This week marks 6 weeks I have been in Rocky Creek preparing myself my equipment and my camels for the big walk across Australia. I have now committed to a start date. 30th September 2018. I found myself meandering a little and needed a deadline to work towards as opposed to just saying, “I leave when I’m ready”
I have found myself posting less on social media in the last month despite the fact I have probably had more life changing moments, but not all came with a perfect glossy picture followed by an inspirational quote.
I have previously been happy to let you all know what’s happening in my life, as long as its looking good enough. Hell, if its not, just add a filter.
The highlights I share are genuine, they are the real me, they are just not the whole picture.
In the last few months of my life I have gone from being a leader in my field, to a student in a craft. Instead of commercial success, survival is the reward. No longer do I have to think about what a person of my position needs to say, but instead, how do I describe how I feel, the ups and downs trying to reflect more accurately on the journey to this point.
Measuring the success of something I have done based on the likes it receives for many years was a measure of achievement in my world.
Spending the last few weeks in Rocky Creek training the camels to prepare them for the upcoming expedition has also started to prepare me. The new milestones that motivate me now centre around how prepared I am to face this new challenge. The outside world and how they think about my progress becomes less relevant as the reality of the mountain in front of me grows.
The challenge I have set myself to walk across Australia looms over me, and I struggle with my realisation of the gravity of this task.
Through this a new challenge has emerged, parallel to the physical one. Sharing not just the journey but also myself.
So I want to share with people not my awards, my wins or where I feel strong, but highlight some of the weaknesses I feel and face at this point in the expedition preparation.
- Utmost respect for my mentors sees me measuring myself against them and consistently focusing on my shortcomings.
- Conflicting advice sees me feeling like a failure in some way with every decision.
- Having to put on weight to start the trip makes me feel unhappy about my self image and body.
- Seeing everyone just go on with their lives like I was never there makes me feel irrelevant.
- An internal struggle of self doubt eats me alive.
Immediately after sharing this I smile. I knew these challenges would come and that it would be difficult to again in my life enter into a fields which I knew very little about.
Bullshit to the pursuit for happiness.
Bullshit to chasing happiness, defining my life purely from the happy memories and the pursuit of more.
Bullshit to looking for contentment in who I can be as opposed to who I am.
Bullshit to looking down on the fuck ups, the pain and the suffering that I experience in life.
Instead of painting a perfect picture of my life on social media I am trying to find the beauty in the pain, the art in the mistakes and the masterpiece in the suffering. This is a picture that’s truly me, and sharing it is confronting but also brings a freedom, allowing me to just be my one true self.
Last week a person I was following on YouTube passed away. She was born with Cystic Fibrosis, knowing from as long as she can remember that she would always be sick, and that her condition would result in an early death. Her name was Claire Wineland.
She looked at her life with an appreciation of the beauty it presented in both the suffering and the happiness it presented. (check out a little documentary on her here)
It highlighted to me the difference to the 25 year old John in the constant pursuit of success and happiness, to the one now.
After leaving my safe little world back in Perth there is a world of uncertainty in front of me. One which many of us try to avoid, preferring the comfort of the tried and proven. I myself stop myself from chasing some thoughts to protect myself from potential failure, pain suffering or loss.
I am trying to free myself from the pressure to be happy all the time, freeing myself from the pressure to value myself on where I am headed over where I am present.
I had been staggering through the last week or so, thinking about reaching the first step of the trek and how happy I will be when I get there.
Claire reminded me to look at where I am, love where I am, appreciate the part it plays in this trek and my life.
Thank you to Claire for reminding me to love every part of myself, and my life warts and all.
RIP Claire Wineland
10th April 1997 – 2nd September 2018