Today I walked to the bookstore and happened to buy the most recent copy of Outside Magazine not so much because I wanted to think about trekking, but more because it’s cover story was on Bear Grylls and because it featured another article on the live/work balance of outdoor and adventure enthusiasts and provided an entire list of companies who were hiring. I thought that it would be a good time to ignore my anxiety about the trek for a few days and pay more attention to my anxiety over my state of unemployment. The two states have been living and fighting for my attention now for about 9 months and I am ready for one of them to go away. I thought maybe I could find a way to calm both of them at once. Find a job that will PAY ME to go trekking. This was the solution, for sure.

Instead, I spent the entire walk back reading about the journey of a writer who goes to Iraq to retrace the route of the three hikers who mistakenly crossed into Iran and have been imprisoned there for over 9 months now. Obviously the universe is trying to tell me something. It is a fascinating article – that speaks as much to cultural misunderstanding as it does the need for thorough preparation even among the most experienced travelers and explorers. It was also, however, a stark reminder and clear warning of what it is like to be American in places that aren’t so friendly to Americans.

of the entire article, these were the few sentences that stayed with me the most:

“But, whenever their ordeal ends, it serves as a frightening reminder of the political fault lines that often run along the world’s geographical boundaries. The trio’s imprisonment has drawn new attention to the dangers of adventure travel in an era when conflict zones can turn overnight into trendy destinations, guide book writers can’t keep up with expanding appetites for edge-of-the-world experiences, and gung-ho vagabonds venture into places where having a U.S. passport can put you at risk.”