The physical challenge

Recently I lamented the divide between indoorsy and outdoorsy people. I’d like to be more outdoorsy. But I feel like the outdoorsy world is so geared to outdoorsy people. I can’t figure out what kind of gear I really need, or whether a particular hike will be pleasantly challenging or a sweaty nightmare where I’m terrified that I won’t make it back alive before nightfall.

As a result, my outdoors experience is seriously lacking. I’ve never done an overnight camping trip. Never done much in the way of hiking. Canoe trips and bike rides, just really easy stuff. Nothing really … outdoorsy.

There are lots of things I’ve never done, though–acted on stage, played in a poker tournament, hit a baseball. I don’t feel bad about these gaps. But complete an outdoorsy physical challenge? For whatever reason, I feel a need to fill this particular one.

To be clear, it’s not really about fitness. I have no desire to run a marathon, or complete a triathlon, or do a Tough Mudder. But some kind of longer-term, woodsy, camping-type of experience is appealing.

So what’s the plan you ask? Well …

I’m not sure when I first learned about the Shikoku 88 Temple pilgrimage in Japan. I think from my friend Patrick. It’s a 1200 kilometer, circular pilgrimage around Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. The route visits 88 temples, located at places where Ku-kai, founder of the Shingon or “True Word” school of Buddhism, is believed to have visited in the 9th century. Many people complete the pilgrimage for religious reasons. Some devout Buddhists, others interested in the spiritual experience.

So why do I want to do it? That’s for another post …

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