I share all of this to give some background to my latest tattoo. A first on my left arm and a tribute to Anthony Bourdain and his approach to travel and a life well lived.
“His full quote that inspired it is:
Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.
The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.
You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
The one line of “The Journey Changes You” stuck out to me. Every step of the journey of life changes us in some way. It felt like the perfect sentiment to serve as a memorial to another soul gone too soon.
Go read the full article. Hell, go read the full site. Period.
From Will and Suffering:
The difference between a good alpinist and a great one is will. The great climber exercises the discipline required to know himself. He trains to be stronger than he thinks necessary. On a route he eats to sustain energy levels even if it makes him gag, and he drinks regularly to stay hydrated. He stops in the middle of a pitch to pull his hood up if the spindrift gets bad instead of waiting to reach the belay, and he stays dry because of it. He maintains the discipline needed to melt enough ice each night to fill the bottles, and sweeps snow out of the tent instead of letting it melt. He doesn’t care if his partner’s pack weighs less. He wakes up and starts the stove when the alarm goes off. The great climber recognizes when he’s having a bad day and admits it to his partner, then he relinquishes leads where he might slow the team and follows as fast as he can. He does all the cooking that night. A strong-willed climber will fast for a day or two without complaint to wait out bad weather.
Where does this strong will and hardness come from? It derives from recognizing desires and goals and then enduring whatever it takes to fulfill them. A strong will grows from suffering successfully and being rewarded for it. Does a strong will come from years of multi-hour training runs or do those runs result from a dominating will? There is no right answer because will and action feed one another.
Suffering provides the opportunity to exercise will and to develop grit. Replace recreational climbing with specific training to develop confidence. Climb on local crags in weather conditions far worse than any you would intentionally confront in the high mountains. Austrian climber Herman Buhl carried snowballs in his hands to develop his tolerance (psychological) and increase capillarization (physical). He climbed on his local crags all winter long, even in storm conditions, and rode his bike for hundreds of kilometers on the way to the mountains for training. It paid off, of course, when he climbed alone to the summit of Nanga Parbat.
The mind and body adapt to both comfort and deprivation. The difficult experiences of mountaineering may appear irrational and risky from the comfort of the armchair, but learning to deal with them is essential. Relish the challenge of overcoming difficulties that would crush ordinary men.
Michael Gilbert and Scott Backes got soaked to the bone climbing The Waterfall Pitch on the north face of the Eiger. When they stopped for the night at the Brittle Ledges, they discovered their sleeping bags had been drenched as well, Michael asked, “What are we going to do now?” Scott replied, “We’re going to suffer.” And they did. But it was a little thing compared to the suffering experienced intentionally and otherwise during the evolution of alpinism.
Learn to suffer.
Learn to suffer. Relish the challenge of overcoming difficulties that would crush ordinary men.
Refuge. By one of my heroes, Mark Twight. I preordered as soon as it was available to. I went for the ++ version. Not only I want to support Mark, but he has given me so much during the years, that it felt good to be able to support him. In return, I got a masterpiece. Refuge is one of those rare books you want to keep and read again and again, and Mark executed this and delivered.
Pictures, words, mindset and raw power.
One of the best climbers we’ve ever had. Ueli Steck. The Process.
MKII has a great post on Wabi Sabi. This is something I truly believe to be one of the most amazing things that the western culture forgot about.
In short, the idea of Wabi Sabi is the acceptance and appreciation that everything exists impermanently
Watches with patina, with scuffs, with a history to tell are the real thing. A perfect imperfect thing that has survived, together with its previous owner, adventures and hardships.
Seek wabi sabi, embrace it and learn to appreciate the scars.