Ever since I signed up for the GIP Patagonia excursion this past summer, I’ve been trying to imagine the upcoming expedition. Through reading previous year’s blogposts and looking at photographs of past treks, I have a vague idea of what to expect from the Patagonian landscape – magnificent scenery, starry night skies, and volatile weather that can swing from downpour to sunshine within an hour. However, I’ve found it almost impossible to imagine the emotions and feelings I will experience, from the full-body fatigue after grueling daylong hikes with a 60-pound bag to the euphoria of conquering a particularly challenging climb or river crossing.
As someone who likes to plan ahead, the ambiguity and uncertainty of how I will handle a 10-day hike is admittedly a bit nerve-wracking. To offset the anxiety, I’ve spent the past few months mentally and physically preparing myself, including a daylong hike in the Catskills with the Leadership Lab and carrying a 40-pound backpack (full of weights and textbooks) around Brooklyn and Central Park. Of course, New York City is not Patagonia. Similar to practicing for a competition, performance, or presentation, it’s impossible to simulate the conditions of the actual event, but hopefully the practice (no matter how artificial) has prepared me to better deal with the unexpected.
My classmates and I will be flying to Chile in less than a week, and I think all of us are walking the fine line between excitement and anxiety for what’s to come. Outside of individual preparation like mine, as a class we’ve spent the last semester discussing decision-making under pressure, learning about trekking gear and equipment, and practicing wilderness techniques like administering first aid and reading topographical maps. I think we’re as ready as we’ll ever be for the expedition, and I’m looking forward to finally stop anticipating and start experiencing.
Sho Fujiwara ’18