1 Week Away!
In exactly 1 week, we (Carolina and I) will be leaving to hike the Appalachian Trail. Below is just a brief rundown of my current state of mind.
SO, I’m sitting here at my desk on my very last day of work thinking. Thinking that we are giving up what would be considered great jobs, a comfortable home and all other “normalcy” to hike 2200 miles. We are leaving our comfort zone for the unknown. Instead of highways of traffic and office hallways, we will traverse mountains, forests, fields and streams. We will do this in rain, sleet, hail, snow, and sunshine.
Our daily routine will be gone and a large part of our life over the course of the next 6 months is probably going to be painful. Thank GOD for that. There will be A LOT of suck. But, I will embrace that suck because no matter how bad it gets, it’s better than the alternative. Routine.
I’m also thinking of all of the usual questions that are asked when someone aspires to an undertaking of this magnitude. “Are you SURE you want to do this? Leave this job and your home?” Absolutely. No question in my mind. “What are you going to do after the hike?” Outside of buying a tiny home and setting up shop in North Carolina, I’m leaving it to the fates. “What will you do for a job after your hike?” I’m leaving a job right now. Jobs are the least of my concerns. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. “Are you prepared for this?” No. But are we ever really prepared?
To me, these aren’t important questions. The usual questions a potential thru hiker gets all pertain to daily routine. People can’t think outside of that “box”. Where did people’s sense of exploration and adventure go? People gauge success by how high they’ve climbed on the corporate ladder, what type of car they drive and how big their house is. Success in “normal”, everyday life is gauged by the amount of stuff people can accumulate. Life isn’t about stuff, it’s about experiences and you can’t experience things if you do the same damn thing every day. Normal should not be about the things you have, but the things you’ve done.
That’s why the important questions to me all pertained to our gear and health. Gear and health are means to an end. They will enable me to “do”. To me, the important questions are “Is our gear going to last?” and “Will our gear get us to Katahdin?” and “Can I keep my body in one piece this whole trip?” Also, “How badly will I stink and will Caro be able to handle my stink for the whole hike?”
Mental prep has also been important, and will be even more so this next week. One tactic I use is to prepare mentally is to just not think about it. At all. You see, I have a REALLY bad tendency to over analyze things and the more I think about the hike, the more I will analyze every little thing about it. How many miles we should do a day to start? How many miles we should be doing half way through? How many will we be doing at the end? Will we have enough food and water? Will every little minor twinge in my back or a knee will blow up into a full on thing? Over thinking will just lead to anxiety and I definitely don’t need anxiety.
Meditation, breathing exercises, and rest will also be key preparatory elements over the course of the next week. Together, these will settle my mind, help me stay relaxed, and enable me to prepare for this hike. I personally like to use the Wim Hof breathing method.
I will also be spending A LOT of time with my kids. Those two are my world and above all, they ground me more than anything can.
So there we are. 1 week away and I’m gathering my thoughts. One of the first things I said in my very first blog post was that this was going to be a great outlet for me and that’s definitely going to be the case this next week. I know this may have rambled a bit but it was a brief, easy way to start streamlining my thoughts. Thanks for reading. I will leave you with this quote from Paulo Coelho:
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine – it’s lethal.”
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