Living in North Adams to attend school has it merits. Despite the town crumpling to economic duress, the empty shop windows staring out almost more blatantly than those still in business, this town is tucked away, surrounded by mountains. And in the few years I have lived here, I have not taken advantage of that. Why? Because I, like so many, have become lazy. Content to sit in front of a computer for hours on end, becoming addicted to checking trivial things like Facebook and Myspace, happy to live my life through writing. All these adventures that exist in the endless World Wide Web, while right outside the window the mountains loom in challenge, a challenge that has yet been confronted.
And yet, sitting in my apartment and watching the movie 'Into the Wild' and admiring the adventures of Alex Supertramp, one can't help but feel it's impossible to grasp such possibilities. True the story is fictional, but it's not completely out there. The world has changed, it's not as safe as it used to be, but to be paralyzed by fear, the doubt of meeting that one person who'll decide to attack you and justifying laziness with this fear is making me sick, not to mention stir crazy. Why can't I follow in the footsteps of the Supertramp and become one myself? What is it that anchors me into what society wishes me to be. Go to school, get the degree, get a job, make money. Spend my life doing what I don't want to be doing. A slave to the capitalism that has overrun our country, trying desperately to catch up to the ever increasing materialistic nature of my peers.
Was there ever a law saying I couldn't just pack up some food and go on a damn hike? In a way, yes. Rules set by parents to be 'sensible' and stay nice and safe in what becomes nothing more than a cage. The demands of professors who want this and that done or else they'll fail you, and it doesn't matter what you were doing, if that paper or that reading wasn't done you'll fail and then what happens to all that money that was spent to come here in the first place? Rules about gender, it's far too dangerous for a woman to travel and hike alone, isn't it? I can say that is false, we may present more of a target, but in a way that works to the advantage too. We're usually underestimated. Of course caution is needed, that's why I'll have implements to keep myself safe on these trips.
I'm starting out easy, or easy enough anyway. I've climbed Mt.Greylock before, but it was with a group of rowdy members of my class who made the experience more stressing than relaxing. I couldn't fully enjoy myself with them whooping and hollering the whole way to the top and then spending just mere minutes on the summit before wanting to go back and get to partying. I want to do this alone and therefore I getting prepared tonight. I've got food, water, protection, the right footwear and the right clothing set aside for an early wake up call. I'll have to walk to the closest place to reach the mountain, which means walking to Williamstown and going from there. I know the way because my father, my stepmom and myself drove to the summit on their last visit. Not quite so exhilarating, but the view was nice.
I can only hope that this will be the start of something greater. I'll have to follow the role of society still for a while. I've come too far in my education to stop now and so I'll finish as I planned, I'll work during the summer and save money and then, it's off for the wilderness.