Calling it PAD sounds like I’m Incontinent.
It’s called Post Adventure Depression, or PAD. Which let’s face it, sounds far more dramatic than it needs to be, not to mention, like an advert for some product that should be named InContiGo or a “hip” line of Tampax.
“Does your uterus want to travel? Get PAD and go places.”
I jest, but post adventure depression, or blues (decline, recession, sadface, The Sad, mehs) is very real. Such is the way with things coloured on the depression spectrum there is a silver-lining though, a happy thought if you will of the ironic variety, that post adventure blues are experienced by a lot of adventurers. Many and Lots in fact. A scientific number too valuable to quantify out loud, but through my research, has been well documented by the likes of Dave Cornthwaite, Tom Allen, Paul Everitt, and Al Humphreys to name just a small hand’s worth. Quite honestly anyone that has been on an adventure will tell you that it’s pretty depressing trying to get back into the commuter traffic, the supermarket trolley dodging and everyone’s favourite, washing dishes in a sink. Especially after one has spent an entire trip’s worth perfecting the art of wild camping, peeing behind a rock, and dressing inconspicuously near bears after a bath in a lake.
Before I took part in the Mongol Rally, I already knew that when it ended, I’d be pretty funky. And not just from the lack of showers for extended lengths of time. My small foray into adventuring signalled to me that I would need to prep to curb the CLOUDS OF DOOM from raining all over my parade. Before I left for the Rally, I had just moved house. My bedroom has a “sky” ceiling just waiting for some glow stars and fairy lights to be added and pale green walls waiting for me to add some plants to it.
Why, yes, I am 5. And no, I don’t have a wendy house bed. Yet.
Upon my return, I got thrown into a very super-busy work period. This was also to be expected. September to January gets a bit lucrative in my trade out here in the Middle East. Which is fine, it does mean assimilating quickly and having to grab moments of time to finish going through footage for our editors. All of which, is not really helping the PADFace (Yes, I just said it out loud. No I won’t say it again…). You would think, that having glimpses of an adventure gone by and being able to relive moments and emotions would be helpful. And you would be justified in thinking so as many other adventurous types have proclaimed the usefulness and ease it offers in re-adjusting to a life more ordinary.
But I am a cynical sort, full of restless yearning and Coldplay.
For me, reviewing footage, looking over photos and cataloguing an adventure into blogposts and articles just pour salt on the wound. I’m reminded that I am not there anymore, or not in it, but in a cubicle lifestyle again. A daily regime filled with box like shapes and holes – none of which are potholes, trek paths or expansive shapes of space.
It’s at this point, the less initiated could tumble into the abyss. But I’ve clawed out of that abyss once before, and thanks to my painted ceiling, I have a clearer view of what I should do to crack away the plaster of PAD across my dial. Chip it out of my periphery vision. It’s a bit of a process, and one that is constantly under development, because, well, there’s only so many times you can vomit up that J.R.R. Tolkien mantra without going a bit stir crazy.
To combat these Post-Adventure Mehs, or PAM as I think we should now call it, I am taking a two-step approach.
I have made a list. And this is what is on it:
1. Mongol Rally 2014
2. Pan-American 2015
3. Iceland by bike
4. Move into a (cara)van. Simplify.
5. Te Araroa
6. Trek the Gold Rush by waggon (live history!)
7. Tasman Row
8. Antarctic Circumnavigation
9. Move onto a boat. Re-simplify.
10. Make another list.
Cross everything off the list.
Back in 2007, I had one thing on my list: the Tasman Row. I’ve yet to plan it out properly. It is my nemesis. In 2007 I couldn’t think where to start in planning, let along financing or sponsorship. These days, I feel I have more of a handle on where to begin. But first, I need to simplify. And it’ll be the simplifying process (along with some adventure planning) that will keep the PAM away.
And who doesn’t want to plan a gold rush trek from Pennsylvania to California? Right? Cross the Appalachian Mountains with dreams of gold nuggets and a strong disposition to fight against cholera and starvation. Living history!