The ABC’s of How I Made It to the AT

A is for Anxiety

When the countdown for my trek hit 30 short days, I may have begun to stress out a little. Actually, it became the most stressful time of my life and a fear of the unknown grew into a little monster inside my head. I should have prepared for this and prepared for the hike itself better than I did but that was not the case. You see, my biggest problem is that I am an idealist; a feeler if you will, and I let my heart win every time my head wants to make a decision. Oh, did I also mention that I am a professional procrastinator? I live my life assuming that everything will magically come together and I will encounter the bliss that I am looking for. Well, I waited until I was one month out to get my pack, two weeks out to switch to a different pack, one week out to actually practice pack, and within five days of go time I wanted to switch it all up again! And don’t even get me started on what the stress did to my body. I had the worst breakouts, both gained and then lost almost ten pounds, stress pooped a good bit, smelled (that might have been due to the lack of showering though), my energy was down, and sunshine no longer described my presence. I started this journey with a firm belief that this was not meant to be a walk of self-discovery or a way to finding a deeper purpose in life, but that has since changed a little bit. I am here to rediscover my best self. I want to thrive again instead of just survive. I was to be in awe of nature again, be excited to get up and get moving, make the best or uncomfortable situations, sing out loud, talk to God, and love myself on a new level.

B is for Best Friends

Besides prayer, the most effective medicine in treating my outrageous anxiety has been my friends. If you didn’t already know, friends make life so much sweeter and my two bests are the most wonderful human beings on this planet. (My sister is on this list too, of course.) They have watched me go from the most confident, joyful, and tough version of myself to the most anxiety ridden, scared, and doubtful person out there. But not one time did they doubt or lose faith in my ability to walk over 2,000 miles. Gosh, I love them. They are the two biggest reasons that I made it out here. Everyone always seems impressed with the person who plans and actually hikes the trail, but the supporters of said person should really be celebrated.

C is for Calm

When the countdown ran out, it was go time. No more tears, no more panic attacks, and no more second-guessing. I put my game face on and let the calm wash over me as I walked away from everything and everyone that feels safe. After all, it’s just walking right?

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