Adventure without risk is Disneyland. - Douglas Coupland
(no offense to Disneyland BTW - I quite like Mickey personally.)
(Originally published November 2011)
“Mongolia?! What the hell for?!”
Although no one’s actually said these words to me (yet), I have to confess I haven’t broken the news to my father about my plans for August 2012, and I’m thinking that this phrase might appear early on in the conversation. I’m sure he will wonder how his youngest child turned out to be such a wandering adventurer…or such a nut.
After some 70 years of farming and ranching, his idea of a “good time” would more likely involve a quiet lake and a fishing rod. Goodness knows he has spent more time on horseback than anyone else on earth that I know; in his day, the man could rope a 2000 pound bull on the open range, and wrangle him into a stock trailer in the middle of nowhere. “The Mongol Derby?” he will likely say, “Sounds terrible.”
So as a way of introducing me and my fledgling attempt to chronicle this amazing odyssey I have signed up for, let me first tell you a bit more about the man whose grit and perseverance I hopefully inherited.
This morning my Dad (who turns 88 tomorrow) had successful knee replacement surgery. He figured that he’s got a lot left to do, and with a herd of cattle to tend to, the knee had to go. Incidentally, this is the first of two planned knee surgeries – he plans on following that up with shoulder replacement surgery…I am thinking he will suggest I have brain replacement surgery when we have the inevitable conversation about the Mongol Derby.
But back to the surgery: after they had wheeled him into his room from recovery, I popped in to see how he was doing. I expected a sleeping worn-out guy – it’s got to be rough having all those drugs and then having a knee joint hacked out and replaced… ”Get me a coffee!” he demanded, looking as perky as if he just rolled down the stairs and was holding court at the breakfast table. “Sure could use some breakfast too!” he added. “Sure Dad,” I replied, thinking maybe he’s still a little delirious from the anaesthesia, “Some…oatmeal? Toast maybe?” “Bacon and eggs! And don’t forget the toast. And jam."
Ahhh…gotta love it. The nurses were a little beside themselves – bacon and eggs? But that’s my Dad to a “T”.
So here I am, enjoying the happy glow of knowing he came through the surgery just fine; he’s 88 in a few hours and I hope he’ll sit a horse again before he’s 89; it’s been less than a week since I secured my spot in the Mongol Derby; life, as they say, is good.
Next time I will write about the alternating euphoria and the FREAKING OUT!!! moments I am having about my place in the Derby…somewhere in there I may (or may not, depending on my shyness quotient at the time) talk about myself.
That is all.
EUPHORIA VS. FREAKING OUT
originally posted by Katherine at 30th November 2011 at 04:03
Well, as promised, here’s a quick run-down of my most prevalent qualifiers for euphoria vs. freaking out. I am sure there will be more as the months progress:
Euphoria: When I received the email confirming my exalted status as a Derby participant, I was on my daily 5K run down a dead-end country gravel road. My running companions (dogs Molly, Farley, Tanner) wondered what was up with their human: why all the screeching, jumping, running in zig-zag patterns? That usually only happens when we are ambushed by coyotes.
FREAKING OUT: Strangely enough, the first fears to surface about the whole thing involved possible humiliation – sort of like those dreams you have of showing up at school or work without your pants on – what if I show up in Mongolia having forgotten to pack something vital, like my chocolate supply, or yes - my pants? The fear of death or possible grievous bodily harm never entered into it (note to self: get some professional help).
Euphoria: This is the chance for the adventure of a lifetime! I will show those people who said a flat out “NO” to my suggestion we enter the Mongol Rally.
FREAKING OUT: Yeah I love riding, and have no issue with the mental and physical toughness required for this race. But 1000km is a long ways: begin mentally comparing it to distances in Canada - it’s like riding from Calgary to Vancouver – why that’s CRAZY! WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS WOULD DO SUCH A THING!! Yes, that’s right – me.
Euphoria: So excited to finally meet people who groove on my adventure wavelength – I have been feeling a bit lonely swinging out here in the breeze allll aloooone...
FREAKING OUT: Re: fellow adventurers – see previous entry re: “right minds” and “crazy”.
Euphoria: There will be fermented mare’s milk!
FREAKING OUT: There will be fermented mare’s milk!
Next up: My plans for training through the ridiculous Canadian winter. Last year we had four feet of snow on the ground pretty much from November through April. Ahhh well…what’s a little bit of snow when my training partner is covered in hair (my horse I mean, not a fellow human) and like most good Canadians, I personally own more winter gear than Mountain Equipment Co-op? Adventure on!