I’m the kind of person who sets goals so ridiculous for myself that I’m constantly facing impending failure. That may sound depressing, but in the small chance I actually accomplish one of these said goals, I’m pretty sure I’ll be elated for life.

But even if I don’t reach the end game, since the goals I set for myself are usually so ludicrously unachievable, what I end up accomplishing is still generally pretty awesome, even if it’s only 10 percent. For instance, I told myself a few months ago that I’d complete my first novel by the end of the year, sell a million copies, go on Oprah and help produce a movie adaptation starring the entire cast of The Wonder Years. (I know Winnie’s into math now, but what the f*ck ever happened to Wayne?) Well, as it stands right now, I only have 90 pages, which is clearly far from the end goal. However, on the other proverbial hand, those 90 pages are f*cking gold. Fool’s gold, perhaps, but, nonetheless, they’re still shiny and tight. I’m cool with that.

And speaking of shiny and tight (and failure to reach the end goal), let’s talk about my attempt to hike up Ecuador’s second highest peak and highest active volcano, Cotopaxi.

I made it up just 350 meters short of the volcano’s summit, where I became severely disoriented and nauseated from the altitude. I was so f*cked up (I believe that’s the technical term), that in order to avoid a probable trip to some country Ecuadorian hospital, I was forced to descend.

Now, that may sound like a giant disappointment, but, really, I wouldn’t trade my experience for any other. And until I reached around 17,000 feet or so, where I started to lose my basic motor skills (I couldn’t open my own backpack to get my water out), I will remember each and every crampon-aided step up that 50-degree cone of ice with a big, crazy grin on my face. And maybe a little barf on my chin. (Turns out fourth time’s a charm when it comes to puking on a volcano.)

Indeed, that sh*t was tight.

And, of course, special thanks to my dear friend and cameraman Jack of a blog with a trillion times more readers than mine, Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity. Your ability to take and make a poop joke (although, thankfully, not make actual poop) at several thousand feet above sea level tells me you’re good people. A douche, perhaps, but good people nonetheless. :p