Another reason to go somewhere else and spend multiple days covering distance on foot with minimal belongings on your back is for the chance to step out of the American paradigm of life, or the Western paradigm, or the “civilized world” paradigm, or the middle class paradigm, or whatever you want to call daily life as we know it. To not have to worry about anything beyond the current physical self, to temporarily set down the usual burdens of obligations and material possessions, to have the time to think about different things, to try on a different perspective. Otherwise, with the way life passes by so fast, I’m going to blink and be old, and I don’t want to be sitting there asking myself: Was this all there was?
I know people think, because I’ve been asked: Don’t you love your family? Well, of course I do. But my love for them has nothing to do with the need to step out of the paradigm before it’s too late. Why people assume that there’s a direct connection between the two puzzles me. Perhaps I’m unique in thinking the way I do (though I doubt it). Obviously, I’m only able to pursue stepping out thanks to the love and support of my husband, his willingness to assume my share of our joint responsibilities in my absence. As I’m not seeking to shirk my commitments, I couldn’t do it without him (and a job that gives me several consecutive weeks off).