Sunday, December 20, 2009

Follow Your Dreams. Always

Still recovering from my trip to Ecuador. There will be plenty of time to talk about the raw beauty of the Ecuadorian countryside and the wonderful indigineous culture I encountered. Truth is, mountain climbing is still on my mind.

While I was able to climb the northern side of the Illinizas volcano I stopped short of summiting Cotopaxi (5,900m/19,347 feet) by about 350 meters. At that point, I made the decision that I just couldn't go on. And it wasn't because of the altitude. From the start of my ascent I had been battling the worst stomach bug I've had in years (thanks to a couple of yummie street donuts I ate on the way to the volcano) plus I had developed severe congestion in my sinuses. Every breath up Cotopaxi was laborious. Every step a reminder that my stomach wanted to explode.

At about (5,550m/18,200 feet) I had a flashback to a time of similar distress somewhere in the Oregon desert. Back then, a bit vanity and bravado mixed with just plain stupidity put me in a pretty dangerous situation. Not this time. At that point I turned to my guide and said, “no mas/no more.” It was a good decision.

I may not have made the summit. But at least I tried. I fucking tried. And that is more than some people are willing/able to do.

I've said it before. I'll saw it again. Follow your dreams. Always.


Lauren said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed Ecuador. It's really beautiful, no? Next time, a little coca tea will help to soothe your stomach, and acclimate you to the altitude. :)

I can't wait to read all about your next adventure!

Family on Bikes said...

I couldn't agree more! Life is way too short to put your dreams on the back burner and let them smolder to death.

My husband and I made the decision to follow our dreams and are having the time of our life biking from Alaska to Argentina with our two boys. Yes, we will be poorer when we retire, but we will have a wonderful bank full of memories and no regrets! I don't wanna be old and gray sitting in my rocker saying, "I wish I woulda..."


Debbi said...

F*cking A! You've still accomplished more than many people. Just consider this a practice run for your next climb.

Gorgeous photos, BTW.

LissaK said...

OK this may sound lame but I really have to tell you - dude you are really a serious fucking inspiration. You have grabbed life by the balls and lived it. You have more courage that most. And it is incredible to see what you have done and the potential for what you will do in this next year. Thanks for sparking my imagination and hopes.

Take care and get well soon!

Suz said...

Good going! One of my favorite sayings is "You haven't failed until you've stopped trying." Keep on going..

Marissa said...

Stop being ashamed of me. I know you won't publish this. But seriously, I'm a little offended. I gave you camera credit and linked to you, the least you can do is give me photo editing credit and link to me. This is a serious violation of e-rules.

Marissa said...

And I'm adding a second comment so you'll see that last one. Seriously, I know I'm an embarrassing person to be associated with, but COME ON!

I might have to smack you around a little for this. :)

Debbi said...

Give him one upside the head, Marissa! :) (Not that I'm taking sides or anything . . .)

Christian said...

This is my new favorite blog! You're so inspiring, keep it up

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
You're Angry Now, Which Means I'm Right said...

This blog is the biggest bunch of narcissistic bullshit I have ever seen. You have learned NOTHING. You have simply transferred your narcissism to a different set of behaviors.

No doubt your next step, when you are finished exploring the countries of "those poor, simple brown folks, but goshdarnit they sure are happy", will be to write a book about your "journey of enlightenment", go on talkshows, and charge exorbitant fees for speaking engagements. You're even dreaming about the intro now: "Coming up next, Jack Peckerhuffer had a $300K a year job with a prestigious law firm, but gave it all away to pursue his dreams. He's part of the Voluntary Simplicity movement, and he's going to share some ideas about getting back to basic living. Stay with us". That's what you want, isn't it?

Any way you look at it, you have not changed, and you are still going to die the same oedipal, narcissistic, overprivileged, empty sack of shit that you have always been. You are not going to find any answers, truth, or happiness.

Meanwhile, there are millions of people who would literally kill for the opportunities you have had in life, opportunities you have treated like so much excrement waiting to be flushed down the toilet. Flushed away and yet, LOOK, you still have an endless heap of shit to select from. Lucky you.

You want to know who belongs on the "Fuck you" list? You and you alone. Merry Christmas.

Jack said...


I wish it had been the altitude. Having that stomach bug was bad enough. And while I did have some coca tea, it just wasn't enought. Thanks for the comment.


That's the attitude I'm taking...


Yeah, although I'll probably wait a bit before getting back on the mountains.

Jack said...


Thanks for the kind words. I hope you keep reading.


That's pretty cool. Dig it.


Oh, come on, totally linked to your blog via facebook. :)

Jack said...


Bring it!


Won't be the first time. She hits hard.


Thanks man.

Jack said...

@your angry now...,

Beyond the bitterness, anger (ironic, given your name) and the vulgarity in your comment all I can say is that you are clearly not a regular reader.

1. not interested in publicity
2. not writing a book, etc...
3. dont make $ off this site, etc...

Life is too short to be consumed by so much anger and bitterness. If this blog generates so much angst I suggest you don't read it.

I sincerely hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Debbi said...

@Angry Guy Here's something to think about:

"The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders."
-- Foster's Law

"Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain -- and most fools do."
-- Dale Carnegie

Just sayin' . . .

Helene said...

Angry guy,
Tell us a little about yourself, why not?

Narcisssus Jones said...

An emerging theme in the psychology community is this:

Narcassism is at epidemic proportions in our society. "It is the reason why teenagers and adults obsessively hone their social media skills, screaming virtually: Look at me! Look at me!"

Perhaps you need to research all the people who have gone before you, and done things which you cannot imagine and have never heard of, because they didn't feel the need to draw attention to themselves.

You and Marissa should spend a lot more time together. You are peas in a pod.

Jack said...


Well put.


Don't think it's going to happen.

@Narcisssus Jones,

Did you seriously write your comment on Christmas Day? Do you not have a family with whom you could find peace and toss aside negativity and bitterness for just one day?

The irony of using a narcissistic comment on a public blog to accuse the author of narcissism is palpable.

Marissa said...

OK, not everyone needs to be around family for Christmas, so don't be too hard on NJ.

For one, a casino can be just as good. And not just for Jews and Asians! (I like to say offbeat, semi-racist things to get attention on the Internet.)

In fact, I spent one of my best Christmas' ever in a casino. (Sidebar: Although Xmas for me is technically on Jan. 7 as I am a baptized member of the Russian Orthodox Church -- this is a vital fact people in my ever-growing social media network should probably know about me, as well as how much I like sandwiches and tight pants and dislike post-Forrest Gump Tom Hanks and cats. These are important facts).

But sigh, all this talk about casinos and Christmas has got me feeling in the holiday spirit. Maybe I should find one here in Colombia! (Indeed, everyone should know where I am at all times and what I am doing and thinking every second. Speaking of, I better Twitter that I'm commenting on this blog right now...I don't want my followers to forget about me!). Anyway, there's just one problem with leaving my WiFi zone to play some Christmas craps -- I wouldn't be able to scour the Internet for mentions of me 24/7. I have an e-reputation to build, after all. (BTW, THANKS NARCISSUS JONES FOR THE E-SHOUT OUT! But next time you should link to my blog. It is way more narcissistic than this one...)


And thanks for your attention.


Chris said...


Do you have prior experience climbing? A former BIGLAW lawyer myself, I'm in the midst of discerning my next step in life, and the idea of climbing a mountain sounds pretty fucking cool and inspiring right now. The problem is that I have no prior climbing experience. Did you?

Jack said...

@Marissa ,

I don't think I need to add anything here. :)


Not at all. You can start at any level. Still working up to high altitude mountain... Go for it.