37 DAYS AWAY: A strange limbo period

I’m 37 days away from stepping on the trail. 37 days of trying to be very present in my current life while preparing for the biggest life change I have ever taken on. I’m feeling a whole lot of emotions at this point and I spend alot of my time getting caught up in various questions I still have that will not be answered until I am out there. When I get caught in these spirals of “what if I get an injury?!” or “what if I don’t bring enough food for the first five days?!” I have to talk myself down. The theme of the last few weeks for me has just been to calm down and TRUST-trust myself and the larger forces that are at play.

Today is the day for my lists. I have been mulling over these lists for a while. Zach Davis, in his book Appalachian Trials, suggests you make three lists prior to leaving for your thru-hike. These lists are meant to stay with you during your hike as a reference point on those days when all you can think is “why did I start doing this again?”

 

So here we go:

 

I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…

  1. I feel that I am being called to do so.
  2. I feel most creative and connected with my spirituality when I am in nature.
  3. I love being alone and I love quiet. I look forward to spending time with myself on those long days of solo walking.
  4. I want to experience every part of this epic adventure. The physical and mental challenge appeals to me.
  5.  I have always had an affinity for minimalism and this is the ultimate minimalist challenge.
  6. I’m excited to meet people on the trail who also chose this.
  7. I want to become more self-sufficient. By choosing to do this alone, I cannot give my power away to anyone else. Every decision I have to make will be my own decision.
  8. No better way to see America than to walk it. Am I right?!

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail I will…

  1. be proud, forever proud.
  2. be a level 10 badass.
  3. see the world a little bit differently.
  4. have a story of a lifetime.
  5. have a whole band of new friends to connect with
  6. use this accomplishment to set out on new journeys with a strong momentum of “yes, i can!”
  7. have a “If I can do this,  I can do anything” mentality
  8. have overcome so many fears and personal weaknesses.
  9. Feel closer to God- not a christian god or a jewish god or any god of a a religion, just my own God-the forces that gave me this goddamn amazing life.

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  1. have let my mind take over my abilities. The thinking mind is a strong and sometimes deceiving force.
  2. have given into my emotions-also a deceiving force.
  3. be forever embarrassed and full of shame.
  4. not be the person that I truly believe myself to be.
  5. not be the person I foresee myself being in the future.
  6. be a quitter, an identity I have taken on in the past and truly LOATHE.
  7. settle into being mediocre.
  8. be forever disappointed and have to explain to others that I didn’t finish because I believed I could not finish.
  9. have to tell myself over and over again that the choice of quitting was the right choice, even if I don’t believe it was.

In 37 days, I’ll be walking the approach trail and you best believe I will have a piece of paper with these lists in my pocket.

Hey, in the end, it is just a walk in the woods. Right?

 

“You are the wind, the flood and the flame. Nothing here can get in your way. You’ve come too far to care what they say. You’re the only thing in your way.” -Cloud Cult

 

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Comments 1

  • Therese : Mar 11th

    Great lists except for the 3rd one. I wish people weren’t so hard on themselves. There are so many reasons why a hiker won’t be able to finish. Believe in #9. I believe you are a success now……..best of luck. I hope we run into each other.

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