A life long dream

Right now I am heading into a total unfamiliar culture, one that appears scary from our north American perspective. I am in Pakistan about to climb and ski off a remote mountain. It’s a place I have dreamed of visiting since I was a young kid reading National Geographic magazines. An Islamic culture that differs greatly from our own. I am nervous, for sure, it’s the unknown. But I have a huge trust in humanity.

Ptor Spricenieks, a legendary canadian ski mountaineer, invited me on a trip to Pakistan to climb and ski off a virgin summit. This is not an invite to refuse, Ptor’s magical personality is one that invites adventure and exploration. He is working with Salomon to create a movie on his perspective and progression in the mountains. I am along to shred with him while he gets filmed by Bjarne and Daniel. It should be a great team, 2 eccentric canadians, being filmed and captured by two wild Swedes.

So here we are about to take off, all I have is a photo of the mountain. No other information, as the mystery is part of the trip. Ptor was here 8 years ago and made it part way up the peak and vowed to come back and savour the steep glacial flanks on the north side. So we are here and about to leave Islamabad and venture north into the Himalayas. No internet or anything so I leave you with all I have to go on.
A picture from 8 years ago, a dream waiting.


Its often the question that people ask me. Why? Why would I do all these feats?
As with everything there are lots of reasons.

As a young kid with 3 older brothers and two older sisters, I was bugged a normal amount. Young and insecure I yearned for acceptance. At some point I realized that if I did crazy things they would notice me. I obviously enjoyed the crazy things I was doing but I was also rewarded from them. I gained acceptance through these acts.

Also as I overcame these challenges and obstacles I gained confidence in myself. Learning my limits and pushing them I recognized my worth and battled my insecurities. The confidence learned in my activities transferred into my life, socially, and emotionally and all aspects.

One of the bigger reasons I love a life of adventure stems from book reading as a child. I was fully into all kinds of adventure books, from Tolkien, to Piers Anthony, to any fantasy style book. Any book where the main characters spent the whole book training, conquering and fighting against some evil. When I read I usually become the characters in the books and live through their adventures. Living vicariously through them I slayed dragons, climbed over mountain ranges, flew on eagles backs. Each time I would close a book and look around and realize that there was nothing like that in my reality. Looking around I diligently searched for the same emotions and challenges I saw in my books. I yearned for some senseii to come and pick me out of a group, to teach me the ways of Musashi. Or to discover that animals could talk. So I created a make believe world where my friends and I challenged the world, fighting against unknown evils, building nun-chucks, fighting with Bo sticks.

Slowly in my teens the magic of life started fading. Santa Claus did not exist, animals are just animals, rainbows didn’t have pots of gold at the bottom. It was a slow realization that life was or at least could be mundane. The demands of social life, conventional society were not enough for me. I needed all the excitement and adventures I had read about and grown up on. Luckily I began finding these in the mountains around my home, climbing small rocks, ascending small hills. Finding quests that required me to train, to focus and to work hard to realize them.

I loosely call it “hero syndrome”. Its true for me at least, I idolized superman, batman, actually wolverine really was my favorite. I can’t become them, as I mentioned in the last days of march, but I can find my niche and push the limits. Becoming a “hero” sounds very vain and egotistical, but it placates my insecurities and allows me to feel better about who I am and what I am doing with my life. Really that is one of the main goals in life. I guess I just want to be special, not one of the masses. That is what all those books are about; special people living their lives.

My mother says I am trying to de-mistifie these heroes, but I am not. I am just trying to live a life that is wild, and worth living. I will never be Robert Langdon, piecing together cryptic clues and saving the world. But just maybe I can be the hero in my story and be the adventurer I have always dreamed of being.

As I write this I realize that as a child I was able to meld together the fantasy stories with National geographic magazines. I started to see the people in Nat geo as modern day adventurers, and the physical world as my Narnia. In a week I get to fulfill one dream, to visit Pakistan and wander around their fantastic mountains, hopefully skiing and summitting. It has its hazards and unknowns, but more importantly it has uncertainty, and adventure.