The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Pair of Pants

What have I gotten myself into? I’m standing there, reading the tags of pants to find out what material the pants are made of, remembering Darrell’s words of wisdom in class about not wearing cotton for the excursion. Tossing another pair of cotton-filled pants to the side like a bag of garbage, I look through more clothes. The sound of the hangers screeching across the metal bar is really getting on my nerves by this point; I’ve already listened to that hideous noise for six hours and here I stand putting myself through another gruelling half hour of it.

Who am I even kidding? Why did I even sign up for this course?! I have no idea what I’m doing! I think as I viciously toss pair after pair of pants aside as if they have gotten up of their own accord and kicked my dog. The fact that I have plenty of outdoor experience is totally irrelevant in my mind right now. The only thing I can think of is how wildly underprepared I am in the way of material items for this trip. I’m a planner. I always have been, and I always will be. Half the reason I’m so nervous for this excursion to the middle of nowhere Minnesota is because I have no idea what I will need when I’m out there! I mean, I understand the basics of winter wear and what you need for winter camping. That seven years of girl guides had to teach me something, right? The concept of layering clothes is not beyond my brain’s capacity. What is beyond my brain’s capacity is the idea of not having any of the necessary things to survive in the wild. Evidently, I do not do unprepared very well.

I realise I’m standing in the aisle holding a black pair of pants that I haven’t taken the time to look at yet. Then, the tag catches my eye and my heart skips a beat. Do my eyes deceive me or did that say ’base layer’ on it? I think excitedly as my fingers scramble for the tags. I may actually start to sob in the middle of the store if this is what I’m looking for. Finally, I grasp the tag tightly in my grip and I see that I am, in fact, correct! I have found base layer clothing in this god forsaken store that has frankly started to suck the life out of me. I cheer in excitement and the woman two racks away from me looks at me as if I am crazy. I couldn’t care any less at this point. I am all but doing a happy dance in the middle of the store. I quickly shuffle to the other side of the rack where the outdoor active wear shirts are and paw through the clothes with renewed vigor, looking for a base layer shirt to match my pants. I let out another scream of victory as I find the perfect shirt! It’s even the same brand as the pants and even better, it’s pink! Oh, glorious day! I realise by the awkward stares I am now getting from the couple in the home department that I may have been a little louder than intended. I still don’t care. Sorry, not sorry!

I walk up to the cashier with my spirits a little higher than they were. It’s only two items, but already I feel a little better, a little more prepared. My excitement to start my adventure grows as I start thinking about skiing and dog sledding in my new found gear. I have a long way to go to be totally ready, but at least I have made the first step. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, right?!

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