Of course many people have asked me why? The questions and comments have varied from “Aren’t you a bit old to be doing this now?” through to “Wish I could do it!”.
So why exactly am I doing it? Well the simple answer is that there is no simple answer but a huge mix of whys and why nows.
When I first met Cory we wrote down our goals, yearly goals and 5, 10, 15 years etc. and he first mentioned the Pacific Crest Trail. Having walked a few ‘princess’ walks with Helen, in respect of bag services and B&Bs, not to underplay the physical fitness required for a 4.5 day West Highland Way in the Scottish monsoon season, I thought “well that sounds like a grand day out!!”. Of course I didn’t really know what it would involve and even now how can I know what It will involve?
So the PCT seedling was planted in 2010 before Cheryl Strayed and Wild exploded into everyone’s consciousness. So the vague, ‘I would like to do that too’ has had quite a long time to germinate.
Reason 1. My work pattern? Now at the ripe old age of 49 I now notice I have a work pattern. 2 years into a job and I get bored, restless, itchy feet. The first year you are learning the job and are full of ideas and goals, by year two you are achieving all you set out to do and if you are still around by year 3 you start to have to repeat things and the job (for me) becomes stale. It has taken me 49 years to realise this! 2 years after returning from Germany I noticed the itchy feet and unrest arriving and handed in my notice and went to Central America. On returning to Scotland I got the ‘ideal’ job for me as the Leisure Centre Manager but sure enough two years into the job I felt the unrest begin but stupidly ignored it, by year 3 the wonderful staff I had surrounded myself with were starting to leave, did I really want to go through all that again. All the ideas I had stated at my interview, the goals and ideas I had, I had achieved and implemented. It was time for a change…..
Reason 2. Mental-Pause. For over 2 years now and to be fair probably for the last 3+ years I have been going through the Mental-Pause. I had no idea what was going on, I could bore/scare you with my symptoms (no-one’s mental-pause is the same but for an idea of how ‘mental’ it will be for you… ‘ask you mum’). Life lost its sunshine for me and I lost control over my body and mind. The use of the past tense sort of implies that it is over, no the Mental-pause continues to assault my body and mind but at least I now know what it is and I can rationalise the situation and try various ways to make this natural female rite of passage not destroy me in the passing.
Reason 3. In the last four years I have lost my lovely dad, nearly lost my mum, saved my mum and lost my darling wee Timmylein. Old School friends have died, great friends are seriously ill. I have basically become aware of my mortality and how wonderful live is and it isn’t stuck in a 9 -5 too tired in the evening to do the things which are my passion.
Reason 4. Why now? I have spent a year working from home, while we both self renovated Otterburn at 28 Melvaig. Turning it into two beautiful self-catering holiday units. A year of working from home, in the middle of nowhere, having Work-Away volunteers share our life, B&B guests, no privacy, yet physical isolation and because we needed lots of money coming in to pay for the renovation, Cory was away A LOT to earn money. 2016 was a very difficult and isolating year which was a sacrifice for the bigger goal! Its over! We did it!!!!!!
Now we have the properties to rent and hopefully fund our 6 months of the Big Walk (and the future life balance). We are renting out not only Otterburn but even our own home to fund our dream. Have you ever tried to condense your life, ‘stuff’, into the spare room? Good luck!
I need a change. I AM SO READY FOR A NEW ADVENTURE!!!! I am drawing a line under life as it is at the moment. I guess I am actually drawing a big dirt line under the life I have had up until now, in order to start afresh, again. It just so happens that my line will be an 18-inch wide line from the Mexican Border up into Canada, dodging rattle snakes and hoping to safely see a bear. How exciting is that?
I would love, my aim is, to walk the entire route from Campo to Canada yet the walk is what it is all about from me, getting from south to north.
If I miss a bit due to conditions or health, then so be it!; I want to enjoy the experience!
My life, my job, for the next 6 months is a walk. Taking it back to basics, primal. What is important? Water, food, shelter. Digging deep and keeping it real!
The first time Cory says “hurry up we are late..” he already knows my reply…”Why is Canada closing…” slow down Jonesy and smell the …well ‘US’ probably, smell the stink of ‘minging, haven’t showered or bathed for 2 weeks, wore the same clothes now for 3 months’, Jonesy and Rushy!!