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Backcasting

This weekend, after a pleasant trail run out at 1,000 Acres, a couple friends and I got together for brunch. The topic of age came up, as it relates to where we “should” be in life. I recently turned 35, Paisley turns 35 soon, and Melissa is a trailing behind a couple years. The conversation, at one point, brought up the question of where we are, where we are going, and where we “should” be.  We went around the table with each person talking a little about where they felt they wanted to be, but perhaps, were not.

When it came my turn to speak, I found myself channeling a class I took back in 2009. The course was a one day class on sustainability put on by The Natural Step. I was taking it on request of my employer at the time – the same employer that I would work the next 10 years for. One of the things that stuck with me from that class was the idea of backcasting.

Forecasting is the idea of taking what you know now and projecting into the future. Backcasting, as you may have already assumed, is the idea of doing the reverse. Start with the end goal in mind and then plot out the steps that would likely need to take place to get you back to where you currently are.

In this conversation, it came out a little like this…

Have you ever met an older individual and been enamored with the stories of their life? I love meeting these people and hearing their tales of adventure. For me, I like thinking of myself as an old man, sitting around telling stories about my life to myself in the current day. What kind of stories would I want to tell, and what kind of stories would I want to hear? I want to be that old man full of amazing stories about his life. Then, with those stories in mind, think about those ends, and then work backwards to the current day.

Some of the stories I would like to be able to tell:
That time I…

  • …travelled to all 7 continents
  • …rode by bike the length of Oregon (or further) along the 101
  • …bike toured (insert country here)
  • …I ran an ultra trail marathon (50k)
  • …backpacked the PCT
  • …lived in (insert other countries here)
  • …helped build homes in (insert third world countries here)
  • …overlanded the Americas
  • …got published in National Geographic (or other major magazine)
  • …backpacked to Everest base camp
  • …more to come… as a list like this is never over and ever changing

Currently my list of interesting situations/stories includes… (chronological order)
That time I…

  • …unwittingly hung out with a murderer – before he got caught :/
    • Not a goal, by any means, just something I realize when thinking about my life events
  • …spent St. Patrick’s day in Ireland
  • …lived out of my VW Vanagon and traveled the US for months on end
  • …re-did a trip from my youth with my Father to major national parks of the West
  • …climbed some stuff (Hood, Adams, St. Helens, Eleanor, Pinnacle, Castle, etc)
  • …flew over remote Alaska and witnessed amazing glaciers before they disappeared
  • …lived along the CA coast in a Vanagon doing photography work

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