The Great Glacier, Selkirk Mountains, BC, about 1890, originally uploaded by MusÃ©e McCord Museum.
About 1992 I stood in this same spot with not really any more tools; I had ice picker shoes and a backpack but my guide and I were pretty basic which was good. Had I had to have had all the “proper” ice climbing/walking gear, I most likely would have missed out on doing something amazing because at 18, I had no desire (or money) to get into something that was really just a passing fancy (I can’t imagine what I’d do with ice picks now!).
I’ve been thinking a lot about gear since the Danes Just Bike post. I’ve done a lot of activities in my life, some mundane, some extraordinary, but the reason why I was able to do so many things was because I simply wanted to do them. I didn’t stop to think if I was a biker, a hiker, a climber, a flier, a dancer, a traveler and I didn’t stock up at a store to outfit myself accordingly.Â I simply did.
In most of the countries I’ve lived, this idea is pretty normal. I don’t really know many people who bike (except for racers) who have a biking outfit – it’s generally just regular clothes. There’s very few activities that you doll up different for, including day hikes and light sports. Granted, when I hiked through New Zealand or did the West Coast Trail, I had fantastic hiking boots, backpack and lightweight camping gear but I was even then, pretty basic (and had the most amazing time!).
A few months ago I was hiking in Malibu with my dog and came across two women who, frankly, just made fun of me for what I was wearing: A dress, a sweater, and normal shoes. But I failed to see what was so wrong with that because I hadn’t intended to hike that day but, once I saw the spot, wanted to go out into it. My shoes are comfortable and slightly orthopedic in nature (offering more support than most sneakers), my linen dress was light and breathable as was my sweater. There wasn’t mud, there wasn’t rocks to climb, so why was it strange for me to be out there dressed like that? Why should I have rushed home, changed into shorts, a t-shirt, and hiking boots just to do a mile out in the open?
Sometimes I feel that living here, life is often put into separate compartments; you have your work persona, your home persona, work clothes, home clothes, out at night clothes, day makeup, night makeup, bike clothes, your dreams, your reality, your secret loves, what you really do and so forth.Â I sometimes feel like this sets us up to feel disconnected and to miss out on a lot of things because we don’t have the right gear, right outfit, right whatever.
But what if we realised we had the capabilities to do everything right now – would we?