Yesterday (day two of my U.S. thru-hike) was rough.
From my bivying point in Charlotte, it was eleven miles southwest Bellevue and about twenty four altogether to Battle Creek.
Bellevue is a super small town (doesn’t show up on Google Maps until you zoom way in), so I knew that Battle Creek was going to be my next reliable resupply zone.
Problem was, my legs, feet, and back were still taxed from the eighteen miles the day before and I still had yet to master the art of calming my nerves enough to get anything resembling substantial sleep in the bivy.
I did manage a half hour nap close to Bellevue.
My friend Kate recommended ear plugs and a blind fold, which I anticipate will help immensely for sounder sleep. Also, I was able to upgrade my backpack to one that makes worlds of difference for my posture. And ditched a duffel bag, which I should not have been lugging around to begin with.
Anyway, contending with body aches and stiffness along with sleep deprivation, the walk from Charlotte towards Battle Creek was challenging, bordering arduous.
Realized a day of rest would do me wonders.
My body is doing a fantastic job, considering that I just went from largely sedentary to ultra-active with no transition.
En route to Battle Creek, part of me said, “Just keep pushing, pushing, pushing. Hopefully my body will adjust as I go.”
Another part said: “Take a day to rest, heal up and take care of myself. After resting, the damage in my muscles will heal and they will be stronger than they were before. I will thank myself and enjoy the next neck of my journey all the more.”
I listened to the second part, and hitched a ride to Battle Creek. Got a motel room. Horrocks across the street. Score.
Felt a little disappointed in myself at first, for not being “tough enough.”
Badge of the damned
I tend to extract this weird brand of nobility from suffering.
Getting through hardship can be worn like a badge.
“Look what I did. I walked twenty-four miles in a day when every cell in my body begged me for a break.”
What in the world would be the point in that? Don’t need that badge, do I?
This walk is not a pilgrimage of suffering.
There will be suffering, of course. But pain is not the main event.
I have hurt myself enough. This is about restoration, not flagellation.
Also, I am not walking across the U.S. to prove a point. Not to myself or anyone.
It behooves me to keep my motives in check. And my motives are?
To heal my mind and heart. To learn, grow, and create.
To connect with self-love, and to become more compassionate and helpful towards others.
To ignite my creative inferno.
Could dig for plenty of other motives, but nowhere on that list would be:
To get the biggest callouses the world has ever seen and to make it across America on as little sleep as possible.
Ten years ago, that could have been my motive. I am OK with this not being ten years ago. I like my modern motives better.
Expanding within, reaching without
Thus far, my walk has been largely introspective and contemplative in nature.
As I prepare to explore Battle Creek and depart onward, my intention is to be outgoing with others, make connections. To notice the power in others, and help them see it too. Learn from other people’s insight, to be touched by their uniqueness. Then, utilize their light as butane for my own uniqueness reservoirs.
Some people I talk to will be featured in upcoming podcasts that you’ll be able to listen to for free through my blog.
I am excited to begin doing podcasts. If you do not know what a podcast is, it is simply a conversation made available for you to hear on the Internet. The final product sounds just like talk radio.
I would like to acknowledge everyone from my social network — online and otherwise — who have provided ideas, suggestions, money, and tools for maximizing my success on this journey.
This walk has become a true collaboration, and I have never related more deeply to the phrase:
“It takes a village to raise and empower a manchild.”
That’s how that saying goes, right?
Also published on Medium.