A lot of people don’t understand my life. This makes sense because I don’t get how most people spend their time either. I guess that living with a goal of accumulating wealth and comfort is normal. It just seems I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to live with neither. Now I don’t mind comfort. I like my house. I like turning the heat on in the winter, but I never feel more alive than when I struggling with the elements. It’s like Bud said, “Most people spend their time trying to avoid tense situations. Repo man spends his life trying to get into tense situations.”
One of my favorite mountaineering quotes is from Kiwi George Lowe, which was recounted by Ed Hillary in an old out-of-print book about his life called Nothing Venture, Nothing Win. I probably can’t remember it verbatim but it went something like this: They were trapped on a Himalayan mountain for something like seven days. Hillary recalls, “I don’t remember much about the storm except that somewhere around day three or four George came over to my tent, stuck his head inside and said, ‘Ya know, Ed, some people wouldn’t think this was fun.'”
My buddy Ben just did a huge first ascent down in Patagonia, an area famous for its discomfort. To most people, this probably looks a tad psycho. When I see it, my heart aches with longing to be out there with them.