Managing My Impatience: Waiting for My Trip Around the World

I am not a patient person.  While I say this with confidence, I certainly don’t say it with pride.  It has cost me on numerous occasions money, sleep, and of probably a measurable amount of sanity.  Thus, I’ve developed a few coping mechanisms to alleviate the pressure brought on by the seemingly impossible wait.  The most effective method I’ve found thus far is to litter the time between now and then with buildup events.  Basically, I try to find as many things as possible to keep my mind off of what I’m really excited for, while making sure they are relevant to the whatever event I’m obsessing about.  The specific event this time is one I’ve been dreaming of for years, and actively working towards for one: the day that I start using my first Round the World (RTW) ticket. 

I’ll link to a future post that goes more in depth soon, but basically I managed to secure enough points for a $12,000 RTW flight for my wife and me for only $3,500.  The only problem is that we have to wait for her to earn her sabbatical, which won’t come until March/April of 2015.  Luckily you can buy your ticket up to 11months in advance, and leave the dates open up to 12 months from departure.  Unluckily, 2 years seems like an eternity to someone with the patience of a 9 year old.

So I’ve decided to kill several birds with a couple of stones.  I need to keep my mind focused on something else, in order to not lose it entirely.  I need to prepare for the end half of my trip which will be a solo voyage for at least a month (my wife will return to work while I continue solo).  And it has become evident that I have put on quite a bit of weight, and need to get physically prepared for such a journey.  So last night, despite all the well-crafted excuses my brain generated, I purchased a few increasingly major commitments.  I’ve made an internal (and financial pledge) to the next 6 months that will test me in several ways… ok mostly physically.

Commitment 1: From today, I now only have 5.3 weeks to prepare for the Atlanta Color Vibe 5k run! I generally don’t enjoy running, but I’ve always wanted to see what the Indian Holi Day is like, so I’m absolutely stoked for preparing for something so fun and moderately intensive. Getting ready for this 5K should be relatively easy, but afterward, I’ll only have 8 additional weeks to prepare for my next challenge.

3 Miles of Color!

Commitment 2: The Ridiculous Obstacle Course 5K (ROC Race).  This 3 mile run will be complete with a ropes course, swinging balls of doom, and much more.  I can’t to finally see just how hard those Japanese game show contestants really have it! After that, things get serious, and I will only have another 5 weeks to prepare.

3 Miles of Awesome!

Commitment 3: It hasn’t been accepted yet, but if all goes well I’ve appllied up for a 12 day Alaskan glacier expedition

12 EPIC days!

 That’s right, I’ve submitted my application for my very first NOLS course, and a big part of me is scared to death!  They don’t tell you in advance about the current availability however, so I’m not 100% sure if it will be Alaska yet, since I’ve also selected a 14 day Rocky Mountain expedition as a backup.  In my current state, I’m definitely not ready to hike 50-100 miles into the mountains, or live on a glacier, so the two previous 5K runs will be used as check points to gauge my improvement between now and then.  What I’m most excited about however is applying what I learn at NOLS to the RTW trip.  Since I plan to explore Japan (or some part of Asia) for at least a month solo, I need to be open to the idea of camping alone if I intend to stretch my dollars out as far as possible.

So there you have it. Rather than spend more money of eating out, I’ve dedicated ~200$ of next months budget to commitments that will serve a variety of purposes, but ultimatly distract me whilst I await the best trip in the world. The next 6 months should be so much fun that my RTW trip (hopefully) won’t feel so far away. Plus I’m definitly going to Dragon*Con in August so, I’m pretty much occupied until September.  As for what I will do next… we’ll just have to wait and see :D!

How 5 Cold Showers Can Change Your Mindset

Excuses take away your future, so that you can still have something to day dream about today.

Last week, I started the Cold Shower Therapy (#CST) challenge.  When you accept the #CST challenge, you agree to spend the next 30 showers without hot water.  For 30 mornings you climb into the shower, take a deep breath, and try to stand under an icy stream for 5 minutes (or just long enough to speed wash yourself).

While I’ve read all about the great benefits of CST, there are also a few of unforeseen dangers that I didn’t realize come with it.  Within just one week of starting the challenge the following had plagued my life:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Loss of Interest in things I once enjoyed
  • Poison Ivy
  • Walking with a limp 

Prior to starting this challenge, I could eat huge portions of my favorite foods, often until I became ill.  I could browse Reddit nearly all weekend, and feel completely fine with the few accomplishments I mustered before bed on Sunday night.  I also sure as hell didn’t have itchy skin or trouble walking.  But now all of that has changed, and it’s all because of something so simple: the act of choosing a cold shower over a hot one.

After my first cold shower, I stepped out and immediately felt a rush of pride.  ‘I did it!  I can do anything!’  And I thought that was the point, and went about my day. But it wasn’t until the subsequent showers that I realized where the true motivation comes from.  It’s not so much the act of surviving a cold shower– put me in a shower where my hot water heater is broken, and rather than motivation, I’d emerge with a new form of malice to unleash upon the world.  Rather, it’s the act of hearing yourself come up with such a vast variety of excuses, and making the conscience decision to ignore them all.  It’s amazing just how creative your brain can be.  From the time the alarm goes off, it starts telling you why today would be a GREAT day not to take a cold shower.  Why yesterday (whether amazing or terrible) justifies cranking up the heat.  How there really isn’t any benefit that a hot shower can’t offer.  And my personal favorite: that there just isn’t any point in not being comfortable. 

What I didn’t realize was how much control the excuse generating portion of my brain had over my life.  After all, it generates them in such volume that I never noticed they were the same ones recycled with different words.  I started to catch on when I considered ordering healthier options for lunch:

‘You might get hungry later, so you should go ahead and order the foot long combo.’

Or when I thought it would be a good workout to camp on top of Yonah Mountain this weekend:

‘There’s no point (in not being comfortable this weekend).  What benefit can camping at 3,100ft give that a day hike to 1,800 can’t provide?’

Suddenly, I realized that not only had I heard these excuses before, but just that morning I had successfully ignored them. But there I was, the day of my hike, and I had decided to lie back in bed.  I had decided to do a number of other things that day, and realized all of them could wait a little longer while I watched some TV and relaxed.  That’s right.  I had come up with excuses not to go camping, and then came up with excuses to procrastinate starting my excuses.   That’s when I took a deep breath, got up, and packed my bag.  Just like turning on the cold water, in the end I was much happier.

Except for the poison ivy and sore muscles.  Those really suck. But I’d do it again!

Did you make any excuses today?  If the answer is “no,” perhaps like me you don’t notice them yet.  And that’s a much bigger problem.