T-minus 12 & a test pack

March 7, 2014 in Jenn



In 81 days Jade and I will lift off from Montreal, Canada, headed for Paris, France.

12 weeks from today.

But who’s counting?

I bought my plane ticket this week. That’s big news. It puts a stamp of finality on the trip. It has left the realm of the potential and entered the realm of the definite. Excitement is building.

Jade and I talk almost every day. In some ways, it will feel funny to wake up and spend all day, every day, together for five weeks when we’ve spent only a handful of days together in the past twenty three years. On the other hand, technology has allowed us to share life daily for so long that it feels like we live next door. We talk about our kids, work, laundry, husbands, and preparations; all things we’ll leave behind when we take off walking. I wonder what we’ll talk about on the trail?

Today, I did a test pack of my gear.

Here’s what’s going into my bag:

  • Clothing:
  • 1 hiking skirt (I’ll wear the other)
  • 3 tank tops- (I’ll wear one more)
  • yoga pants (for sleeping)
  • long sleeved merino wool
  • swimsuit
  • dress for touring
  • 3 pair of socks and undies
  • Toiletry bag:
  • Soap (one bar for hair, body & clothes)
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • First aid kit
  • Skin care kit
  • Towel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Rain coat
  • Utensil’s kit (we’ll picnic a lot)
  • Water/tea bottle
  • Journal & pencils
  • Solar kit (for charging, as I’ll still be working as we go)
  • Camera and tripod (that part about working! 🙂 )
  • iPad & keyboard case (ibid)

I hopped on the scale with my pack and I’m right at 20 lbs. It’s a bit heavier than my ideal (I was hoping for 15-18 lbs) but the compromise items are work related, so I’m okay with it.

I still have a couple of things to get:

  • A waterproof inner bag for the electronics and camera inside my pack on rainy days.
  • A waterproof rain cover for my pack
  • A pair of sandals to swap out for my hiking boots when I want to give my feet a break.

The next twelve weeks will be a whirlwind of preparations and family obligations.

I’ll be working a month ahead for two separate jobs. Celebrating two birthdays in our family. Getting two kids pushed through driver’s ed classes and hopefully licensed as drivers. Taking a trip to NYC with another friend and our daughters. Launching two teen boys off to work opportunities in the midwest. Finishing up our year’s worth of schooling with the boys. Packing our little house back into storage. Celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary.

Of course that doesn’t count the physical training or the walking I have to do to get ready.

From where I sit right now, that feels like a lot. 

Some mornings it almost feels overwhelming.

But, it’s always like this in our lives.

We’re continually raising the bar on our adventures, on our work life, on our personal pursuits as individuals and as a family. We make these big commitments to some sort of adventure and then we feel like we’re running towards a cliff’s edge to make a leap into various unknowns.

At least this is not my first leap.

I know that I’ll make it. I know that “it” will all get done. I know that I won’t, in fact, lose my mind, or anything else that matters. I know that when I take the leap the ‘chute will open and the adrenaline rush that is beginning a new adventure will carry me forward. I love that part.

So this is “crunch time,” the hard part. The part where I feel like I’m earning the freedom that I know will come later. Everything worth doing takes work. There’s the physical training, yes, but there’s the mental and emotional effort of “getting it all together” towards some new undertaking.

In the next 12 weeks, there is so much more to do than just walk!