…an answer that I’ve known all along, but for one reason or another have ignored, pushed aside, questioned, doubted, been afraid of, or just generally haven’t wanted to deal with.

Sometimes making the decision to do what you really want to do is a lot harder than it seems. Other people tell you not to, friends think it is a bad idea, family thinks you are crazy, Friends of friends and friends of family wonder how it is even possible. And for each one of these situations you have to have an answer. You have to look them all in the eye and say, “Well, no, it doesn’t make sense. Yes, it will be stressful. No I don’t have all the information. Yes, I will be careful. No, I don’t know how everything will work. Yes, I understand it is not what you would do…”

There have been two things that have been stressful about the planning stages of this trek: 1.) Figuring out timing and schedule (no doubt to be discussed in a later post) and 2.) Having to defend and justify and explain my decision for wanting to go to everyone I tell. It has been exhausting. Both of these things have, at one time or another, been the number one reasons I have thought about NOT going. Saying that you are going to Pakistan, while it has been on my list of things to do for the past many years, is not something that tops everyone else’s lists. Especially these days. I have never had to defend something I have wanted to do with so much effort as I have had to defend and explain this trek. And it has been exhausting. I am sure that some (if not most) of this defense has been an attempt to support and shore up my own desire to go so that it holds up under the questions and confused expressions that cross everyone else’s faces when I tell them what I am doing. I understand that not everyone has my insatiable curiosity, my love of the mountains, my thirst for adventure, and I know that not everyone has this unexplainable urge to find and explore places that are foreign and strange. I get that.

But I underestimated the amount of mental and emotional energy it takes to sustain all of these things that other people sometimes DON’T get. It has been something that I have had to square with these past months. At the end of the day, these are the things are part of who I am and how I operate. To NOT go out and do things, to NOT take the opportunity to see and explore and experience the world in this way would be something I would very much regret.