As the time to leave draws closer we have begun to share our plans with friends, family, and others we come into contact with. Those close to us have typically responded with an even mix of skepticism and support, while those who don't know us well (or at all) have reacted with disbelief and sometimes questioning of our sanity. Only a very few have expressed the desire to actually do what we are doing...but because of ties to people and material posessions they feel they cannot walk away.
All generalities aside, I have most been affected by the subtle differences between how people react to Mike undertaking this journey versus how they react to ME undertaking it. A woman making the decision to trek across the country seems to make a whole lot less sense to people than a man doing so...because of this my reasons for making such a decision have been questioned, as well as my ability to actually follow through and survive the experience. Most commonly it has been suggested that I am doing this because I know it's something Mike has wanted to do as opposed to doing so of my own free will.
Let me squash that suggestion immediately...while I do know that Mike has wanted to undertake a journey like this for practically his entire life, what is not as well known is that I have had the same desire for most of MY life. I have been a lot less vocal about it than he has to those we come in contact with but, of course, have privately shared my thoughts with him on the subject numerous times over the past two years that we've known each other.
My first inclination was anger..how dare anyone question my intentions or my strength. My second (after a cool-down period) was understanding...this society is still bred to view women as physically and emotionally weaker than men, regardless of numerous attempts to change it. The fact is women ARE physically and emotionally different than men...and that's the key word...DIFFERENT. It doesn't mean we aren't capable of facing and handling difficult challenges to our bodies and minds, we just have alternate ways of doing so. Ultimately, however, I feel that this fact has not been fully realized by the general population because most women don't do what it takes to PROVE it. Instead, they stay within the confines of the expectations this society has of them and accept that it's all they are capable of.
I refuse to be one of those women...I know I am capable of greater things and am intent on discovering just what those things are!
6 days and counting...