I found myself bumping over baby-sized boulders on a remote trail north of Lake Tahoe a few days ago, rolling through muddy switchbacks, dropping over granite steps, and cranking through little crystal cold rivers created by snow melt as it crept its way down the mountain to the tremendous somewhere beyond. I stopped, at one point (to catch my breath) and as I did I found myself holding it instead; I quieted the heaving of my chest so I could better hear the birds chirping, bugs buzzing, and trees waving in the gentle breeze and as I did, a smile spread across my mud splattered, probably-salt-stained face.
The whole thing was jaw-droppingly beautiful. And challenging.
I like to tout myself as the fearless type, but the truth is that there were moments of pure panic out there, followed quickly by moments of absolute glee making the panic worthwhile and senseless at the same time.
This seems to be my theme song of late: Jaw drops in awe, panic sets in, then fades away. Glee remains.
Somewhere ahead of me, Derek waited and, as I re-clipped my pedals and continued to roll, I saw his face coming into view – he was smiling too. We finished off the climb to the car, packed our bikes, shook the mud out of our ears and headed home to the bustle and beep of the city, nearly pinching ourselves all the way. This little day trip – this otherwise pedestrian adventure couldn’t have been more lovely, or more welcome. At least, in part, because we’d spent all day moving in the moment — something we’ve been practicing to do more and more lately. Listening in to what feels right, and going with that low whisper from within — both together, and individually.
Awe, panic, glee. One day most recently, I woke up inspired from within but feeling powerless. Lost, and unsure how to turn these inspirations into a reality. It was then that I realized it was time for a change – and the initiation of revolution was to begin with me vocalizing my passion and drawing a line in the sand for myself, and for everyone around me. I needed to tell the world that I wanted, needed, and intended to spend my days in a different way and this was where panic set in; each morning that I woke up and did nothing about that inspiration brewing in me made me afraid I wasn’t being my authentic self. But the alternative, of announcing that my energy had already pledged allegiance to another cause, was equally intimidating…as it should be when you’re surrounded by folks that mean a great deal to you.
Many mornings later, I woke up and found that the panic had receded, and glee had arrived. Plainly and simply, I had moved on – a fact that needed no explanation for it is as natural as the wilds I had bumped through on my mountain bike.
As I announced my resignation from the Private/Custom Trips team at Backroads, a few shook their heads. Others jumped up and down with glee and patted me on the back . Still others turned the colder shoulder. It’s a funny thing – leaving a job. In my case, leaving this company has felt a bit like leaving behind my family. I’m saying goodbye-for-now, and thank you, to a group of people – to a place – that has changed the way I see myself, has inspired me to go out into the world and share my voice, and my perspective, on the world.
Lots of folks have been asking me (since I’ve leapt and am leaving) “where are you going?” Because, the assumption is that – of course – I’ve lined up another role in someone elses’ passion play to fill. The answer to their question – honestly, and completely – is that I’m going NO WHERE but into myself, and into something all my own.
Typically, the parlor party question is “so, what do you do?” And, instead of harboring my contempt for this question and answering with the answer that comes to mind first; either the unconventional “a little bit of everything, what’s your pleasure?” or the conventional and expectant “I work at x doing y” answer, I have a whole new response lined up the next time a stranger sidles up and asks me…
I am an athlete, and a chef, and a writer. I spend my days adventuring and dreaming up adventures, fueling, and thinking of ways to fuel my journey. And as the sun sets and I return home, all I want to do is infuse what I’ve found into words and write home about it.
And that, is what I DO.
So here goes nothing. Or rather, something BIG.