“Why live a life that’s perceived as mad?”
When I was young, growing up in Southern California, I would never have guessed that being outdoors would end up being so difficult. At that time, we ran, bodysurfed at the beach, played pick-up games of whatever sport we had the ball for, then headed to the desert to look at wildflowers (my dad’s choice) or climb on boulders (my choice). In winter, skiing was less than an hour away – one day, a group of us skied in the morning and surfed that afternoon, brutally cold, but that was sort of the point.
I now find myself in the Midwest, and there are two types of madness here: mine in the need to get outdoors and the other, where people don’t have any interest in that at all. The disconnect here between finding what we need in nature and what is desired in the urban setting is uncomfortable at best. When I tell people I’m driving hours on the off chance there’s a small waterfall happening, they ask, what’s the point? Why bother? Why drive out of state to climb small bluffs when the climbing gym is minutes away? Why indeed?
“In a mad world, only the mad are sane.” ~ Akira Kurosawa
When are you going to grow up? Why the risk? If giving up getting outdoors is what makes one an adult, I hope I never grow up, and I hope that I’ll always find others who feel the same way. Like a child, I’m often awestruck by the simplest things: a stone arch, endless prairies, mountaintops unseen behind the clouds. For me the risk is to not know that there are such awesome things in nature, that being in and of nature is the only way to stave off the madness of inertia.
The North Face has challenged us to rally around humans that define their own success and pursue a unique path to understanding and joy. Fellow outdoor tribe members, contribute to the conversation and share your stories, tagging them with #QuestionMadness. See you out there.