We all have dreams. Some are acted on quickly, while others get put on the back burner as we formulate excuses: not enough money, too difficult, not enough time, etc. I’ll be graduating college soon, and I’ve had a lot of thoughts about the future pertaining to this. There’s a lot of pressure from society to achieve certain things while setting aside some of our dreams. It’s like the conundrum of retirement, where you’ll get to do some of the meaningful, carefree things that you’ve always wanted to do – but only after you’re pushing 60 years old.
These thoughts come and go, but sometimes it requires a little something extra to really take action. I enjoy listening to the Dirtbag Diaries Podcast, and an episode came on the other day that really hit home. I’ve posted the episode (Paul’s Boots) below in this article, and just wanted to briefly describe it.
Here’s the premise: an Australian couple is married for 17 years, and the husband becomes completely obsessed with the Appalachian Trail. Each night before they go to bed he tells his wife stories that he’s heard from the trail, and he maintains a full set of backpacking gear. He also has three pairs of leather hiking boots, each perfectly polished for the occasion. This is his dream, and the central focus of his life. He’s in ill health though, and has already had two heart attacks. He eventually dies without ever stepping on the trail, and the perfectly polished boots still sit there.
His wife has only one request: have someone bring these boots to the trail, and send back pictures and stories. In her words, “It kills me that they [the boots] were just sitting here all polished and ready to go… and I just thought that that was the worst thing that could happen, is if they didn’t get out on the trail…and why stop at just going out on the trail, go to the one he really wanted to do.”
There’s an indirect call to action too: “If it gets somebody else off their ass, that’s even better. Because we waited too long to do this...we waited too long to go hiking again. So yeah, if this sparks somebody into action, to stop listening to the podcast and get the hell out there, that’s even better.”
Give this episode a listen, and maybe it’ll strike a chord. Personally I’ve been dreaming about getting back in the Grand Canyon, and I haven’t recently put in an application since I’m never sure of my date availabilities with school and work. This year I’m making time. Listening to this episode renewed the passion to make space for the important things in life, and always step back to see the bigger picture.
What project or adventure are you thinking of bringing off the back burner? Post in the comments and maybe it'll give someone else some inspiration.
Also, the Grand Canyon lottery ends on February 24th. Put in an application if you haven't already!
Next week: stay tuned for a cool article about balancing a high-powered career in academia (think Artificial Intelligence) with a solo Grand Canyon trip. In an IK no less!
Any questions or opinions? I'd love to hear from you, just leave a comment below.
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