Sunday, December 05, 2004

Moving through Space

The concept took shape years ago, when a friend and I were sitting around after a day of biking or sailing or climbing.

"It's all about moving through space," he said. "We find these different ways to move through space."

When the leader of a mountaineering group asked each member why we climb, I said, "For the scenery."

That may seem like an inadequate reason to undertake the inconvenience and risk of a mountain journey, but it's a very survivable one.

I did poorly at sailboat racing because I enjoyed the ride more than the race. Going fast was nice, but the tactical side just got in the way of appreciating the scenery. Every sailing venue was different. Even the routine venues would be different on different days.

A little competition added some enjoyment as long as we didn't eat our guts out when things didn't go well. But then gut eating is the mark of one who truly cares. Winners devote themselves to winning. Even if they don't let themselves get destructively upset by a setback, they do everything in their power to avoid that setback in the future. Focus on the event. Banish the peripherals.

In a touring mentality one can take some of the efficiencies of the racer and use them to travel more effectively. No point wasting energy. But the tourist has the freedom to lighten up, to look around and notice what would be unimportant details to the competitor. The trophies one gains by that never need dusting.

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