Walking, Running, and Everything Inbetween

Title photograph by Xavier after our meeting on the side of road a few days walk east of Fort Francis, ON on Highway 11.

I moved back to Calgary on Sept 21, but it was brief; Portia and I headed out to a nice little log cabin in Brisco, BC for a few days to relax and be cool before I headed out to meet with J.C. and Michael to run British Columbia.

Not sure how to start this post off, or what to really talk about, but it is always best to start from the beginning and end at the end.

The last few months of my vagabond lifestyle has been such a mind opening experience, and I have yet to unpack all the thoughts, experiences, and memories of my new walking life. First off, the walk was not what I expected it to be, but really, how was I to know what walking day after day would be like, and how I would be able to handle the lengthy periods of monotony, boredom, loneliness, and the almighty fear of missing out on the ‘normal life’ events that many in my life are players in.  I have no qualms against normalcy — I quite like knowing where I will sleep at night.

One of the learning outcomes of my walking was that you never really realize how adaptable the human body and mind is until you test it and trust it, which I did to some extent.  The only emotion or feeling I still have little control over is fear and anxiety. These emotions are chiefly centered on the unknown and unmitigable circumstances that are likely to present themselves over time, such as apex predators (bears and wolves), and the hundreds of vehicles that whiz past me at > 100 km/h.

Although vehicle vs. human conflicts pose a great danger if you were to look at historical occurrences of fatal human conflicts with bears and wolves – fatal bee stings and stray dog attacks encounters numbers are surprisingly greater (I will post a citation of a statistical summary later).  However grounded in hard facts and numbers one can be, I occasionally wonder about what lurked around my tent as I slept, or the reason I woke up in the middle of the night some days and how close a conflict might have been!  Maybe fear and anxiety will always be in my life like blisters on my foot and Microsoft updates, but just maybe, this is just a primal emotions of my brain’s overactive amygdala, which can be beneficial at times to keep me on my blistered toes.

Even though this walk was not what I expected it be, I did not expect that this walk would redefine many items on that check-list of life we all have, and how it has had an indelible mark on how I view the world and people around me.  I have also no allusions about my being on the road and the impacts this choice will have on that complex web that is life, but I am going to put my faith that everything will fall into place, like it always has throughout my life.  In the meantime, I look forward to enjoying the pleasure and pain of this multi-week running task I have decided to take on to help some friends finish their cross country run, and to support a cause they are running for: increasing the awareness that being active has resounding benefits to the well-being of one’s life!

Anyways, when I finish this run there will be many months (6 to 7 months) of being in a state of relative physical stillness while in Calgary for the winter.

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