Five years ago I asked myself “do I want an easy life, or an exceptional one?” I chose the latter…
Being caught in an unexpected event is all part of an adventure. Indeed, happenings beyond our control that force us to act and challenge us to make difficult choices are the core of what makes an adventure just that and not a comfy package holiday.
I knew this before joining the Ice Warrior Quest for the Inaccessible Pole. In fact, taking part in a challenge where the path to completion would be uncertain and depend upon so much that is beyond my control is what appealed to me. I wanted to see how I coped with the threat of failure; when giving my all was not enough.
Sometimes a hurricane of circumstance captures you and you get stuck. How you handle this is character defining; you can change direction like a boat tacking against the wind or you can thrash about before succumbing to the storm watching your hopes sink into dark waters.
The QPI team has just been thrown into such a storm. We’ve failed to get the money from potential sponsors in time. Our departure of February 2015 will now be delayed until 2016.
I have prepared to go to Arctic for the last year. I’m eager to go. I have quit my job, the contract on my room expires in 4 weeks. I’ve told everyone I know “this is definitely happening.” Now it is not. At least for another 12 months.
This life-changing opportunity has left me at the alter, holding nothing but my sled harness and ski poles. I feel embarrassed, disappointed and frustrated. A tidal wave of stress is about to spoil my sea of calm as I act responsibly and begin looking for work and a place to live, historically, not my strongest suit.
I’m angry at myself, the team, with our leader, Jim and the damned sponsors who never replied to emails.
In short, I’m getting exactly what I wanted from this endeavour!
Postponing has an upside; we can improve our skills; we’ll be fitter and stronger, mentally and physically; our scientific program can be expanded and our sponsors will get an extra 12 months of coverage.
I’m changing direction and not giving in. I’m building upon relationships and the training I’ve already received and believe I will be part of the team to reach the unconquered Everest of the Arctic.
Yes, the delay is disappointing but the chance to make this exceptional opportunity happen remains.