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Teachings From the Trail: Isolation

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

A glimpse into my pre-covid experience at the Iditarod Trail Invitational 2020.

On March 7th, after finishing a remote winter bike expedition in Alaska, the abrupt passage from frozen isolation along the Iditarod Trail to global social isolation made me contemplate what it means to be alone, away from human contact.

Months later, I continue to find similarities in my experience from an event I chose, the Iditarod Trail Invitational @itialaska to finding myself dealing with an event I didn't choose, a  global pandemic.

I am the type of person who likes being alone. I spend hours on the trail by myself. I gravitate to multi-day self-supported events. I love the cycling community and big group events. But I am inherently drawn to the remote events that are far off the beaten path. I choose isolation in nature as my tool for moving meditation, undistracted time to reflect and learning to rely on myself. Physically exploring the world around me, allows me to also explore internally, in my heart and mind.  A remote, self-supported, arduous physical journey like the Iditarod Trail removes basic comforts such as shelter, warmth, food, and human interaction. You are your only support or rescue. Stripping away the extraneous, the essence of who you are, what you need, what is important suddenly rises to the surface. Clarity, purpose and self-reliance  arrive in this type of isolated environment. When you rejoin, reconnect with people over a simple cup of warm tea, you come to understand how truly precious those simple things are. Then, we realize the many other distractions that fill our days are not essential after all.

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