I’m About to Embark on a Quest!
Photo courtesy of Josh Sherrill.

I’m About to Embark on a Quest!

Written by Emilie

Topics: Adventure

Quest.

The word has been in my head a lot lately.

It’s Chris Guillebeau’s fault really. I cannot put down his new book, The Happiness of Pursuit.

Having completed his own quest to travel to every country in the world by his 35th birthday, Chris set out to talk with other people who had embarked on major quests. He writes about a teenager who sailed the world, a woman who taught her family about foreign cultures by cooking one dish from a new country each week, a guy who walked across America, and many other remarkable stories.

I’m enjoying the book partly because it’s so inspiring and fun to read, and partially because it seems to have arrived in my life at the exact right time.

My Quest

A few weeks ago, I hinted that I was preparing for a big adventure. Thanks to Chris’ book, I am now fairly certain that my adventure qualifies as a Quest. Here’s what I’m planning:

When I get back to Portland in a few weeks, I’m going to buy a pickup truck and camper. In early 2015, I will head out for 6 months to explore the Northwest. (The length of my quest may increase if I fall in love with the experience or feel as though I need more time). It will just be me and my dog, Grendel.

The goal isn’t specifically to travel, though I do wish to see more of the region. It’s more about living off the grid, outside of technology and urban life, and seeing how that impacts my health and worldview. I will be checking in with you guys and working at cafes with wifi in near-by towns once or twice a week. Other than that, I will mostly be disconnected, although I will have a cell phone in case of emergencies.

My plan is to spend my days hiking, reading, playing music, exploring odd towns, maybe even dropping into random yoga classes or going to some events in nearby towns if I feel like being around people. In other words, the structure for this quest is very loose, and that is intentional.

Why am I doing this?

Because I feel a deep sense that I must do it. As Chris writes in his book, many people who embark on quests simply feel a pull deep within, and once they come up with the idea, can’t get it out of their heads.

I don’t know what I’m going to find out there. I don’t know how this trip is going to change me. I do have a few guesses as to why I’m being pulled in this direction though:

1. A desire to unplug and live in peace

Living in Chicago this past year has made me crave nature, quiet, peace. It’s not just Chicago, which I find to be a very hard and chaotic city, it’s the modern world. It feels unnatural to me, living among concrete and chemicals, addicted to technology, and reachable at any given moment. I know it’s what most of us do, but there’s something very un-human about it.

I want to wake up around streams and trees and mountains. I want to put my feet in the dirt and know what it is to be human.

2. My health

I got very sick a few years ago. My recovery has been a long and slow process, and I’m doing much better now. I am still having some anxiety issues though, something that Chicago and everything I mentioned above contributes to.

I truly believe that living a slower-paced life, surrounded by nature is going to help me feel better than I have in years. I eat a paleo diet, so I plan on visiting farmer’s markets and co-ops along the way (thankfully these are relatively easy to find in Oregon and Washington).

3. Simplifying and learning how NOT to plan

I have a tendency to over-plan and then stress out about everything I “need” to do. On this quest I plan on leading a much simpler life. While my tendency is to set all kinds of goals to check off on my quest (climb mountains, write a solo album, write a memoir, etc.), the true goal for me is to learn how to be goal-less. To learn to live each day with nothing pressing that I must accomplish.

4. Gaining a sense of self-sufficiency

I come from a wonderful, upper middle class family, where comfort is a major driving force and discomfort is seen as something that serves no purpose and should be avoided.

I also come from a world where the mind matters more than the physical domain. Throughout my childhood, I spend many hours at cultural events, but relatively zero hours camping. I learned how to write an A+ essay, but I never learned how to change a tire. I never even learned how to properly clean a house or paint my own walls (though I picked that stuff up after receiving numerous lectures from roommates in my early twenties).

I’m grateful for the opportunities that my upbringing has afforded me. But I’m also sick of feeling incompetent and uncomfortable in certain settings that aren’t ACTUALLY dangerous.

Although I will not be ruffing it in any real way (my camper will have a bed, stove and probably a flushing toilet), this quest still feels extremely foreign to me. The idea of even owning a pickup truck feels foreign to me.

My hope is that I will gain a real sense of confidence and self-sufficiency out there. That I will walk away feeling capable and strong.

The Parameters

In The Happiness of Pursuit, Chris sets out the various components of a quest. One of these components is that a quest must have a clear goal.

This presents a bit of a problem for me, since the point of my adventure is to try to be less goal-oriented and learn to live in the moment. However, I recognize the purpose of having a goal, and so I’ve set a deadline. I will be out there for at least 6 months. This way, I won’t hit a rough patch two months in and call it quits. If I reach my end point and wish to keep going, I can always extend my goal.

The only other rule is that I am not allowed to use the internet or text outside of my 1-2 work days per week. The exceptions are, of course, emergencies and to check in with my partner and family.

Not Quite a Review…

As you may have noticed, I haven’t exactly written a review of The Happiness of Pursuit. Nonetheless, I highly recommend the book for anyone who wants to be inspired to make a major (or even a minor) shift in their life and gain a greater sense of purpose and adventure. It’s a great read.

And if you’re already planning something big or have an itch that has been hard to ignore, this book will provide you with plenty of wonderful advice and inspiration to help you shape your quest.

The Happiness of Pursuit comes out on September 9 (pre-order it here). And the happiness of MY pursuit you will be able to read about right here in the coming months.

Your Turn

Have you ever embarked on a major quest? Or is there a quest that you’re planning right now?

em_bioEmilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.

72 Comments

  1. Jo says:

    I am so excited for you. And I love your reasons for doing this. I also want to be able to do practical things and be outside more. You’ve made me miss living in my car and reignited my love of tiny houses.

    I’ve realised this past week that I live my life trying to fit in around other people. I think I need to be more selfish and remember some of my old goals. I’m free right now (no kids, etc.), so if there’s something big that I want to do, I should do it. Though of course the problem, as always, is focusing enough on just one thing and earning enough money.

    I’m so curious to see what your quest turns into and how it changes you. Go you :-)

    • Emilie says:

      Thanks Jo. I think putting yourself first is really important. I also think that the world ultimately benefits most when we are taking care of ourselves, happy and refreshed. That’s when we do the our best work anyway.

      I’m excited to see what plans you have up your (twisted) sleeve (haha), too. Travel and tiny houses are certainly super inspiring things…

  2. Cedric says:

    Emily,

    I wish you the very best on your quest. It’s not something I personally wish to pursue, but I can understand its appeal. In the end, it’s really just a question of what we choose to prioritize in life :-)

    I have a good friend who had backpacked from Malta (South of Sicily – Europe), all the way up to Norway with a blind dog he had rescued from an abusive household. In Norway, he spent months living with a sledge dog trainer where he practically worked for food and shelter. It is an amazing story. If you wish, I can get you in ouch with him, maybe he can share a few thoughts with you. I promise you he is the most endearing guy ever.

  3. AJ says:

    Emilie:

    I think this quest is an awesome idea! I, like you, think we get too caught up in the urban lifestyle. And I don’t even live in a big city!

    Funny that you post this today, since last night me and my wife were talking about an idea we’ve had for a while. We’d like to buy some property out in the country and have our own little farm. We love nature and we want to make sure our children grow up to appreciate how important it is to stay in touch with it.

    By the way, Chris’ book is on my list of reads for this coming month. Can’ wait!

    All the best in this quest/adventure/journey for both You and Grendel.

    AJ

  4. Lauren says:

    This is wonderful, and *exactly* what I’m craving too. I’m really excited for you. When I unplugged (though not completely) and travelled Asia last year one of my biggest joys was being able to read a book per week, sometimes more, and those books shaped my thinking today :)

    • Emilie says:

      I love that, Lauren. I am a painfully slow reader right now, and I have trouble reading for more than a few minutes at a time, so I think this is a great goal for me. Maybe not aiming for exactly 1 book/week, but certainly prolonged periods of reading. That sounds delightful.

      What plans do you have up your sleeve? Let me know if you’d like to come to America in the new year and swing by the Northwest for a bit. We can go hiking and have some tea. :)

  5. Charles Tutt says:

    I’m looking forward to your adventure reports Emily.

  6. Willena says:

    Just a word of advice: While you might buy a used camper, don’t buy a used pickup truck. A camper puts a lot of extra strain on the engine and brakes, so indulge in a good truck and you won’t find yourself halfway up the mountain and not able to continue or halfway down and finding yourself with no way to slow down! And join the Good Sam RV Club. (My family did a lot of trailer camping when I was a kid. I LOVE campgrounds.)

    And if you find that the Northwest isn’t enough for you, wander on down South and get in touch.

    • Emilie says:

      Hey Willena,

      I appreciate what you’re saying about the truck. Unfortunately a new truck just isn’t in my budget. I will, however, make sure to buy a newER used truck. :)

      The Good Sam RV Club looks pretty cool, but their site is overwhelming! What services of theirs are most useful?

      Thanks for the advice!

      • My parents have a Good Sam membership, and it was super helpful when we moved from Alberta to Alabama and back (we did this by driving and pulling a trailer behind us so we could camp all the way). There are a ton of discounts they offer, with the most immediately helpful ones being discounts at their campgrounds and at certain gas stations, and also their travel planner.

        Something else that was super helpful was knowing that Good Sam campgrounds are always good sites. There was no worry about whether we’d have full hookups, whether we’d have enough space, or whether the campground itself would be clean. They also have good showers at those sites, and that is a godsend.

        The quality assurance continues with the gas stations (Pilot in Canada, Flying J in the States). Our favourite to stop at was Flying J Travel Centers (even though the American spelling looks wrong to me :P ), because their bathrooms were always pretty clean for gas station bathrooms, they had lots of space for us to pull in and park, and they had a good convenience store.

        The travel planner made it easy to figure out how long it would take to get to campsites, which route would be the best for finding them, and about when we’d probably need to gas up.

        Basically, we were moving from one country to another, travelling with (and living in) a trailer for the first time, and that was darn scary. I don’t know when we actually got a membership, but we clued in pretty quickly, after staying at a few of their campgrounds, that they had a good thing going. And they ended up being huge in giving us peace of mind about our travels.

        Gah. I sound like an advertisement. But, seriously, Good Sam is super, super helpful. All of their services are useful, and they really do live up to their name and logo.

  7. Christina says:

    Emilie, this SO exciting and I’m very happy for you that you’re taking such a big step. I’m not sure what my “quest” is yet, but I hope to find it soon (perhaps with the help of Chris’ book!).

    And I completely understand where you’re coming re: writing the A+ paper but not having the everyday, practical ‘life skills’ that can get you out of a jam. Working on that one myself. :)

    Congrats on your upcoming adventure — I’m sure it will affect your life in positive ways both expected and not. Living in a big city (I know, because I live in downtown Toronto) definitely makes you crave a return to nature and simplicity.

    I wish you all the very best as you move forward with making your quest a reality. :)

    Cheers,
    CP

  8. Mario says:

    Hi, what’s going to happen to the putty peeps, will someone continue with the group, or will you pause till further notice? Either way great call, wish I had the courage to do something like that. Chicago can be hectic depending on what part of the city you live in.

    • Emilie says:

      Hey Mario,

      Thanks for asking. :) I actually don’t think things will change much. I should be able to fit all of my putty-related activities into my two work days per week. I may expand my team a little and outsource a few more things, but I will definitely still be around the Tribe, still blogging, writing weekly email, etc.

      Getting all of this in place is part of the reason I’m waiting till January to head out on the road.

  9. Deb H says:

    Wow! What a huge adventure and quest. It sounds awesome, though it doesn’t tempt me (I don’t do bugs and outhouses ;-)
    I have embarked on a recent quest too. Small by comparison but needing to go Paleo myself now, I’m finding it a huge challenge for this cab, sugar and dairy junkie. Any hints in this direction would be welcome!

    Good luck and stay safe. I may suggest you look at a small motor-home. You can get from the driver’s cab to the “house” part without getting out of the vehicle if you are not comfortable with your surroundings.

    • Emilie says:

      Good for you, Deb! Dietary changes like that are not easy. A lot of people go too low carb when they’re switching to a paleo diet. But I found that eating a moderate amount of starch (potatoes, yucca, taro, etc.) every day really helps reduce my sugar cravings. My hormones also get all messed up when I go too low carb. We are all different though, so make sure to listen to your body.

  10. Eileen says:

    This is fantastic. I spent January-May of this year roadtripping with my best friend. We developed a unique little culture in our car, had an uncountable number of moments I will never forget, and made such amazing friends. We spent a five or six weeks in the northwest. If you want some ideas (Hells canyon, Idaho in general, and the Ape caves all hidden gems in my book) check out our blog: freeformblue.wordpress.com

    but mostly, just enjoy the journey :)

  11. Aurora says:

    Emily,
    I admire your courage! What a wonderful quest to embark upon and i look forward to hearing of your adventures and learnings. Stay safe.

  12. Daniel says:

    that’s amazing! I feel excited for you.

    Soon I want to do the same. Escape from the concrete jungle full of nonsense (materialism, consumism, technology) WE DON’T NEED ALL OF THAT.

    “… It feels unnatural to me, living among concrete and chemicals, addicted to technology, and reachable at any given moment.”

    Here in my country, Bolivia, life is not that modernized/urbanized as in United States or Europe…so it’s kinda interesting to be on the road without being able to find technology and all the stuff of big cities.

    Good luck with your quest!

  13. Johanna says:

    Yay! I’m really excited for you! I’m striving to live a simpler life myself and understand why you want to do this quest. My family used to go kayaking a lot when I was a kid and spending lots of time and living in the middle of nature is great for the soul. I’m wishing you all the best!

  14. Morgan Siem says:

    I wish you the very best on your quest, sweet friend. Thanks for always leading the charge for all of us toward living the lives that we love and that nurture our spirits.

  15. Sharon says:

    My heart did a little hapoy dance for you. You will
    Ewrn so much about yourself. I’ve lived completely off-grid, albeit briefly. It’s an interestig adventure.
    Enjoy it!
    :)
    Sharon

  16. carol says:

    Hi there Emilie

    How awesome! How brave and most fortunate. To have the time to be able to check out like this, as well as the funds to be able to unplug is just really great! I so look forward to reading about your journey.

    I went to India on a quest. Although it was not a long quest like the one you plan, it was nonetheless a spiritual quest and to attend teachings. I like what you say about a level of discomfort/challenge, that is also not unsafe. I had the idea for years that I might like to live in a monastery in India or Nepal. What my dream did not take into account, is that I am quite physically fragile and get sick, especially on my journeys to Asia, pretty violently sick and ended up in hospital in Thailand, with what they thought might be a collapsed kidney. Luckily it wasn’t. I realised that I did not have the physical stamina for a long stay in India.

    I am an African Violet and not a Daisy. Your idea sounds well thought out with just the right degree of safety and challenge. I wish you wondrous experiences and may you find deep fulfillment in your ventures.

    • Emilie says:

      Thank you, Carol. The funds part is a work in progress. But I’ve been wanting to get Puttylike running more-or-less without me anyway, so this quest is good motivation for me. Luckily living in the woods isn’t very expensive.

  17. I’m so excited for you! I live in rural California, but plan to move to the very northwest corner of Washington within the next year or two. It’s such a lovely area, and I always feel less anxious and more “real” when I’m there.

  18. Helen says:

    Wow Emilie, you’re inspirational indeed. I wish you the best of lucks. <3

  19. Tom says:

    “scientist(redacted)carpenter” Ha ha ha.

    Your writing always brings me a chuckle.

    Quests bring change. Maybe the Puttylike worry you’ll get lost and we’ll lose your words.

    However, I’m sure you’ve already heard the chorus of caution. Better to listen to the above commentators’ encouraging song. Live long and spiritually prosper!

    • Emilie says:

      Heh glad you noticed that. I realized that my bio was already outdated. (Surprise.) But I may continue modifying that line. :)

  20. Jordan says:

    Good for you Emily! My partner and I have been talking about the same thing. Getting an RV, and taking 6 to 9 months in 2015 and traveling from Canada, through the northwest and Utah and the entire west coast, all the way down Baja. Popping into strange towns, living a simpler/slower life adventure is appealing to me. Maybe it has something to do with once you turn 30? I feel the pull for a similar quest. Just gotta get some emergency funds going to make it happen ;) I’m excited for you! And curious what new perspectives you’ll gain. Follow your bliss.

  21. Evelina says:

    This sounds amazing! I hope you have a great adventure and find the peace that you seek. Thank you for the book suggestion and all your posts thus far. I am finally getting more comfortable with my own urges to just go and explore the world (it is not going away) and learn about all the things there are.

    Be safe and and I can’t wait to read your future reports.

    Go you!

    ~Evelina

  22. Cristen says:

    Good luck trying not to plan! For me that would be the hardest part! I look forward to reading about your adventures. In our house we try to have “Technology-free Tuesdays”. No TV, video games, computer (except for work–it is hard to avoid that). I have friends who camp every weekend to get away from technology. They return feeling relaxed and refreshed. May you find what you need. :)

  23. Sally says:

    Hi Emilie

    This quest sounds like a wonderful opportunity for self rediscovery.

    I am embarking on my own quest in 2015 to travel from the East to West coast of the USA taking in a professional study tour or grass roots start ups, leading museums and arts festivals along the way.

    How do you plan to document and share your experience of living off grid?

    Best
    Sal

    • Emilie says:

      Wow, Sal. That sounds like an incredible journey, good for you!

      I’m not sure how I’m going to document the experience. I might write or take photos. I might also make music or visual art. Not sure yet.

  24. Daniel B. says:

    First, I’m still kind of reeling from the fact that you’re in Portland. So am I! All the interesting people seem to live here! I love my Rosie city!! :D

    I’m very excited for you, Emilie, and a little envious.

    In our modern culture, we don’t seem to have any rites of passage or [vision] quests of any kind, and I think that’s really sad.

    I’ve recently reached a place in my life where the quest idea is right on time, at least the notion of it is. (Financing it is a whole other thing…)

    I rather like the travel theme. I’ve always wanted to take a gap year, and just travel to strange places like Mongolia and Kerguelen, but I also like the idea of living in the outdoors. I’m a big fan of Tom Brown, the Tracker (https://www.trackerschool.com/default.aspx), and have also longed to spend an entire year as he did, living in the wilderness in Mother Earth’s arms.

    Either one would be a momentous rite of passage for me, and to be able to do both would be a huge blessing. If I had any pressing desires, that would urge me to make goals, it would be these two things.

    Of course, being one of the Puttytribe, I have other things I really want to do, lol. ^_^

    Anyway, have fun and be safe, Emilie. I can’t wait to see your updates, and I really want to read Chris’ book now!

    • Emilie says:

      Hey Daniel,

      Well I’m not in Portland YET. I will be in a couple weeks though. And my living there is entirely intentional. The city started calling to me a few years back, and it just feels like the right place for me. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. :)

      Good luck with your adventure, whatever you decide! Those options all sound incredible.

  25. Delia says:

    Good for you emily. I too love to travel without a plan and see what unfolds. It’s great to have the flexibility to stay if you like or move on if you don’t. One of my goals is to travel with the purpose of giving back rather than just consuming. So I’m off to Borneo in Malaysia in 2 weeks to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Never built anything before and itching to add to my large sack of skills and experiences. Plus rough it for a while. I look forward to hearing about your journey.

  26. Delia says:

    Oops sorry Emilie just realised I spelt your name wrong.

  27. Charity says:

    It is funny that you write about this now as I am planning to live this way soon. I am scared but excited at the same time. After finding out that my wishy washy ways had a name “Multipotentialite” many things have become clearer to me. At the same time I don’t feel I fit into society as a whole and believe that maybe this is and has always been my calling.

    I look forward to hearing about your journey as I experience mine at the same time. :)

  28. Zarayna Pradyer says:

    Emilie, I really must congratulate you in even considering, what I would find, a daunting venture. So exciting on so many levels.

    I am old enough to be your grandmother but my investigatory, greedy and over excited little mind goes on little mini-adventures every day. So in that spirit, perhaps I could ask you to be my ambassador of fun as you make plans to go forth and experience as much as you can and report back to us.

    I am even looking forward to your preparations!

    Kindest

  29. Jen says:

    Yay! I am so excited for you, Emilie! It sounds like quite an adventure. :)

    I have always been the outdoors type myself, and have dreamed of doing something similar for many years. I personally would love to get the guts (and funds!) to wander abroad as well. There is so much out there to see and do, but so many distractions right in front of us too.

    Enjoy your grand adventure, be safe, and see you on the other side!

  30. Rand says:

    I am so excited for you Emilie! I have been where you are going. I grew up in the Northwest, camping at the end of forest service roads, hiking the trails, climbing the mountains, and letting it all become part of my soul. I think if you were to state a goal, nothing would be better than just that, learn what it means to say your a Westerner, subspecies Pacific Northwesterner. There is a feeling to it and you will know it when you find it and it can only be found on a quest like you are going to undertake.
    I have been back and forth across the Nation four times and I would recommend that at some point but I think what you want now will be found where you are going.
    I look forward to your postcards from the road. Being safe is a real concern. The place is not the same as when I was growing up. Think Chicago with trees.
    When the time comes and you would like ideas of which fork in the road to take or whatever, email me.
    I am going to read Guillebeau’s books. I think I have one more quest left in me. One that has been taking shape in my mind is to hike the trails of Glacier National Park on my 70th birthday, 50 years after the summer I worked the same trails.

    • Emilie says:

      Your comment was so inspiring to read, Rand. Thank you.

      The thing is, I’m NOT a “Westerner, subspecies Pacific Northwesterner”. I’m actually from the East Coast. but I wish I was a Northwesterner.

      I guess maybe this is actually perfect for me then, since I plan on settling more-or-less permanently in Portland after I finish my quest.

      I appreciate what you’re saying about safety. I will be smart out there.

      Your quest sounds amazing, too. I hope I’m doing awesome things like that when I’m 70! Wow.

  31. Elli says:

    I must tell you that you’re speaking right from my heart. For some time, I’ve been thinking about this online world of the Internet as being something unreal and unnatural. When I work on the computer for a long time during the day, I go home with a sad smiley on my face. I don’t know what’s behind it. I just have that feeling inside my chest. Like you, I enjoy visiting the mountains and going for a walk to the woods because it gives me the feeling of independence and I love that fresh air. Your world without goals for every day seems perfect for me. I wish you the best on your journey. I would like to try something like that. Now, I see that it’s possible to decide to go on this kind of self-searching trip and then, actually do it. Admiring!

    • Emilie says:

      Thanks Elli. If I can do it (and we have yet to see if I can. :), so can anyone. Why not plan something for a little ways out? Or something smaller to start? Go for it.

  32. I’ve done a lot of camping, with tents, tent trailer, and trailer, so let me know if you have any questions or need any tips. I would be happy to help. :) So will other campers, who are, as a general group, friendly and helpful. They all totally understand what it’s like camping for the first time, and they’re generally quite relaxed because they’re on a vacation of some kind.

    Also, I would highly encourage you to camp on the coast at some point somewhere around Seal Rock. I’ve been there a couple of times with family, and it’s gorgeous and quiet. Cold, too, with a lot of wind, and the ocean might freeze your butt off, but the climate has conspired to make everything very, very green in the summer. There are trees along the coast bent by the wind, twisted back and small and captivating in appearance. There’s a lot of fog, and it will come and make ghosts of the vibrantly green trees so that you swear you’re in another world. In our favourite campground there, many of the individual sites looked like they were carved from the native sandstone, which was so soft that you could scratch it with a fingernail. And then there was the beach, with its wind-carved standing sandstone and the horizon that goes on and on. The humidity there is something wonderful for someone who has lived most of her life in an area that just barely escapes being defined as a desert. It’s easily one of the most beautiful place I’ve ever camped, right up there with the cedars and hemlock of the B.C. Pacific Rainforest. It might even top those. :)

    Anyways, I wish you all the best on your quest, and I hope the experience is exactly what you’ve been needing. :)

  33. Nicole says:

    Hey Emilie!
    This is what I spent most of my 20s doing. It’s freakin awesome. The main goal in my life, the one that stood atop my own personal mountain if ideas, aspirations, inspirations, projects, jobs, and hobbies, was to travel around as much of the country I live in (Australia) as I could. I guess that goal was the backbone of my life from age 19 til I got married and started a family (at age 30). My main purpose of working (apart from feeding myself and paying rent) was saving to travel. I did two big trips with two different friends, and a bunch of smaller trips. There’s nothing like waking up to the sunrise and thinking “I wonder what I’ll see today?”
    One of my aims when I travelled was to strike up at least a couple of conversations with people at places we stopped, like the isolated desert roadhouses or bars in towns, to get a feel for how other people lived. Though you sound like you’re aiming for a fair bit of solitude, you might find this kind of interaction will happen naturally anyway. Just by being relaxed and open to experiences, you might meet some amazing people!
    Maybe you should keep a diary along the way. It might be useful to document your state of mind and how it changes throughout the journey.
    I’m so excited for you! It will be great to get your updates as you check in here and there.
    I’m hoping we can do a bit of travelling as a family, starting in the next few years. It’s a great experience. So liberating.
    Good luck, and enjoy it.
    Nicole

  34. Alayna says:

    Emilie, reading about your impending journey is so inspiring. It’s something I’ve thought about in my dreams (and during waking hours, too!) Being “off the grid” in any kind of fashion is practically unheard of for young people like us, but it intrigues me.

    Without being constantly plugged in, I wonder how our thinking processes would improve. Would we be better at brainstorming? Coming up with creative new ideas? Would we be better able to connect with other people on a face-to-face level? Call me an idealist, but I’d like to think so.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your adventure. :)

  35. Jill Hejl says:

    Emilie, I just read about your first 3 days on northwestquest.com as well as your above post. What an incredible gift you are giving yourself–a diving into your own humanness! I love it! Number 3 on your list about being “goal-less” (which I couldn’t agree with more) reminded me of something I just read from the website, zenhabits. Here’s just a bit of it:

    But here’s what happens when you make a bucket list:

    You put this huge burden on yourself to get the list accomplished. As if we don’t already have enough on our to-do lists already!

    If you don’t do well at pursuing the things on the list, you feel guilty or underaccomplished.

    If you do well at pursuing the list, you are probably pursuing less-than-meaningful activities. They’re usually just there because they sounded cool to do.

    Wish I had realized you were in Chicago the last year-I’m just 100 miles away from there…

    I will be following your beautiful journey with you and completely understand where you’re coming from.

    Enjoy it to the utmost!

    Jill Hejl

  36. Pamela Williams says:

    Emilie, you are so precious and you are the epitome of supportive. So glad you are reaching within for the support of your own true nature mirrored by Nature. Nature nurtures evolution.

  37. Jameson Durbin says:

    Firstly, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to create this way-point for multipotentialites and also for having the courage to do what many can’t fathom trying. You give us hope. The thought of a journey/quest is what led me here, not having a specific skill set but a wide variety of useful tools. I’m not a particularly smart man either, just fell into useful trades and don’t feel like I’m bringing out their full potential. At the same time, I also feel I’ve lost my sense of self while getting to where I am now and wish to find it again. I’m a bit pessimistic about being able to (I’m nearly 30) but I still have hope in fulfilling these two, perhaps simple goals to better my life as a whole. I’d also like to say that you’re a stone’s throw from where I used to live, across the I-5 bridge in Vancouver, WA. It might take awhile but seeing others like yourself is inspiring, keep pressing on towards your goals as far as your will takes you Emilie, we’ll be here rooting for you while chasing ours :)

  38. Michael says:

    Hello, I would like to say a few things. First, good luck on your quest, and second, I am planning a quest myself. The only difference is, my quest involves me just taking a tent, food, water and some money, and just walking out my house and walking to the opposite end of the country. I am starting in New Jersey, at Monmouth County, and my quest all end when I reach San Francisco. I have no clue how I am going to accomplish this, but I will try. Do you have any advice?