CHAPTER 4 – JUST ACCEPT IT?????
Perhaps you’ve never really accepted being less than completely fit. Maybe your mental image of yourself is from an earlier time, when you felt ten feet tall and bulletproof.
My self-image is of the day in my mid-30s when I walked to Peace Arch Park with my mother and my youngest brother, Rob. It was a beautiful day for a walk. It was also a beautiful day for a run, and I suddenly found myself shouting, “Race you to the arch, Robbie!” It felt wonderful, moving as fast as I could. In my mind’s eye, I still see an idealized mini-movie featuring soft green grass below me, blue sky above me, the Canada-US border in front of us, and Mom laughing behind us.
Alright, I know, my brother was only 13 at the time, and my legs were still longer than his. Okay, maybe Rob wasn’t trying very hard because he really didn’t think I could beat him. Nevertheless, I got there first.
Laughing and perspiring, I panted, “I won!”
“That was pretty good,” he said, with a grin.
Of course it never happened again. A year later, when Rob and I were traveling with a friend in Queensland, Australia, I tried to run, tripped over a tree root, fell flat on my face, and decided enough was enough. But I’ve carried the image of my one victory in my head for years, pushing aside the embarrassing memory of eating Australian dirt, ignoring the pain slowly overtaking me, and trying to ignore the years overtaking me as well.
So don’t think I titled this section “just accept it” because I’m good at acceptance. I’m not. I’m here to say don’t do what I did. Don’t do what I still do from time to time – don’t refuse to accept your limitations.
This may sound contrary to the moral “it’s better to go than not go” but it isn’t. Acceptance is key to enjoying adventurous travel. Accept your limitations by learning to deal with them effectively; accept being unable to do everything your traveling companions can do and, above all, accept help.
Become a little old lady escorted across streets by boy scouts? Oh no, your inner voice screams, I can’t, I won’t, and I never will, so there!
I know, I know. My inner voice screamed the same things, but there were times when I had to accept help from the most unlikely sources... for instance, from my mother.
I’d rather have had a boy scout help me.
Or a girl scout.
So how did I get from there to the Galapagos Islands?