Tag Archives: willpower

A Hundred Times a Day

I quit this walk a hundred times a day. Really. Every single day.

I have conversations in my head all the time about how much I hate what we are doing, how I want my Barcelona life back, how I was happier then.

More often than I should, I count off all the reasons I want to stop, and all the things that make me tired.

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The Shortcut

“Look at the map. This dirt road may be a shortcut. We’ll avoid the main road and traffic, and maybe we’ll save a couple of kilometers.”

The sun is climbing over the horizon, the birds are up, and farmers on horses wave to us. The soft green rice paddies create the illusion of a morning hike out in nature, away from people and noise. We haven’t walked a trail like this for many months.

It sounded like a good option at 6 a.m.

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Lost in the Long Stretches

We trudge forward. Hours drag on.

Each step brings us to another curve leading to a long stretch of alpine nothingness. It’s just us alone in the world, heads down and walking different paces alongside the Panj River that sometimes meanders a few meters below or rages through narrow gorges.

There’s comfort in solitude. There’s unity between the human spirit and the natural world. There’s also a simultaneous sense of bigness and smallness, being a speck in the shadow of mountainous greatness while having a heart large enough to notice the smallest rock sparkling in the sunshine.

It’s easy to get lost in these long stretches in between Pamir towns. The monotony invites a meditative calm, a peace that comes with moving at about three kilometers an hour. It often, too, stirs restlessness and a string of unconnected thoughts anxious for answers or impatience from feeling like we are going nowhere fast.

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Tribal Council: Can We Sleep Here or Not?

Finding a place to sleep has been one of our biggest daily challenges on this stretch of the walk. In our Daily Nest post, we highlight a few of the places we slept during the last eight weeks. This is one night’s surprise.

It’s about 3 p.m., time for us to start thinking about where we will sleep. In Burma, this is never an easy task for the kind of trip we’re doing. We cross our fingers, ask the universe to  fix something up for us, and hope a dash of luck and a good amount of patience and preserverance  lead us somewhere safe.

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What Would Love Do?

I roll over on the bamboo poles serving as tonight’s mattress. Tired, aching muscles clench both sides of my shoulder blades, and my hips don’t quite fit in the small spaces between the tied poles. I can only wish for more sleep, but it’s a wasted wish. It’s 3:50 a.m., a few minutes before our alarms go off.

I take a rushed and restless breath, and on the exhale,  a single thought floods my brain and body. Thinking about it will consume many hours of many days, and eventually it will become one of my personal carry-on-warrior mantras: What would love do?

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