There are some things about the human psyche that continue to confound. Take my current example: about to head off on a long-anticipated adventure after years of contemplation, months of planning and days of packing (more about that below). And I can’t stop breaking into tears. My last day with my husband gave me an inkling to the emotional turmoil that has secretly been developing somewhere between my stomach, heart and mind. We were driving in the car, and a simple question from him about my readiness resulted in an all-out tearful collapse. And since, each night as I tucked my son into bed and especially as I dropped him off at the train this morning has been heart-wrenching. Simple, routine scenarios that have reduced me to a blubbering mess, clutching at him as if my life depends on it. Luckily, he’s a very patient teenager – most boys that age would hardly put up with a non-stop-hugging mom. He goes even beyond, petting my hair and providing me with words of wisdom and motivation along the lines of “You’ll be strong, you’ll make it, and then you’ll be back again. So there’s nothing to worry about.” *Deep breath*
So what is my problem? I’m scared, for one thing. This is by far the biggest thing I’ve done and is going to throw me into situations and experiences that are way outside my comfort zone. And despite all the “non-technical” “just a walk up a mountain” platitudes, sometimes things go wrong and people don’t come back. So I updated my testament (just in case) and that frightens me, too. Then there are my personal expectations; like I mentioned, this is something that has been a dream for a long time. How will I deal with it if I don’t make it to the summit? That disappointment sounds almost unbearable. Of course, if things go wrong I’m likely to feel so miserable that I’ll be glad to stop. And on top of everything, there is simply the length of absence: leaving my family, my home, my life for 4 weeks. But as my husband and son keep reminding me: stay strong…
The expedition chaos has begun to subside, with most of my packing now complete. Only 1/4 of the entertainment room is now dedicated to gear accumulation, organization, weighing and re-packing. I’ve made one final decision to change my luggage construct, so now just have to go remove everything and re-insert into different bags. Then I can devote myself to final admin stuff: downloading books and music, watering plants, charging all my electronics, paying bills that can’t wait another few weeks, and painting fingernails (yes, I’m off to climb a mountain, but I’m still a woman!).
I’ll leave you with a bit insight into the travel and schedule: the rough itinerary below including daily elevation gain and expected hours on the road. Notice in the red box, that is the time planned to be on the mountain if we have to use our inclement weather days. If everything goes perfectly, those last two potential mountain days will be spent in Mendoza drinking Malbec and eating steak. But right now, I’m getting my mind around 15 nights in a tent at below freezing temperatures.