While 2016 was without a doubt my most challenging year, the many months that have passed since that pivotal moment brought with them something a little bit different. This year was one of many lessons. This year was one of acceptance, growth, change, and gratitude. This year, was one for the good books.
As I sit here writing this – alone in front of a fire that I successfully built myself, on the side of a logging road to a destination I was unable to successfully reach - I finally have the opportunity to process the chaos of the past two months.
Besides concluding that this summer was quite possibly the best of my entire life (and a stark contrast to last year’s) I came to a number of realizations: I wasn’t as happy as I could be. In order to be happier, I needed to live closer to the mountains, I needed to follow my passion and work in a mental health related career, and I needed a vehicle (to get me to the mountains obviously). For any of this to happen, I had to make some serious changes.
After an extremely challenging year and a half, I began to grow tired of making excuses for why I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do; of constantly relying on others for my happiness; and of waiting for my life to turn around. So – in an attempt to make up for a ‘shitty summer of 2016’ (and after realizing my friends weren’t sold on the idea of hiking in the backcountry as a fun vacation), I made the decision to go on a trip through the Canadian Rockies… Solo.
In the span of my 26 years, I have lived in nine different Canadian “cities” encompassed within three provinces and two territories – varying on a spectrum between the country’s capital and a First Nations reserve in the Yukon populated by less than 300 people. Within these places I have moved a total of 11 times. The longest I’ve ever lived in once place is five years.
For a while I lost my independence. I convinced myself that I couldn’t be happy without someone by my side; I forgot what it felt like to actually enjoy spending time on my own; and I let the fear of being alone hold me back from doing the things I so desperately wanted to do. But then, buried beneath my emotional scars and insecurity, I found it again.
There are rational fears. There are irrational fears. There is biology and there is psychology. Fear leaves us awake at night. Fear makes us run. Fear can consume us. Predominately, fear keeps us safe.