing the most remote parts of the world and getting to know its people.
I remember asking how they got across the ocean on bikes. They took their bikes on boats, they said, and trained on them every day. I remember the image in my mind of two bikes endlessly circling a wooden boat deck, rain or shine.
I might not remember all the details as if it were yesterday, but I know one thing: these stories resonated with the depths of me. I wanted to climb the highest peaks. I wanted to go the longest distances.
To this day, a part of me still clings to the crazy idea that maybe I will one day climb Everest.
Today I started making a list of equipment I would need for mountaineering based off information from REI and Timberline Mountain Guides. I’m making an Excel spreadsheet of all I need to do to get there (and when I say there, I don’t know if it’s to the top of Everest or just to the end of the first Alpine ice climb where I decide that, hell no, this cold shit isn’t for me).
Still, I hold tight to the dream that one day I’ll embrace my inner Forrest Gump and end up hopping on a bike and cycling across the country. Only in my fantasy, I get to the East Coast and decide I haven’t gone far enough and become those two adventurers who spoke to my heart as a child.
Tonight, I find myself mostly wondering why (aside from money) it gets so hard for we adults to decide—as children so often do—that we can do anything. And I wonder what it is that keeps me on the couch I bought for a Benjamin rather than simply hitting the road.
Featured image courtesy of b1st Wang, Flickr Creative Commons