Ego? Check

Several years ago I was out on uneven terrain, trail running (I use “running” loosely) and decided to finish up with a graceful, downhill sprint (I use “sprint” loosely). About the exact moment I was feeling one with nature, like a deer in flight – I tripped and quite literally sailed upward, executing the most stunning jackknife dive ever witnessed by – absolutely no one. Thank you ego talisman. And when two unaware runners approached minutes later and greeted me cheerfully, I answered with a lofty wave and then tucked my hand behind my back as one finger was noticeably pointing the wrong direction, another was sideways. Final tally, one fainting spell in my firefighter neighbor’s car on the way to the ER, eight weeks in a cast, and a permanently bent finger but by golly, the ego was uninjured.

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20 mile Big Sur backpacking trip w/ 2 kids, a cousin, and a cast

And this brings us to the experience of adventure and a wish for all travelers. A desire that the healthy (puffed up) ego of a mediocre runner, hiding radically broken fingers, not dictate your feeling about your excursion. A run or hike should be yours and yours alone, not a comparison to how someone else has done it. In other words, just do it, your version of it. Throw on some tennis shoes, find a lovely spot, and take stroll or jog or bike ride and just enjoy your time, on your terms.

We here at On A Dime have done some things that sound pretty exciting but what was not apparent in the photos most usually, were the moments of supreme stupidity or the breakdowns, the tiffs, the tantrums and then the way all of my compadres acted when I was not at my best. There is a reason I don’t let them carry the camera. The imperfect times are fodder for future laughter but, in the moment, they are not fun. I have slept in terrible sleeping bags (note to you, don’t sleep at 10,000 feet in any bag with Cinderella on it), worn ridiculous clothing, and been really hungry due to inane food choices (note to you, dehydrated Indian food at 10,000 feet is not pretty).

My ego survived the jackknife dive but was happily shelved the time the trail was lost in Yosemite. Navigating in snow, I am certain, is precisely why Hansel and Gretel wound up needing a dentist and a police report. The trips with the gorgeous photos have a witchy underside that thankfully fades a bit over time. And the second my ego starts twerking like a – not well thought out – Grammy performance, I usually face-plant in three feet of snow as I did while calling over my shoulder to two of my teens to “walk exactly as I am and follow in my footsteps”. Yes, that really happened and yes, they caught it in a glorious photo.

I now am lucky to encounter footsteps that I wish to follow in. The launch of On A Dime Adventure has opened up an entire world of fellow travelers that I admire and am inspired by. One such adventurer and writer, Lisa Beliveau, sails through life literally and figuratively and her beautiful essay on her initiation into rock climbing left me smiling and joyful.  PINK TOES is an account that celebrates the poetry of the journey as the pinnacle and the arrival as simply the outcome.

A friend who’d had taken the class said,

“Don’t worry. The first climb gets rained out. You’ll just go to breakfast.”

Twelve weeks in, I’d made it through the skills outings—though my inexperience had been noted. I was training but still worried about fitness, the weight of my pack, keeping up.

The day arrived. It didn’t rain. I had an hour. I’d packed, repacked, weighed my food, even purchased Dental Dots to replace brush and paste. Dan, our instructor, would soon arrive in his Escort, which, with five climbers shoehorned in and gear atop in a RocketBox, looked comical as a Volkswagen Beetle full of clowns.

Check out the entire essay. You will be happy you did and – if not inspired to sign up for rock climbing – you’ll most assuredly be donning pink nail polish and getting to know Lisa over at her blog I Sold My Pearls To Do It.

At 14, I convinced my parents to let me sell my add-a-pearl necklace to buy my first boat. The pearls versus the boat as means of 14-year-old-gal empowerment was no contest.    ~Lisa Beliveau

On A Dime Adventure was created to share ideas on increasing quality moments without spending a fortune but we want to take this opportunity to disclose that our motto “Life Is In Session” does not mean life is perfect. The next time you fall flat on your face, go ahead, make sure nothing is broken, that your ego is unharmed, and then take your pink toes and carry on.

We saved our blog post on regrouping for this coming Saturday as it feels to be part two of Ego? Check.

Photos below appear quite lovely but include a couple of lines revealing the ego fail. 🙂

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