This is my medical week: tomorrow the check-up at the spinal hospital, and Sunday my hip injection. All attention on the body! I know the break site in my back is deteriorating, from the X-Ray they did last time, but I don’t envisage anything that will stop my expedition. The hip damage is a known quantity too. It’s been playing up -painful – making me nervous. I have managed to walk through bad attacks before, so even if the injection doesn’t work I still have a chance. Grit is the key, but how much do I have? It’s a question that never goes away. I have two distinct hopes about my expedition: that it’s really hard and that it’s not hard at all. Gleefully rejecting comforts as I pack my rucsack I then fret over what I could have packed that might help me succeed. Travelling light is a good policy from most points of view, so at least I have that as a rationale for walking a thin line.
I’m not a survivalist trying to prepare for the end of civilisation – that’s not why I keep paring back the layers of comfort and convenience with each stage. But there is something anti-social in me, and I sometimes feel futility in the ease of the day- to-day. That’s what makes me, in my middle class, middle aged environs, feel help- less. I think for a woman it’s rare – historically and as a rule – to be able to make the main decisions: the ones of consequence. But it’s vital. The thing about the expeditionary life is that every action does have consequences that you care about. life becomes much simpler travelling alone, and it stamps out the nonsense of fearing phantoms, bugs and beasts. The only thing you have to fear is your own bad choices. That is especially true of choices related to other people.
The things you have to gain are far more important than what you have to lose. You are in a meaningful environment, because it rains on you, shines on you, includes you in the turning of the planet through daylight to night and out the other side. You might suffer, but you’ll probably survive and be better off. If you don’t survive you will have existed.
This is the opposite to Wells’ apocalyptic story, War of the Worlds, where the threats are unequivocal, entirely external and beyond any human influence. Though I have to note that in the end the planet saved itself and belonged to itself again.
So it comes to this then: I have to conclude that I have something to prove to myself, and I become most happy when I test myself against it: my existence.