.. to paraphrase Leonardo Da Vinci (full quote: “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”).
So… *drumroll*… Yesterday I finished my planning – sort of – for the walk to Berlin. I’ve spent days poring over maps, routes, accommodations, prices, adjusting and re-adjusting. And well the long and the short of it is I have 20 accommodations booked through the month of September, and have inadvertently (because I needed to go where the accommodations were) added 40 km to my route (updated route to come).
This, by the way, means that I’ll be walking a total of 674 kms, averaging 27 km per day of walking. Yikes! Also, that’s almost exactly equal to 16 marathons.
Even though I’m only at 35% of my funding I’ve decided I can still do it, so I’m going to. I’m walking to motherforking Berlin, benches! My ass is going to be broke when I get there, but it’ll be worth it, right? And I already paid for my return train ticket.
So, I should be all giddy with excitement. The overwhelming feelings at the moment however are fear and anxiety. Sure, there’s some positive excitement mixed in there with the dread, but the dread definitely has the upper hand.
Things I’m afraid of (in no particular order):
- Getting lost (yes, this is bound to happen, probably more than once, but the idea of routinely adding an extra 5-10 km to the existing 30 or so is not appealing)
- Running out of water WHILE being lost
- It being the hottest/coldest/wettest September in history (in other words consistently having to deal with extreme weather)
- Being attacked/mugged
- Getting injured/having an accident (and being in the middle of nowhere with no phone coverage)
- My mum became severely allergic to wasps as an adult but was fine as a child. I’ve not been stung by a wasp since I was a child. What if I’m also severely allergic and get stung, in the middle of nowhere and my throat closes up? Or what if I’m deathly allergic to some other random substance I come into contact with when there’s no help to be found?
- I’m not an experienced hiker. Like, at all. What kind of problems might I run in to that I haven’t even considered (see, I’m also worried that I’m not worried enough – it’s a problem..)?
- 27 km per day is A LOT. I’m in decent shape, I work out consistently, but I do not routinely go for walks above say 13-14 kms. And my longest hike will be 37 km. Today I walked 20 (with 18 kg backpack) and am sore and limping a little.
- … which nicely brings me to my biggest fear, which is failing. Not just failing really, but failing spectacularly and early on. What if I do the first day (35 km, nice tough start..) and then simply cannot get out of bed for day 2? What if I’ve gone out there and said to a bunch of strangers (and friends, and family) that I’m going to walk to Berlin, and I actually only walk 5% of the way? I’ve gotten AT LEAST 26 people to believe in me, to fund me even, to do this thing, and I honestly don’t know if I can. Although crowdfunding is buying into an idea or a concept rather than the promise of a finished product, I definitely still feel a strong obligation to my backers, and feel like I’ll be letting them all down if I don’t complete the journey. And I’d be letting myself down too. I had in my mind’s eye this epic adventure, this amazing project that would get us all talking more and thinking more about how all bodies are good and all bodies can move. This project that would be an experience of a lifetime and that would somehow make up for all those times I wanted to go out in the world and do things, but didn’t dare. And instead it becomes another failure. That would make me embarrassed and incredibly sad.
….BUT the only thing that would make me sadder would be to not even try. So, I promise you this: whatever happens, and however afraid I get, I will give it my best shot.