Monday, March 19, 2012

Realities of What?

It's been a while since I've posted my last trip report, but that's because I haven't been getting out very much. And it's official: I'm back to stinking up the joint. In another lifetime I was cranking four to five days per week as a normal, card-carrying member of the legit workforce. Forty-plus hours per week plus gym time and the weekend ritual of sitting in traffic, bagging 20 pitches in a weekend, and returning with more weekend traffic suited me just fine until I got bored with my life in corporate healthcare finance. Now I'm teaching English in Brasil, making a shade less per hour than I was before in the U.S., and working significantly fewer hours. I should be climbing more, right? It turns out the answer is no, so what gives?

Well, getting out is really the biggest problem. I have partners, but the ones who want and can climb the most don't have cars, and those who do aren't as committed as those who don't. Finding that perfect balance has been a challenge. Of course, my own work schedule doesn't help. I'm only working 20 hours per week, but seriously, it's not that simple. My students have classes at all reasonable hours during the week with decent gaps in between that aren't long enough to fit a few laps in here and there. Squeezing in gym time means travelling a lot on the buses, which are both time-consuming and expensive when one adds everything up. Something has to change, but what?

I guess I knew what I was getting into when I came down here. Long gone are the week-long vacations to Red Rocks, the New River Gorge, Yosemite, or even the long weekends to the 'Gunks or New Hampshire. I have an opportunity to help develop a crag, something I've always wanted to do, but again, getting there is a pain in the ass. For one, I'd have to take a bus about 40 minutes just to get to my partner's town, but that's not all...once there even he doesn't have a car, so we'll have to take another bus just to get to the approach, the latter of which is at least 40 minutes in of itself. Add that all up with coming home and it probably means one or two routes per day. That's great for development, but it sucks for training. And of course, without training one probably doesn't develop very well. (Did I mention cars here are extremely prohibitively expensive. My car in the U.S. was a 2007 Hyundai Elantra...the expensive model. That's not to brag, but it's more to point out that I paid $18k for it. Here, that same car goes for $35k. No, I'm not kidding).

So here I am, spending my days mostly exercising by walking between classes (as much as possible in this rainy city) and swimming on the off days when a student cancels, and getting in only about two days of climbing in per month. I want to see more places and do harder routes, but this isn't going to be happening any time soon. Something has to give. I'm really at an end here trying to decide what to do. I guess there's always a sacrifice, isn't there.

But for me, good things have always come when I've waited. The Universe has always been kind to me over the long run. Maybe this is it's way of telling me that there is a time and a place for everything, and that time and place will come. So, I promise, I'll get some pics or at least a story of my second ever FA as soon as it happens. My fingers are crossed that it'll be in two weeks, so stay tuned. Only the Universe really knows, and it's not giving up its secrets just yet.


Nick Smart said...

Hey Greg,

What city are you in? It's true that Brazil has some serious transport and logistics limitations, and climbing is still a developing sport here. Though that said, there is an incredible vibe, plenty of unspoiled places, great people and an authenticity to the scene which still exists precisely because things aren't yet "easy".
Come to Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais. 70 different climbing spots within an hour or two of the city, from limestone crags to great boulders, a big community where its easy to find lifts and the prettiest women in Brazil!
Drop me a line if you want to visit.

Greg said...

Hey Nick,

Yeah, I hear the climbing there is pretty damn good. I'm in Curitiba, so not only do I have to deal with transportation issues but also a lot of rain.

How can I get in touch? Are you on facebook?