Written at the bottom of this blog is a little list of reasons why someone might be interested in reading what you had to write.
1) If you are wondering how to travel on a shoe-string.
2) If you are curious about where to travel.
3) If you want to hear about random acts of human kindness.
4) If you want to live vicariously through others.
5) If you want to know how to be a nomad.
6) If you are a friend, family member, or stalker of Maria Sevens.
Item 3 happened in full force today. So fully, that when it came to your attention, you stood, mouth hanging wide open, cheeks pink from exertion (later from disbelief), eyes unblinking. You smiled, laughed, and then cried–okay, just a little.
Back of for a second… you and the crew rolled into Durango, Colorado yesterday afternoon. It’s in the south, not too far off from the Four Corners region. After doing a 45′ exclusively core workout in the Visitor’s Center park (yeah, they’re sore today), you spent the rest of the afternoon in a laundr-o-mat, using their free uber fast wifi and working on your brand new website, mariamaestevens.com
At the end of the night, you drove a couple blocks to a trail head, parked your truck, and went to sleep. The next morning, your were pleasantly surprised by a lovely ford pickup with Washington plates, which you scoped out before returning to your own vehicle for coffee and breakfast. Minutes later, the owner of the other truck surfaced and came over to your tailgate for a chat.
His name was Mike, and he’d been hanging out in Colorado for the last few months. Before you knew it, you were swapping stories about travelling, hiking, trucks, sweet deals, and yes, even food. You learned that he was a mountain guide and a climber and, as you usually do, you asked him about climbing and how to get into it.
You see, you’ve met a lot of climbers in your travels, but have not had the opportunity to really question them. To you, climbing is a tricky sport to break in to. You need to know someone who has already done it (they are few and far between if your social sphere is outside the climbing sphere), who can even help show you the ropes (literally). Because you knew Mike was from Washington, you thought, “What the hell, start asking. Maybe your paths will cross again.” So you did, with Alexis’ help, and before you knew it you were learning all kinds of climbing tidbits. You expressed your woes about getting into the sport the wrong way, getting scammed, not knowing how much or how little to invest in climbing gear. Isn’t all that stuff expensive? Where are the best places to go? The fastest way to learn? Should you hire someone? Take classes? The questions went on…
…and were answered very patiently and informatively, but in a manner which suggested that climbing was absolutely within your reach (pun intended again). Fifty bucks? That’s all you needed to invest? On just a harness and shoes? What about ropes, “protection” pieces (not condoms), and the like? He said just show up for a few weeks with a harness and some shoes, and the folks in the area will help you with the rest.
And that is the great thing about communities (In this case, the climbing community!)–they’re always willing to help! And although you are not yet a part of the climbing community, you certainly have enjoyed the perks of being part of a much larger community–the travelling community. So many random acts of kindness have been committed on your behalf: people taking you in, giving you a place to sleep, food, coffee, advice, kayaking trips… what have you. The best thing that you received as a hand-me-down was a cheap digital wrist watch that LASTED your whole trip! But nothing beat what showed up in the back of your pickup truck:
Attached to it was a note and his card. The note, “Now you HAVE to climb…” was written in the spirit of one traveller paying it forward to another. It hit home so hard that, yeah, your got teary-eyed, because climbing his been on your brain since you really regained your health after your septic infection. Something you have been training for, for… god, a long time. Your body is ready. Get yourself some shoes, and just show up.
That’s all you have to do.