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oromendur

Oromendur: Hobbit walking-party

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So I’m a little late to this party, but I hope I can still get in before the dancing starts :) 

 

“This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party.”

                                             ~Gandalf (The Fellowship of the Ring)

 

Recently I realized that I have been on a serious journey for what feels like a very long time. Last challenge I defended my dissertation and officially earned my Ph.D., which event has been the main destination in my life for the last five and a half years or so. Of course, now that I’ve arrived, I can see that it is not a destination but a crossroads. A true serious journeyer would have planned for this crossroads, researched the direction and condition of each road, and probably would have already moved on boldly and confidently in the direction of her destination. 

 

I am not that person.

 

There are some decisions I need to make before I can really start to prepare for whatever my life is going to be post-Ph.D., but I honestly don’t feel like I’m in a good position to make them right now, so instead of doing anything serious, I’ve decided to embrace the hobbit walking-party silliness of the next three months. The travel adventures I have planned will will stretch over roughly  the next three 4-week challenge periods, and since I can’t be bothered to spend the time and creative energy to come up with another challenge theme mid-trip, we’ll just call it a three-part adventure. My goals for this challenge are physical and spiritual in nature; I am quite intentionally taking time off from heavy mental goals. (There are, admittedly, several ugly dragons hovering over the parts of my life involving my the state of my hobbit hole, but for this challenge I am running away from those like Frodo from Farmer Maggot’s dogs. They will still be there when I get back.)

 

Here’s what’s on the walking party agenda:

 

Family holiday, ongoing through 26 Apr: my sister and her family travel to Orlando every year for an Easter Disney extravaganza, and (as I often do) I have joined them this year. My current financial situation precludes any significant splurges, but I have a cheap timeshare condo and two days left on a Disney World ticket left over from earlier this year, and I’m already neck-deep in the crazy family adventures kicking off all this walking party silliness.

 

Visiting friends in the UK, 28 Apr-20 May: due to all that abovementioned life uncertainty, I’ve decided to squeeze my UK trip in between Easter and Alaska this year (just in case I can’t make it in the fall, when I usually go). Using credit card points for the airfare and staying with friends in Shropshire (with a possible side trip to London, details still pending on that one) will keep the trip within reasonable financial limits — and I hear the English countryside is absolutely gorgeous in the springtime anyway :)

 

Commencement ceremony, 25 May: I didn’t attend the ceremony for my Master’s degree, so I’m going to make up for it by participating as a Doctor of Philosophy. Rituals are important in life, and I reckon I earned this one!

 

Volunteer work for the Forest Service in Alaska (and follow-on adventures), 1-11 Jun: I am the crew leader again for a really wonderful American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacation trip I have done many times, working with an ecology crew for six days and five nights in the backcountry of the northern Kenai Peninsula. I absolutely LOVE Alaska and one of these days I am going to go and I am not going to come home. 

 

Volunteer work for the Forest Service in Montana (and follow-on adventures), 2-13 Jul: Strangely enough, although I live in the western US, I’ve never been to Yellowstone National Park — so when the AHS volunteer program manager contacted me with a sob story about how the crew leader for this trip dropped out at the last minute and would I please PLEASE consider another trip, I looked at the calendar, saw I had nothing planned, and agreed. It will be my first time as a crew leader on a trip with which I have no prior experience, so I’m a little worried about it, but it will provide the perfect excuse to go adventuring in a place that is supposed to be incredible and which I have always wanted to see.

 

As you can see, there is a lot of adventuring going on here, with many different moving parts, and I would like very much to enjoy it all as much as I can. In the interest of avoiding that mental exertion I mentioned above, and in the interest of keeping the stress level of the challenge as low as possible while still providing some impetus for self-improvement, I think I will revisit and tweak some tasks from previous challenges, ones that worked well during previous travel adventures.

 

Physical goals

 

Since I wear a fitness tracker (the MIO Slice) all the time anyway, I may as well take advantage of its capabilities to streamline my tracking while I’m doing all this traveling. I will evaluate the following three challenge tasks using the measurements in the PAI app that goes along with the tracker.

 

- Get off my ass: I will ensure that my PAI score is 100 or greater five days per week, 1 point per day, extra days earn extra points.

- Get the blood flowing: I will earn at least 5 PAI points from the high intensity zone three days per week, 1 point per day, extra days earn extra points. 

- Get some rest: I will sleep more than 7 hours per night five days per week, 1 point per day, extra days earn extra points.

 

Spiritual goals

 

My spiritual goals are less quantifiable, but I’ll do my best to report on them here. I will evaluate the following two challenge tasks in a weekly report here in my challenge thread.

 

- Practice gratitude: I will post on Instagram about something for which I’m grateful, three times per week, 1 point per post, extra posts earn extra points (limit one point per day). 

- Feed my adventurer’s soul: I will do something unusual, fun, out of the ordinary, or adventurous twice per week, two points per adventure, extra adventures earn an extra two points. No limit on this one, but they need to be distinct enough adventures that I can come up with creative prose to justify them here :D

 

To avoid any craziness at the end of the challenge, I think that instead of counting up the total challenge points as I have done in the past, this time each week will be a pass/fail exercise. I need twenty points per week to pass, and points can be borrowed from adjacent weeks only. 

 

Finally, although I will not be measuring any mental goals during the next few months, I want to keep in the back of my mind an aspiration for a future one: I would like to have some long-form fiction in submission by this fall. No specifics yet — it’s explicitly not a goal — but it is an upcoming concern, and I would like to spend some time thinking about what I would need to do in order to make this happen. I have several existing novel-length works that need editing and polishing; maybe I could read through them and choose one while I’m traveling? I also have some ideas for others; maybe I could do a bit of outlining and structure brainstorming for one or two of those while I’m traveling? Intense writing deadlines have been driving a significant majority of my life over the last five years. It feels very strange to not have any at the moment. I’m explicitly avoiding setting any — but I’m also looking ahead to when I will have the mental capacity to deal with them again.

 

I am awful about keeping up with other people’s threads even when I’m sitting at home at my computer, so with all the travel the likelihood of my posting or interacting in any significant way is pretty much zero. This does not mean that I’m not following other Rebellion adventures, and I hope you all know that I’m always cheering you on in the background. Good luck to everyone in your challenge! 

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On 4/23/2019 at 12:24 PM, oromendur said:

So I’m a little late to this party, but I hope I can still get in before the dancing starts :) 

 

“This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party.”

                                             ~Gandalf (The Fellowship of the Ring)

...

 

Volunteer work for the Forest Service in Alaska (and follow-on adventures), 1-11 Jun: I am the crew leader again for a really wonderful American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacation trip I have done many times, working with an ecology crew for six days and five nights in the backcountry of the northern Kenai Peninsula. I absolutely LOVE Alaska and one of these days I am going to go and I am not going to come home. 

 

Volunteer work for the Forest Service in Montana (and follow-on adventures), 2-13 Jul: Strangely enough, although I live in the western US, I’ve never been to Yellowstone National Park — so when the AHS volunteer program manager contacted me with a sob story about how the crew leader for this trip dropped out at the last minute and would I please PLEASE consider another trip, I looked at the calendar, saw I had nothing planned, and agreed. It will be my first time as a crew leader on a trip with which I have no prior experience, so I’m a little worried about it, but it will provide the perfect excuse to go adventuring in a place that is supposed to be incredible and which I have always wanted to see.

...

 

i'm rather intrigued by this!  What does the AHS volunteer organization do?  it would seem that you are a guide (crew leader= guide?)  in the alaska trip; and... yet clearly more handy than that- as you're invited to attend an place you haven't been to.

 

is this related to you Phd in someway?

 

at any rate, in awe of your obvious abilities in regards to hiking!

 

so, whatever you'd like to share.

I'll follow along as best as I can! 

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You had me at "Disney" and "extravaganza"! :D

 

Wow! These are quite the adventures! Sounds like fun! Let me know if I can help in any way. 

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