This post is a part of the How-To-Expedition Guide for our 2015 Nahanni Expedition
click here to find out more!
Isn’t an expedition all about facing challenges and overcoming situations that fundamentally have a probability of failure so high that the average person would not consider it a good idea?
I mean, no one goes “on an expedition” to a Hawaiian five-star all-inclusive resort. No; expeditions happen where things can go wrong, and the number of such things that can go wrong is so high that they do go wrong. You can only roll the dice so many times.
Everyone can be successful, but not everyone can be a failure; and to be successful, you need to be both.
It will happen, and it’s happened on this expedition several times. For example, the expedition is not fully funded; we had a key participant drop off; the expedition dates had to be moved earlier and cut off critical time; I broke my camera, then my microphone, then my SD cards went… Then there is the incredible patience required for having things come together and people who make promises and then you just never hear from them again.
And if you are so lucky and patient and resourceful and don’t go crazy that you are able to overcome the biggest challenge? Well, guess what. You literally made the conscious decision to pursue a goal, the success of which depends on a series of steps that each will test you and every inch gained will feel like the greatest battle of your life; and another one is just past it.
In the most genuine and transparent way, I wish to reveal that to make this expedition possible I am experiencing a day-to-day struggle that is unparalleled in my life. Among the most difficult challenges I have faced; I graduated from college, then from law school, then studied for, failed, then passed the bar, and so many personal experiences such as breaking up with girlfriends and family passing away. However, the intensity and uninterrupted constant state of possible irreversible damage that can sink this ship (pun intended), is simply cumulative.
When I studied for expedition training with Eric Larsen, he told me that an expedition is “Death by a Thousand Cuts.” He elaborated that it is not one thing that puts a stop to your progress, but a culmination of seemingly innocuous complications that grow and fester in a seemingly endless destructive spiral.
However, it is for this reason that this expedition is so meaningful; it is because it is the most challenging goal imaginable. In this one life, we have but one opportunity to accomplish the most ambitious ideas we can think up. Kennedy said,
We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win…
I have lived the most incredible experiences that I could not even imagine, and all because I set my sights on something that people told me was impossible. I know that I am on the right path because so many things are not working out; each one is an indicator that I am discovering new ways of doing things and that I am discovering how.
I believe that it is the will to see the strength in failure, the lesson in an attempt that does not yield intended results, that will guide me to success.