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The Things We Do For Love

Her>Alpine Starts. Yosemite National Park, California.

Her>Alpine Starts. Yosemite National Park, California.

It’s incredibly difficult getting out of a warm bed, wriggling from the limbs of my most loved one to get lost in the wilderness somewhere and have my ass kicked.

It is a limiting factor I’m happy to accept.

There were coming of age years when I wanted nothing less than a permanent forwarding address, physical possessions or personal attachments.  I wished to feverishly wander the globe in search of adventure, credentialed by National Geographic or the sort.

These days not at all.

When I started my actual career I was already traveling a bit, to trade shows in New York and Las Vegas. When I met my wife while I was cobbling together the last credits necessary to graduate the college I’d left twice, the thrill of reclusive aimlessness vanished.

The home and associated problems I’d so long wanted to escape were replaced completely by Alli’s love.  Being away was awful. I’d uncovered a genetic mutation of homesickness, hyper aggressive and immune to treatment.

I worked as a salesman for ten years and even when those trips were to cool places where I would snowboard or surf—more often working a booth—I’d be panged with homesickness.  I quit sales in large part over the travel.

Now work and fun are different animals for sure, but what’s at stake isn’t.  So why would I wake up at 5:00 on a Saturday morning to drive hours to a trailhead to get beat up and sunburned by myself for two days?

The simple answer is that we all know the reward that challenging adventures grant is worth it.  But the honest answer is, I usually don’t.

For as much as I love adventure, I love my wife more.

Fortunately she loves adventure too. Adventure was what we first shared when we met in Vermont. Moving to California opened us both up to a level and frequency of adventure neither of us had ever known. The backpacking prowess I have, she shares. We spend more nights outside per year than all the folks I know and we prioritize nature absolutely.  She’s constantly lighting a fire under me to plan our trips, book the permits and just get outside on Saturday.  I’ll never go to the gym unless she drags me.

But some of my dreams of big peaks or cold powder days she can live without.  And with dreams come sacrifice. My fondest dream happens to be the woman I share my life and home with. And sometimes I prefer sleeping in.

This inevitably leads to 10:00 arrivals at the mountain, surf break and fishing hole.  Bike rides are a bit shorter.  On solo alpine missions I’ll sit in my tent wondering why I’m not cuddled on the couch watching HBO while fiddling with my iPhone to get a text off with 1x signal (try toggling Airplane Mode and holding the phone upside down).

I’m sure it shows.  I have a terrible front board and probably catch fewer fish.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Growing up, I found myself gravitating to things that were real.  A lot of us go to nature to experience something real.  Some of us take risks there to feel something real.  I always have for those reasons.  And along the way I found love, one I get to experience the world with every day, even if we do miss first tracks.