Urban Dictionary’s word of the day for March 14th was “vaxhole,” one who has been fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus and brags about it. Two weeks after the second shot and that vaxhole is posting selfies from a Cancun bar. I snorted when a friend read this to me. I know a few (other) fully vaccinated people who have gone traveling and blew up their social media pages with their vacation pictures. I wonder how many people have acute wanderlust after almost a year into this pandemic, especially those of us who didn’t travel much during the height of it. Even though my plans to backpack through part of the Appalachian trail pre-existed COVID, I know that being fully vaccinated gave me a renewed sense of urgency to get out there and travel, hike and adventure. But am I actually prepared to do this? Nope. Am I capable of doing this? Probably.
I spent some downtime reading The Meateaters Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival this weekend, and I realized that I’m going to be in over my head this fall. Just in the last month, I’ve started bringing bandaids and some Neosporin with me on hikes, but apparently that does not a first aid kit make. This book recommends having a comprehensive first aid kit in your house, car, pack, etc at all times. I still put on mascara when I hike because I am that vain. But there is something to be said about not living life totally prepared for every emergency. The introduction to the book talks all about how most adventure accidents come from human error, and yes there are ways to be more cautious, but most accidents cannot be prevented. There is a certain level of preparedness that I am doing to make sure that I am safe, and I enjoy my times out on the trails, particularly when it comes to my diabetes, but I don’t want to be scared away from my dreams by imagining every bad scenario. I enjoy a certain amount of ignorance, and I get a rush out of having to solve problems quickly on the fly. Often one to take bigger bites than I should be able to chew, I find myself struggling in these moments with a smile on my face.
A friend of mine took her kids out for a hike for the first time yesterday, and she consulted with me about it the day before and asked me if I ever felt unsafe alone with my children. I now live alone with my boys, so no, I don’t feel uncomfortable being alone with them. Had I fully comprehended what struggles were going to lie ahead of me after I left my husband, would I still have done it? I was warned by several single moms about how difficult it is, financially, emotionally and even physically. But I was also told never to run a race in shoes you haven’t broken in yet, and I still did so anyway, and ended up with blisters and shin splints. Somewhere between education and ignorance is a sweet spot I like to live in. I was robbed at knifepoint sixteen years ago, and for a period of time I would not go anywhere (but work) by myself. Then I realized that I couldn’t live in that bubble, and I took a self-defense class and had mace on me, and started going out by myself again. We should not walk blind into the wild on our own, nor should we think we need to prepare for any little thing that might come our way.
Ignorance will sometimes come with it’s blisters, but also it’s bliss.