A few months ago, a close family friend gave us a long chart detailing the many stops from Hobbiton to the fires of Mt. Doom, deep in the land of Mordor. Of course, one does not simply walk into Mordor, but if you wanted to pretend, you could chart your daily walking progress on this sheet and see about where your miles would correspond in Middle Earth. If you're curious, check out the trek's possible origins on Eowyn's Challenge.
Today, as I crossed the 100-mile mark on my treadmill desk progress, I toyed with the idea of journeying to a fiery volcano. However, the lava-drenched peak you see here is not Mt. Doom. It's the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica.
See, Costa Rica tops my list of must-see travel destinations. It's a land of pristine nature, incredible culture, breathtaking scenery, and maybe, just maybe, somewhere I could get my kids to learn Spanish. If I'm going to walk somewhere, especially to a volcano, I want it to be there.
Of course, it's a long way from Hillsboro, Oregon -- which can sound a little like "Hobbiton" if you're really drunk -- to Costa Rica. Almost 4,300 miles by car, actually. But I would be walking, not driving, and since this is an imaginary trek, I can forget about some of the little details, like running out of money and dodging Mexican drug cartels. Given that, where would I stop along the way?
Well, I've always wanted to walk from home to Cannon Beach, which is about 70 miles on foot. Cannon Beach is the closest thing I have to a spiritual Mecca. It's a tiny little coastal town filled with wonderful people and a lifetime of scattered memories for me. If I'm going to start a quest, Cannon Beach is where I'd want to begin.
And then where? I played around with Google Maps for a while and arrived at a fanciful route:
Why go through this silly exercise? It goes back to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and that whole 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery concept. If you read Outliers, you'll find that Gladwell asserts repeatedly that 10,000 hours of dedication are needed to reach the top of any field, be it music or business or sports or whatever. However, what you don't hear repeated is Gladwell's note about how one can make a decent living in a field with, say, 2,000 to 5,000 hours of practice.
Once upon a time, I aspired to be the next Stephen King. That would be great and all, but these days, I just want to pay the bills and send my kids through college. Given the time I've already put into working on writing fiction, I think a walk to Arenal Volcano might do the trick. A distance of 4,800 miles divided by a walking speed of 2.5 MPH gives us 1,920 hours of walking...and fiction writing. (That's also about half a million calories burned for you fitness freaks.)
Maybe this is all a nutty psychological game. Or maybe it's an adventure in pursuit of a dream. Whatever. Everybody needs their own crutches and motivations. Maybe I'll make it to Arenal and maybe I won't. But I'm already 25 miles past Cannon Beach...and I'm not looking back.
William has been working in the tech field since 1991, when he began his long journey through working for a manufacturer's rep, being a distributor, moving into retail and corporate sales, shifting into journalism, and gradually transitioning into content marketing. In 1997, he sold his first articles to local computer magazines. By 1998, he was a full-time tech freelancer and now produces content for several of the industry's top companies.