Just when I thought I was stretched to the limits both physically, mentally and financially, the world threw in one final challenge… It changed the one thing I took for-granted… That except for some freak of nature, the rally wouldn’t get off it’s feet – that by some act of God or Men, it just wouldn’t start…
I even thought about it as I was negotiating production insurance which a week before I left for the rally, became a requirement with ASO for me to film the event – I decided to ‘cheap out’ and not over-inflate my already in the red budget and just take care of the necessities. 2 million liability, death and dismemberment insurance (so my parents wouldn’t be looking at a huge debt in my wake) and replacement on any gear damaged or stolen (which was 12 hours away from becoming very handy with the lost luggage episode days before the Dakar Start – or should I lovingly say… non-start.)
So – here lies the rub…
I have spent the week in Chamonix, the French Ski resort – under the graces of a host that felt pity one one lost and confused Canadian Film Girl. That in combination with my mom’s email last night, the wisdom of Mountain Guiding and Life were woven together in a life lesson. That age ol’ question, “when is enough, enough?”
Is it time to just throw in the towel?
Or get that bleeding cut mending up and get back in the ring for one more round?
One thing is true – we never would know what would have happened if we decided NOT to go for one more round – wether we would win – or suffer the ultimate defeat… We would know that we looked at the cards and were either happy with the journey to that point and fold, or fold under the pressure, way in over our head and sacrifice the bets waged and pull out before the whole bag of coins are completely lost.
Problem is… I think in some way, I am an addict. A bit of a junkie. I really don’t always know when to quit. When am I creating more of a problem than a solution – or even if there ARE any more coins left to bet. But my thinking or instinct – lies in how I live life – or attempt to live life…
When a guide takes off on the glacier for a ski trek – with or without a client for the day – one thing is for certain – he must make it out at the end of the day or face death. With the conditions changing and the natural challenges and obstacles that are part of this extreme lifestyle and career – regardless of what comes up, he must push through and get back home – hopefully with all limbs and members of the trekking parting intact. Crevasses, Avalanche, hypothermia, death – all of this is a living, breathing reality of his life.
I feel like I have set out on such a trek – meeting other trekkers along the way – some, I have joined up with for the journey – others are pivotal, happen chance meetings along the way.
I feel like as a team, we have fallen into a storm and are blinded by conditions that only mere hours before, taunted us with beauty serene. We now have been separated and I feel like I have fallen into a crevasse – battered from the fall, but still moving, yet faced with walls of ice on all sides… Will a rope fall to my rescue? Will I find my pack that has my crampons and ice tools? Will an exit point reveal it’s self once the storm lets up?
At the end of it all – all these questions lend to survival.
When does one crawl up into a ball and just let the elements and conditions of life have their way? What if in this peace of surrender, a new direction is revealed that one may have not been looking for because the blinders where on full focus on only the destination one was seeking. Or, what if, this was just another leg of the journey that takes you to the next point where the conditions change, become favorable, lifting the clouds and revealing the path straight home?
I guess at the end of the day – I can’t imagine curling up and freezing slowly to death at the bottom of the crevasse just yet…
Yes, I am lost.
Yes, I am tired.
Yes, I am without direction.
and yes, I am uncertain of my fate.
Yes, this is more of an adventure than I bit off (I thought I had bit of a bit more than I could chew already…). But, this is what I have in my hands. This is the reality of it all.
Is this another call to an even grander adventure? Or is this where one adventure slowly freezes away – back into the dream where it came from.
I met Felix the other night at a local REALLY COOL Brew Pub in Chamonix. A world renowned Sport and Life photographer, he was shooting skiers in the Chamonix valley when his small group came upon a frozen corps while on location on a glacier / crevasse field. He was checking out the boot, thinking about it as a souvenir when it, complete with the foot inside, separated from the leg. Morbid, yes… but the boot was from the turn of the century – no crampons (metal ice plates that are fixed onto a boot with ice picks to walk on the icy glaciers) but instead, metal screws right into the soul. He took a picture (in his book) and took the boot (minus the sock and foot – too smelly).
I wonder how far I will get. I wonder if I will be one of the few that makes it back home with a grand story under my belt.
Maybe I will be a novelty – someone will find my remnants, many years later and I might be (or a part of me might be) be the topic of discussion over mulled wine – that night ‘apres ski’ at the local ski pub.
Maybe I will just remain an undiscovered fallen trekker – lost forever to the massive movements of nature.
Maybe, I will just go home, chart this course, leave it’s end unmarked for the next crazed explorer to pick up and finish the route.
I like my feet. Both of them.
I hate the cold and love a great, warm fireplace.
I hate being alone in the dark without light.
In the end, I love my life – this grand adventure that it is. I am not ready to throw the towel in just yet, but I am open to that route that will show it’s self once the conditions settle down.
Thanks to everyone for their emails and words over the last couple weeks. It felt like I had never left my family and friends even though I was so far from home.
All the best in this grand and unpredictable New Year of 2008.
I wasn’t kidding when I was saying:
“buckle up your seat belts, we’re in for one hell-of-a-ride!”