How can doubt and excitement live in the same moment?
That combination is usually a sign for me. When I’m excited about the prospect of an endeavour or adventure, yet there is a string of fear or doubt that swings in like a monkey ready to steal something out of your backpack. This is when my ears perk up and I dig into the hesitation.
Doubt is a very normal human condition. Doubt is defined as fear, feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. Doubt is a feeling, that is all it is, yet we sometimes turn it into a verb and let it stop us in our tracks and hold us back from being the person we really want to be.
It doesn’t help that terms like ‘Imposter Syndrome’ were created to further turn simple doubt into a disease we need to find a cure for. None of us are imposters! We are all who we should be in this moment and we will all grow, learn, blossom and age in the next moments. Make those moments count by stepping into your doubts and proving them wrong.
Right now I’m on Prince Edward Island with my Adventure Buddy doing The Island Walk which is 700km around the island in 32 days. We just completed Day 4 landing in Summerside.
Day 1 – Charlottetown to Dunedin – 21.1km
Excited to get started on the Confederation Trail with our Tim Horton’s in hand, a short way in we were already joking about someone jumping out of the trees and preventing the torturous fun we somehow talked ourselves into. Thinking of 700km is daunting.
Before long we turned onto busy roads leading out of the city and met up with a backpacker from Cape Breton and her dog Cyrus. They were already on their 3rd leg since they began at earlier waypoints. Kelly was excited to have company and we were happy to hear all her stories of finding places to camp and get water each day, the last waypoints are very remote apparently.
During our break we landed on a grassy portion and 90 yr old Mervyn McPhee came up in his riding lawn mower to regale us of stories of love, family and his island. Once he found out Kelly was from Cape Breton, he started putting calls out to find her a lawn to camp on early to tend to her blisters. We know all too well the woes of hiking with a 50lb backpack. She’s tough, she cycled across Canada by herself!
We stayed together until the last 5km. Jeff and I had a firm time to meet our driver at the Day 1 waypoint sign for a ride into Victoria where we would stay for 3 nights. We were happy to see him but I kept walking so my Strava app would say exactly 21.1 km, Half Marathon distance. I’ll get over that!
Day 2 – Dunedin to Victoria – 25km
Well, we ate and slept so well at the Oriental House we were raring to go. The Landmark restaurant is awesome! Already a pattern is forming; Walk, Eat, Sleep. After our walk, we head directly to the nicest restaurant then to our room to shower, stretch and sleep. We are not willing to take more steps than necessary.
Our host nicely moved our breakfast up to 7:30 so we could start early. Kelly our backpacking friend had continued on and found a place to land so she would meet us at the sign. The trail began on red dirt roads beautifully treed, it didn’t last long though about 20km of today was on country roads with the blazing sun and heat beating down on us. The one thing we all looked forward to was a bakery reward about 2/3 of the way. Once we got to the road and saw it was 400 meters off route we all gulped, ‘is it worth it?. That says a lot about how we were all feeling on that blazing Sunday. We did the extra walk but the Church crowds had already scooped up the best of the goodies, a break was needed so we stocked up for lunch the next day.
Jeff and I knew we would be hurting week one since we didn’t stick to our usual structured training regimen. Our conditioning is great with all the work on our property and our mental game is good. Part of us looked forward to the punishment for falling into bad patterns during the pandemic. We can’t do that as we get older, we need to maintain regular training. #motionislotion
All 3 of us hobbled a bit into Victoria to land at Richard’s for fish and chips on the sea. Don’t make us do extra steps! No showering before eating, we just plopped ourselves down and ate the rewards for a day well walked. This was a hard day for all of us but finishing before 3pm leaves lots of time to laze, hydrate and recover.
The changes in thinking have begun. Instead of counting down from 700km and thinking of how long 32 days is, we’ve moved to one day at a time. Living in the moment is here! Thinking of ’30 days to go’ is too much, rather ‘tomorrow is only 20km’ is a much easier pill to swallow.
Day 3 – Victoria to Borden-Carleton – 19.2 km
We woke to a wonderfully overcast, breezy, beautiful cloudy sky. Today is Labour Day and most things are closed so we had to figure out food. Kelly text us she started at sunrise to beat the heat, we had to wait for breakfast at 7:30 before we could start. Today was beautiful views of the Northumberland strait and the Confederation Bridge coming into sight. We had a red fox check us out for quite a while then cross our path for luck.
There was some dancing along the lovely country roads today. Not much traffic combined with the breeze and shade of clouds made this a glorious day. The waypoint sign was right at a great pizza shop! Kelly and Cyrus were awaiting our arrival so we ordered an XL and found a picnic table outside to catch up on her adventures of the night. She was rescued from a coyote pack and put into a great bunkie with a bed. The PEI people are living up to what we’ve heard.
Our driver Bill came to pick us up with his wife and they offered to drive us to the Confederation bridge with Kelly and Cyrus. What a treat getting up close to the longest bridge over ice-covered water. It actually has ice breakers built into the piers. This would be our last night in Victoria, it was our best day of hiking so far.
Day 4 – Borden-Carleton to Summerside – 24km
We thought this was a 21km day but it was really 24km. Mentally, that played with us after an already difficult day. We started out so strong and happy, then we hit a section of the Trans Canada Highway that went on forever. It was noisy, busy and every transport truck blew us off our feet. We had to be extra alert to watch for drivers crossing the white line and maybe not paying attention to walkers on a highway. This section will need to change to see a lot of hiker traffic. It is the first true year of this trail given it was created during the pandemic, but hearing how keen the locals are and the popularity of the trail I see funding in their future.
We pulled out our desperate hiking trick and started counting to 5000. We shouted at each other every time we got to 100 steps. This got us into Summerside and we were already at 21km yet still had to do a long section of the Confederation Trail. We stuck it out to the end and found the tiny sign along with Kelly and Cyrus wonderfully cheering us to the end. That was a cool feeling.
Across from the waypoint sign, ending our day of walking, was the Evermoore Brewery with an outdoor patio to begin our day of eating real food. It was delicious and we stayed a couple hours eating, drinking and getting Kelly a place to sleep for the night. Jeff and I walked another 1.5 km to our new home, the Quality Inn, with a swimming pool and bathtub. Happy to land here for one of only 2 days off we scheduled for this trek.
That brings you up to speed. Did you read doubt in there? Every single day! Are we still doing it? Every single day!
These endurance challenges are made up of physical conditioning and mental prep, both can be trained. Our experience with adventures has us in good mental form, we know our feelings of doubt are wrong, there is always something more you can eek out of a day.
90km done, 610km to make me #ComeBackDifferent