I was scared to take the plunge, to leave NYC indefinitely. But I felt backed into a corner so I held my nose and jumped. This winter has taken me to some pretty wild places and I know that I should feel rich in experience right now, but if I can be honest for a moment? I don’t entirely. I’m scared of not having money or a back up plan or, you know, a job. How do people support themselves on the road?! I’m scared of not having friends, of being alone, but most of all, I think that I’m scared of starting over.

I’ve always thought that the nice thing about being in your twenties is that you can be amorphous and that there are no set limitations on how many times you can change your plans. But fuck, you’re really out there.

I just made it back to the east coast. Despite winter temperatures, it’s now prime climbing season for Tennessee. Even though it’s February and the murmur of spring days are far behind us, you can still bask in the golden sunshine at the T-wall. I’ve been a ball of anxiety lately, and I needed some happiness. T-wall is one of my happy places, so I beelined south.

Rob Robinson oncde told me about the first time he laid eyes on the beautiful cliff line, and I thought about what he must have felt, how those orange cliffs captivated him. And then he told me to keep going for it: “You can always desk it later in life.”

I go back and forth about my decisions, as we all do. But if I keep second-guessing myself, I feel like I’m living two different lives and I really hate that feeling. In life, you don’t always get to play the “what if” game, and sometimes you have to take the free-fall. In trad climbing, you’re the primary piece of protection…and everything else is redundancy in the system. You are the primary piece.

T-wall. Photograph by Nick Lanphier

Cover photograph courtesy of Nick Lanphier.

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