We are less than two weeks from our arbitrary start date for the hike. In the last month or two, we had sorted out most of our gear. Hamish managed to get a 20% discount with Snow+Rock in exchange for some publicity material, so we got our shoes, tent and various other stuff from them. Finalised our kit list, got our insurance sorted, updated the original proposal to include the changes, and packed our bags. And got the Parents in contact with each other – dinner with Hamish’s and Omar’s parents, with a Skype call to Anne’s dad. My parents were excused based on the horrid time difference.
The utmost concern in everyone else’s mind is naturally safety, but more importantly, communication with the wider world. To that end, we got a Delorme InReach Explorer satellite tracking and two-way messaging device (from my parents…), and a satellite phone (from Imperial College London) for emergency calls. With the InReach Explorer, our location can be shared on an online map for anyone and everyone with an Internet connection to see, and we can also send and receive (a limited number of) text messages. We also can, if we want, update our social media accounts – Twitter, Facebook, blogs – during the hike.
I am someone with a huge online footprint, as a project supervisor once commented to me. I have been blogging since 2006, Facebooking since 2007, and tweeting since 2010. I see the value in people sharing updates on their expeditions for educational purposes, and the last thing I’d want to do is to worry my (or any of the others’) parents, or friends. All that said though, I don’t think I’ll be updating on our progress in the expedition on social media. The rest of the team probably concur with me, but I relish being cut off from the Internet and the rest of the world occasionally. A month (or a few more) every year of not having constant 24/7 internet access is a good thing for all of us I think, for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual reasons. The world and your reality immediately becomes much smaller, and while I’m not advocating for a self-centred life, it is good to not have to clutter your mind with minor menial distractions.
Rick Warren wrote in his book The Purpose Driven Life, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” It is arrogant of me perhaps, but I do think there is great value to spending time thinking of yourself. Specifically of your life and your goals and values and how you interact with this world. My blogs are inherently self-absorbed – I am always talking about myself and my thoughts and feelings and my life. But to me, rightly or wrongly, they’re the output from my reflections and help me live this one life I have on this Earth closer to how I’d like it to be. Hence the need to spend less time online, and more time in quiet places reflecting, as this hike will probably afford lots of opportunities for.
I will likely still journal and update this blog with some of my thoughts post-hoc though.