Before you hit the road – the choice of destination and companions.

Text and photos: Aleksandra Dzik

7 October 2017

Whether youre an ordinary worker - a small cog in a large corporation or a poor student, or perhaps a Polish mother, whose children grew up and no longer require such care as in the past. One day THIS will get you. THIS - the desire to experience something extraordinary, adventures far from the common tracks, the comfortable hotels, the world of plastic money and plastic smiles.

The road is far away from the appearance of the penetrating mind thoughts, to the magical moment when the aircraft door shut behind us. The dream often remains unfulfilled, precisely because the preparation and organization scare us. Simply because I have never done anything like that. Well, and who will I go with, since everyone else is still working and no one has the time? Besides I am not fit enough, I dont have skills, equipment and knowledge about what is going to happen. So how to go about it at all and what to start with?

We should start with choosing a destination. The destination which is specific, attractive, ambitious but realistic. Before making the first step in organizing it, lets consider all limitations of our plan: financial, temporal, fitness and health. We should analyze preferred time when our project is most likely to succeed. First of all, at the beginning let us answer the question, what do we really expect from our trip and what kind of trip is it going to be. For one, an attempt of the ascent of the virgin walls in the Himalayas is an extreme trip, for another extreme trip is hitchhiking tour in Europe. Adventures cannot be measured, and everyone has to find a golden mean between safety boredom and crazy risk-taking. It is important to make your dream a goal, not to prove anything to anybody or yourself.

If we have little idea about traveling alone or sports, we would like to try, if we do not know the language and the culture of the countries we would like to visit, we should look for professional advice. Instead of proving our independence by all means, its better to hire guides or instructors rather than learn from own mistakes. Its not a shame. "Its a shame", however, to get into trouble by our own recklessness.

When the destination starts to take shape, there comes another question: who can I realize this goal with? And here comes the problem, contrary to appearances, it is sometimes bigger than money. When we set the bar high, suddenly we may find that the people with whom we shared a dream for a far, long and extreme trip, simply give up. Work, family, time, money ... or maybe just the lack of courage, often leave us with great plans only. Trusted partner is a great and a rare treasure. If we do not have one, there are two options, both quite risky. We can make the goal real with people not necessarily well known or those we would not necessarily want to work with, or take the challenge alone. It is hard for me to moralize here, dissuading either, or both alternatives.

I happened to go on a very dangerous seven- thousander with newly-met team, while the other I ascended alone. The only excuse I have is that I knew that this team was strong and very experienced. During ascending the second mountain I climbed alone in the upper parts. But in both cases, I knew I was doing something not necessarily reasonable, something that could cost me a lot. So what, it is still possible. But dont lose your head. And be aware of the great risk you take.