Crisis of Confidence (Who walks 24,000 km?!?!?)

So I knew this moment would come at one point and I have felt it more and more in the past few weeks since the turn of the New Year.  I felt it as the Christmas tree was taken out of the house for the last time.  I felt it as the holiday decorations came down.  I’ve felt it as I’ve tried to get homes for my pets.  The feeling has become stronger in the past week as we renovate the house touching up its paint, cleaning its carpets, donating my world away, and putting what is left into storage. I felt it as I took down my bird feeders and packed up my trail bike.   I’ve felt it as I’ve made arrangements with the Realtor.   Part of me knows it’s just stuff, it’s just a bird feeder and this home is just a building I’ll have it all again someday. 

But yesterday, for whatever reason I was struck by a shear lack of confidence.  Thoughts wondering “what are you doing?  Your house, your car, your things, your pets, your career? All gone and for what?”  All good questions which friends, family and colleagues have asked over the months.  And for about two hours today I could not have told a single one why I am doing this.  I couldn’t even figure it out myself.  I fell into a state of complete panic and self doubt. 

Sonya Richmond Canadian Explorer Hiker.In the end I did the only thing I could think to do to clear my mind.  Last night I went out for a walk. Of course today our region was in the midst of a huge snow storm and -30 weather, but sometimes when you need to get out you need to get out.  Given that I am in Norfolk county, I trekked along the nearby Norfolk Sunrise Trail – ironically part of the Trans Canada Trail system.  And it was here after a couple of hours or so of walking, once the sounds of the city passed into the background and I could take in a few minutes of peace in the woods that everything came back into focus.   Nature is after all the clarion bell of my life.

Nature reminds me who I am.  Nature reminds me what is important and what is not. Nature teaches me and reminds me of my boundaries – and then tells me to push myself further.  Nature and the sounds of the forest remind me why it is necessary to stand up for what I believe in and why it is necessary to get others to see and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors.  It is with sound of a bird’s song that I remember why I am about to hike across Canada.  It is while watching the flow of a clear clean stream over its river bed that I know where I want to be.  These are small town ideals I know.  They are sentimental and to some they sound silly.  But to anyone who has sat in a forest just listening, relaxed by a river just because, or who has climbed a hill simply to enjoy the view from the top they make sense.  Regardless, of how it might all sound to some, these are the things I hold close to me in moments of doubt.

And, as always, it was while reflecting on what I hope to do, what I hope to achieve, the memories I know I will make, the wonderful experiences I will have, and the people I hope to inspire to get out doors that got me back on track. 

I know these doubts will creep back in from time to time. On days when I am sore, when I am cold, or wet, or lonely. We all have doubts, but regardless of all of my uncertainties, I do not doubt the message I hope others will hear. For all my fears, and this temporary crisis of confidence, I will still be on the trail in June and heading west. I hope you will all join me in one form or another as we rediscover this great nation together, explore the landscape, and enjoy the great outdoors on Canada’s Great Trail. As always I invite you to Come Walk With Us across Canada as we seek to inspire you to get back into nature through birding.
See you on the trail!

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