Walk Across Canada – Decision Time

Walk Across Canada – Decision Time

First, a great big thank you to my long-time friend, Gregg Campbell and his wife Krista for hosting me and my mom last night. What a relaxing place to convalesce, and what great conversation. Thanks guys.

Gregg and Shamus

The best part of this walk across Canada has been the freedom I’ve felt each day to be living my life as I choose and to create adventures that both challenge me and invigorate me.

Freedom is about being able to make choices for ourselves, without interference. But sometimes it’s difficult to make those choices. Some of our choices serve us well, and others become our lessons learned.

I’ve walked approximately 4,550 kilometers in 76 days, for about an average of 60 kms/day. I’m pleased with that. It’s more than I ever imagined I could coax a 54-year-old body to do.

But then I hit a wall. I’ve experienced blisters, heat rashes, a poison ivy rash, bad weather, a bazillion insect bites, lightning storms, unrelenting head winds, heat waves, poor road conditions, and poor drivers. But it wasn’t any of these that caused me to stop. It seems that it was an abscess that I had before I started this walk, and which got worse with the strain I’ve been putting on my body, that was the culprit that sidelined me.

The freedom to make our own decisions is one I cherish. Freedom is my most important value. I realize that I will often make good decisions, at least ones that serve everyone well, but that I will also make poor decisions. As long as those poor decisions don’t kill me, I can learn from them.

I’ve made some poor decisions on this walk. For example, I should have had the abscess looked at before I started. It sometimes feels like such a pain to access the healthcare system that we just let some things slide from time to time. This wasn’t something I should have let slide.

So here I am in Medicine Hat, sidelined while I heal from minor surgery. And I have a decision to make. It has to be my own decision because my love of freedom requires it, even if sometimes I wish someone else would make the difficult decisions for me.

I have to decide if I will continue on with the remainder of the walk across Canada or not. I can’t even say that the decision is between finishing the walk now or finishing it in a later year because I don’t know how I will feel about it in the future. Therefore, my only decision today is, “Will I continue, or will I stop?”

Sometimes it’s easier to make a decision when I look at my constraints. First, I have made commitments in August that are more important to me than finishing this walk. Therefore, to continue would suggest I need to finish this walk averaging 60 kms/day for the next 24 days and that I would need to get back on the road within a couple of days to do it.
Second, I have to consider that my body is quite weak right now. I’m still light-headed, even after the surgery, and I can’t know for sure how long it will take to bring my body back up to speed.
Third, we are in the middle of a heat wave, with temperatures expected in the mid-30s for the next couple of weeks. There are very few places to find shade in this area of the country. I wonder what the risk is to my health if I try to force my body in its weakened condition for 60 kms/day through this heat. The risk for something bad to happen is probably high. To wait for the heat wave to pass would not make it possible to complete the walk by August 4th.

So I’ve decided to stop here. “Live to fight another day”, as Tacitus once wrote after retreating from battle.

If I want to finish the walk in the future, (and Present Dave certainly wants to convince Future Dave to do so) the trail will be waiting.

So I’ll take it easy for the next few weeks, do some light walking and hiking, and get ready for my next adventure.

One of the things that I thought this walk across Canada would do for me is to open some doors. And it has. I realize I love this life of travel and doing quests, and that I love writing about them. So this is the new direction I will be taking in my life – to travel, to create adventures, and to write about them.

Thank you to all of my Trail Angels, friends, and family for your support. It means more to me than I can adequately express in words. I love you all.

I hope we remain FB friends. I hope you enjoy my posts and writing. And I hope we continue to share our adventures and tales together.

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