One subject of exploration, well, life in general, which people very seldom talk about is what happens if I fail? And, I am one of these uneasy people who worry about far too much. Both professionally and personally. And, always, about half way through an Expedition I get cold feet and a dreadful feeling that life will go to hell. That I will fail. The toughest period of anxiety was about half way during the Siberian Expedition. This is the report I wrote than, which still stands true today. Enjoy the read and please comment!
Worries regarding failure
3 Feb, 05 – 21:05
GPS-pos: N67°28´ | E153°42´ | Alt: 11 M
It is the 3rd February today, -49°F, and that means the extreme cold is back again. Plus a freezing northerly wind! No big joy, that´s for sure! We´re still having a cold, but no fever, so we think we´ve turned it around with the help of garlic, enormous portions of food and additional vitamins, heading for the better and consequently we´re setting off tomorrow!
At the present, we´ve been traveling for 6½ months. We´ve put most of what we hoped to accomplish behind us. As we see it, we have one remaining difficult stretch left. 350 km:s and a months skiing to Kolymskaya from here. After that, we reckon we have two easier stretches, at least on paper, where we only see polar bears and blizzards as the major obstacles. However, I am worried that we might fail during this upcoming stretch. Not we, but that I will.
The worry to fail is a subject nobody wants to talk about, even though this feeling is always present amongst most of us. What happens if I won´t make it? Or we?
There´s definitely a possibility this could happen on this upcoming stretch. We´re mentally and physically run down at the present, after a fantastic journey, but still, an extremely demanding Expedition. Our thoughts are as much at home as they are here. I know by experience, that these worries occur after a long time of travel. At least 6 months. You suddenly want to get it all over with, you miss your loved ones and there´s a potential of great danger in these thoughts. Of course, for this reason, we´ve both caught a cold. We still want to get going, though. We´ve also got problems sleeping, we just seem to be tossing and turning all night. For different reasons. I suspect Johan is only influenced by my worries. He´s just 21 and he´s done more than one can expect from someone who´s out on his first Expedition. So, if he would be forced to give up, that wouldn´t harm his future. Or life. It´s worse for somebody like myself who´s done this all my grown up life. 20 years. The full weight of the success of this Expedition is all on my shoulders.
Why do I worry? Because I don´t have a decent reason like Johans inexperience? Well, there´s a simple answer. The worry is that I won´t be able to keep the promise I´ve given to so many. Our sponsors, people who follow us from all over the world and the worry not to be able to tell others about this great remaining stretch of the Kolyma! And, of course, partly due to the fear how I will cope with a possible failure myself. I don´t fret regarding how other people will look upon me, I´ve stopped worried about that years ago, but how I would see myself. But than again, this anxiety is of course a normal human emotion. The sentiment called shame. Gee, I would like to know the thoughts of evolution which gave us humans this tiring emotion!
Fortunately, I´ve been in this position so many times, that I do know, that the only way to handle this wall of worries is to just throw in everything you have in the way of capacity and knock it over on the way with not one single thought of apprehension! But, still, what if?
It is indeed easy to get blinded by this worry and forget about all the overwhelming positive aspects. Like these fantastic people waiting in huts along the way, our chance to document the last stretch of this unique area and, once out there, experiencing that feeling of total freedom, stillness and harmony. One of the main reasons why it is impossible to stop doing this, living this life. When doing 10-12 hours of hard physical work every day, you clean your brain completely clean every day and that in combination means your sleep is really good. Most of the time. Anyhow, we will know how it all went within 4-6 weeks.
To find out what happened, read this!