Five years ago, I celebrated my first (and possibly only) quarter-century of life by writing up a bucket list (despite my disdain for this term and said lists). Most of the things on this list are quite arbitrary as I was just trying to imagine things I thought would be cool to do. I've since come to enjoy my beginning-of-the-year posts where I instead take a look at things based on the relative likelihood of them happening (will, hopefully will, might, probably won't, hopefully won't).
Despite ticking off a couple of the items on my list during the past five years, me today is quite different from me five years ago.
So what's on the horizon now? Obviously, there's no way to know, but let's examine what the next half-decade might look like. I have zero delusions that any of this will be anything close to accurate (2019 might go as expected, but 2023? Yeah right), but it's a more interesting way of making a list of things I would like to do since many of these things are trails that will take weeks, if not months, of my time. If anything, it'll be nice to look back at and say, “Boy, I had zero fucking idea what I was in for.”
- WILL: Start the Pacific Crest Trail
- HOPEFULLY WILL: Finish the Pacific Crest Trail and then head to either Nepal or South America to continue hiking (Great Himalaya Trail? That new trail in Chile?)
- MIGHT: Ditch the Pacific Crest Trail and head off to the Great Divide Trail instead
- PROBABLY WON'T: Get to Africa or Australia (but possibly back to New Zealand)
- HOPEFULLY WON'T: Accumulate a huge amount of crippling debt that abruptly ends my dreams of continuing to be a homeless vagabond
- WOULD LIKE TO: Hike the Great Himalaya Trail across Nepal or possibly head to the Hayduke Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, or Great Divide Trail (if I don't end up doing that this year) – also hopefully get some mountaineering experience in somewhere (Nepal? New Zealand?)
- MIGHT: Buy and convert a van into my new home or possibly head to the Middle East and link up the Israel National Trail with the Jordan Trail
- PROBABLY WON'T: Hike the Continental Divide Trail or the Appalachian Trail (the “Triple Crown” thing doesn't really do it for mean – I mean, who cares?)
- HOPEFULLY WON'T: Have destroyed my knees with years of hiking and be confined to walking only short distances
- WOULD LIKE TO: Visit Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan
- MIGHT: End up back in Japan and do a circuit of Hokkaido (or just head back to that awesome ridgeline in the Kita Alps)
- PROBABLY WON'T: Be married or have any children
- HOPEFULLY WON'T: Feel trapped in North America having spent all of my money (and credit) on a van last year
- WOULD LIKE TO: Guys, this is getting hard (and seemingly pointless). I think I have a better idea. Here's a list of things that I would be happy if I did in the next five years as things stand now. That is, I don't necessarily want to do all these things, but they are instead things that I would be happy occupying my time with. Sound good? Yeah, right?
- Hayduke Trail
- Great Himalaya Trail (Nepal)
- Great Divide Trail
- Pacific Northwest Trail
- GR20 (Corsica)
- Sierra High Route
- Wind River High Route
- Probably anything in Chile
- The Transcaucasian Trail
- Haute Route Pyrénées (HRP)
- Something in the Atlas Mountains
- The Dhaulagiri Circuit
- New Zealand
That's easier, right? Less pressure, fewer expectations, all good. So where am I at mentally? I suppose everything is good. Could definitely be worse. I'm at that stage in life where everyone around me is legally binding themselves to partners and then creating generic copies of themselves. Meanwhile, I continue to be the crazy homeless friend who drops in to stay for a couple of nights every once in a while (this gets more difficult with the introduction of the childrens – and by more difficult I mean that simply showing up unannounced is no longer an acceptable practice).
But I'm happy doing what I'm doing so I don't see any reason to change things. If it's not broken, why fix it, right? That's a good expression, right? It's not actually about older generations not adapting to the changing world, is it? I think it could go either way. Let's go with that. Anyway, if I step away from this life now to go the family route, by the time I'm back I'm afraid of turning into that weird old dude in the hostel or that sad lonely man living in a van (who won't stop talking to you and can't take social cues).
Make good decisions, friends.