683662EC-7DCD-4D3C-9922-4C6C5A2D1EA1Literally a thousand miles and seemingly a lifetime ago.. I set to climbing the mountains and swimming the rivers of my life.. I took that initial step along an epic path and began the first day of the rest of my life! Now as I sit back comfortably in my ‘First Class Suite’ aboard an Emirates flight bound for ‘the future’.. I am able to reflect on the impact of my recent hike.. a 156 day.. 4277 kilometer odyssey that has undoubtedly changed my life!

I readily admit that if I had known at the start what I now know.. if I had foreseen the challenges and dangers into which I was naively plunging as I set out to cross the magnificent but unforgiving Sierra in this.. the highest snow year since 1969 requiring mountaineering and type specific skills I did not yet possess.. I would never have started! I might instead have chosen a ‘normal’ year.. one in which the snows dissipate.. recede and finally clear by mid June.. but ultimately.. this exceptional year was to be ‘my’ year?!

B2BF12F0-DE35-44C6-9103-397527299AF7Over and above the many physical changes.. the loss of almost 20 kilograms (44 pounds).. the growth of hair and beard.. the increased size from 9 to 11.5 of my feet.. countless blisters and the resulting calluses.. the cuts.. scratches and bruises.. the dried.. cracked and broken lips and skin.. a broken tooth.. rashes and bites of both plant and insect and the sprains and strains.. there were also the profound mental and psychological changes within?! I certainly had a world of time in which to think!

What started as an egotistical goal.. and the basking in accolades of accomplishment.. had within weeks.. all changed irrevocably in the face of the challenge I had set myself.. and were replaced instead by an immensely humbling respect for the forces at work within our world.. equanimity and fortitude had replaced pain and ineptitude.. strength and courage replaced weakness! I was forced to face the unimaginable power.. diversity and beauty of our natural world in all its forms and I was humbled!

905AD27F-9CDE-4306-8DE7-6A57253E96ACThis fast paced world in which we survive and the stresses under which we live are of our own creation.. it is an unfortunate and unnecessary product of our existence.. Why we covet the material and idolize the seemingly impossible is a result of a culmination of both advertising and media in all its forms. The paths of our lives have been to a greater or lesser extent.. depending on where and how we live.. dictated from birth.. and we have become prisoners within a system of our own design!

Taking ‘time out’ to survive.. devoid of the comforts and luxuries so abundant in a materialistic world built on compulsive obsession.. has taught me just how little in fact we need.. just how little on which we are able to exist.. and how.. when this material is stripped away.. torn from around us.. we are forced to acknowledge and instead live our ‘natural’ lives.. serene and at peace within nature’s embrace!

4A435592-4F1D-4E98-84A0-03B500D8841CWhy then have I.. or must I return to this world of reckless materialism rather than embrace natures divinity?! Precisely because through design.. I have become a product of our modern existence.. I too am an addict and I too am addicted to the comforts and luxuries around which we live! Once we have tasted the fruit of success.. it is a rare individual.. few and far between that will revoke the privilege bestowed upon them and irreversibly return to the rawness of nature!

I have been extremely fortunate in life.. I love my life and I love the fact that I am able to enjoy the adventure of travel.. surrounding myself with diverse peoples and their cultures.. Yet when the time or need arises.. I am able to rest in the comfort of ‘home’.. and all without becoming a burden on the society of my creation! We are all of us.. imperfect people living within an imperfect world.. but the role we have to play will determine the legacy we leave behind!

Live life to the full.. as none of us know which day will be our last? I may wish to live another hundred years.. but I will happily accept whatever I am given! Life is a gift and not a right.. so celebrate the passing of the ages!

I will at the end of the day.. live the adventure of today.. and look forward to adventures yet to come!

12 thoughts on “IN SUMMARY.. A PASSING THOUGHT?!

  1. Dear Chris,
    What a beautiful and deep commentary.
    It is ver moving to read your profound insights .

    Clearly born of prolonged, unbelievable struggle.

    What you have
    been through is unimaginable – even to those with a rich imagination.

    Even you must.. from time to time pinch yourself at the marvel of it all.

    Enriching beyond measure would my take .

    Your update came into my inbox as I am on my way back from a FAR less intrepid adventure.

    That being…….as you were away fighting and battling on frozen mountain tops , I have found myself punching through 50 degree heat in Namibia,Zimbabwe and a couple of other countries -cycling.

    The poverty … and….the earths rebellion for all to see ( while no one is looking)…has been mind altering.

    Not sure how the culture shock of
    “re-entry” is sitting with you…have to admit .. I am afraid of my own …as the superficiality constructed by our western culture sits uncomfortably with me .

    Its unlikely I am sure… you will have half a year of first world social engagements to catch up on.. but if some break in that onslaught you feel curious to talk – anything remotely steeper than paint colours and the price if real estate

    Ie: minimalism , human culture, the nature or reality… then flick me an email.. or give us a tinkle or perhaps we will stumble on each other back up at “the safe harbour” of beloved Tindalls

    A huge Spanish FELICITACIONES on everything you have done
    Pippa ( Leys )

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris, I can’t even imagine what you went thru and witnessed – but it was fantastic to follow your journey and photographs! Now it’s time to sit back, reflect and above all – EAT some good nourishing food!
    Thank you for sharing – Bevo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris what an awesome adventure you have been on You are amazing but I think you should relax enjoy life and put some weight back on We have loved your blogs and your wonderful photos Time to treat yourself to some of the luxuries of life before you think of your next adventure !!?? xxx👍

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  4. Chris, can understand entirely your thoughts, must admit, that is why we live where we live, and have always felt that the human race is to materialistic, people don’t seem to be happy with what they have got, do understand though alot of people struggle to live from day to day, and have to endure terrible hardships and bad behaviour towards them. Can say I have lived a gifted life, had parents that loved me, cared for me, I’ve always had a job to go to, and that has now provided a good pension for the future. Do think the media creates alot of todays problems, well done you, you’ve earned a rest now and some prime time for you. Much love xx

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  5. Hi Christopher. Such a beautiful post this morning. I have never done anything as epic as your trip but I do understand your message about the world and its stresses that we’ve created. (And I truly understand the magnificent power and healing beauty of the natural world around us). If one watches the world as it’s manufactured for us today it’s easy to see the manipulation of humanity; all for the pleasures of but a few. You my friend experienced the true beauty of the life we are blessed with (even through the hardship; and more so because of the hardship). I just spent the last month travelling back and forth to Vancouver visiting a dear friend in his last stages of cancer. I was there holding his hand as he passed (medically assisted dying). Throughout the last six months I spent countless hours with him discussing life and what’s important. At the end of the day all of our things are really just stuff; most of which means absolutely nothing. If one can leave this plane filled with love and memories that’s really all we need. You still have a life of adventure ahead – who knows where your depth of courage, love and understanding will now take you. I feel blessed to know you as I’m sure all of your many friends do. May we meet again one day. With lots of love. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations Chris. Very pleased you came through relatively unscathed. What an amazing test of strength and endurance which we never doubted you would complete. You are a joy and inspiration to everyone who knows and loves you and I’m sure to many you have not yet met. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Chris loved your last post , very inspirational, read it to the girls , don’t have a number for you so will wish you a very happy birthday for today the 6th October, hope you celebrate in style wherever you are , will have a toast to you and your health lots of love John Shirl Teah and Chloe

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, Chris. I’m lost for words. You’ve described it all so perfectly and we totally agree with your thoughts. Kerry and I are now returning to our ‘normal’ lives, having experienced just the tiniest bit of what you’ve experienced. I’m trying to come to terms with loving the simplicity of life, but also the things we deem to be the neccessaties to which we’ve become accustomed. You really are an inspiration. Thank you. David and Sally xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your absolutely amazing experience with us. We can only admire you for your courage, determination and insights you demonstrated the whole of your journey. Congratulations, your achievement is incredible.With much love to you, Jan and Rich

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations CHRIS you made it, how you did it We don’t know, some of it sounded so scary. We are full if admiration for you, your blogs and photos have been wonderful.
    We wish you a happy birthday from India, as we are here with our new granddaughter Georgia.
    So well done take a good rest and eat, you definitely need to gain some weight, see you in NZ January onwards.
    Take care love John and Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

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