It was an overcast day on May 19, 2012 as I found myself standing on the edge of the beach in the northern most tip of Oregon. The moment began to fully sink in of what was to come. I, along with my partner and another couple, were about to start a long distance . It was my first endeavor of this type. The nature lover within me was eager and excited, but my mind couldn’t help wonder with mild hesitation about the journey to come.
We began our trek that afternoon in the most pleasant of ways and had a memorable first night. Little did we know about the experiences ahead that would test our boundaries and inner-balance. The next day we began our long walk at the break of dawn under a thick, grey sky. Rain was merely moments away. As those first thick droplets fell, an interesting sensation ran through the body. In society we are so quick to scurry and run for shelter at the first sign of rain, yet here we were, miles away from any kind of shelter. We marched on that day as the rain and wind pelted us from every direction. Everything was wet and cold, and we were soaked to the core. Day two turned into day three and neither the rain nor the strong winds subsided as our trail weaved through the wide open beach, stony ridges, and dense hilly forests.
To anyone else the choice would have been obvious—get off the trail and take cover. To a long distance hiker this kind of stuff is supposed to be part of the experience… more or less. The comfort-driven body nudged to find indoor shelter. The purpose-driven mind didn’t want to hear any of it. After all, it was only the third day of our three-week trek and part of this experience was intended as an exercise to push beyond the comfort of personal boundaries. It would be a disappointment to duck out at the first sign of hardship. But if the challenge of a long distance hike wasn’t enough under favorable conditions, the weather made sure that we got the most out of our experience.
In our comfort-driven society, it may seem foolish to even have to contemplate a choice under such conditions, but anyone who has ever wanted to push their personal boundaries in any area of life can no doubt relate. But there’s a fine line between honoring personal needs to maintain a healthy balance, and working with one’s edge to push through personal limitations. I wanted to honor my commitment and my body, but I also wanted to honor my group’s experience.
For that third night we compromised as a group to get proper indoor lodging. It was a wise choice and we continued on the trail the next day. The weather calmed a bit, but I was feeling a bit worn down by the strenuous physical experience encountered thus far. However, I was determined to keep moving forward. But soon enough, I began to feel a sense of discomfort in my left foot.
By the morning of the fifth day, the pain in my foot became more pronounced and I knew what I needed to do. I needed to get some adequate rest. Sure I could have pushed forward, but what then? Maybe things would have gotten better, but maybe not. And what would have I been proving in the end anyway? The choice was crystal clear. I got off the trail and took it easy for the next three days. Then, as the weather and my foot cleared up, we rejoined our group and were back on the trail again.
I cannot say that accomplished the goal of completing that trail in full. But I learned a tremendous lesson: the balance of needs and wants—knowing when to push and when to retreat. It can be so exhilarating at times to push our personal boundaries and limits, or accomplish some goal. But there is no positive accomplishment in pushing these too far. That trek of 2012 was filled with nuggets of wisdom and personal realizations, and today I am grateful for every moment and experience encountered on it.
Evita Ochel is a consciousness expansion teacher, who lives by being the change she wishes to see. Her diverse passions and expertise include being a writer, speaker, holistic nutritionist, web TV host, and author of the book . To learn more about her or her work, visit
Why is this "The i’Mpossible Project?"
Inspired by Josh Rivedal's book and one-man show The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah. Gospel (non-religious) means "Good News" and Josh's good news is that he's alive, and thriving, able to tell his story and help other people.
On his international tour with his one-man show, he found incredible people who felt voiceless or worthless yet who were outstanding people with important personal stories waiting to be told. These personal stories changed his life and the life of the storyteller for the better.
Josh's one-man show continues through 2015 and beyond and he is looking for people in all walks of life, online and offline, to help give them a voice and share their stories with the world.