A Letter to My Doubters: I’m Going to Do This

Most days I wish I would have withheld my hiking plans with the people around me. There are a few exceptions, obviously, but more often than not my motives are questioned. I understand that it can be hard for others in our society to understand the beauty behind wanting to take on such a challenge, but my anxiety level spikes when my quality of success is doubted. This is where I find myself constantly having to explain my tentative plan and answering many questions from the basics to the outlandish. I know that others have experienced this same struggle when sharing their passion for the hike of a lifetime but I cannot welcome doubters in my life right now. So here is a letter to those feeding into my fear:

Dear Doubters,

I am sorry to hear that you have become so unsatisfied with your own lives that you must push those feelings onto others around you. I regret to inform you that I cannot and will not be one of those people. I do not intend to be rude but when you begin to list all the excuses as to why I should not take a six-month hike, why I should not quit my job, why I should not sell almost everything I own, and why it is dangerous to hike alone, I tune you out. Maybe when I return from my completed journey you can continue with your lists. I understand that you are concerned about my safety and quality of life on and after the trail, but I too have thought of these factors and in fact I have considered, researched, and prepared for this venture. I will continue to learn everything I can about the trail up until the day I take my first step onto the trailhead, at which point I will continue to learn but then it will be through tangible experience. I promise to be as safe as I can be out there and to reach out for help if I truly find that I need it, but I am trying my best to stay positive and realistic about my chance of success and you are giving me cause to second guess.

If you are one of these doubters that have made comments, asked passive-aggressive questions, or flat out told me that you are not optimistic about my completion of the trail, I want to scream in your face just a little bit, but I also want to thank you. Thank you for lighting a fire around my determination to keep this dream alive and not scratch my plans every time I learn something new about the million or so uncomfortable situations I can, and probably will, get myself into. Thank you for making me explain the trail over and over again and my reasoning behind certain choices I have made when it comes to gear, navigation, food, weather conditions, and my purpose behind this hike. I do not welcome your doubt but I do welcome you to come along this journey with me and have your doubts challenged.

Best wishes,

Megan Joy

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Comments 3

  • Jim : Dec 16th

    Megan, dont let these people discourage you or your hike. I am a Male and have been hearing the same things all my life about my adventures. I thru hiked the trail in 1990 and never looked back. Of all of my adventures the A.T. has had more of an effect on my life than anything else. It is a life changing experience. Enjoy it and realize that it is your life, not theirs. There is not a day goes by that I dont think about the trail so much so that I went back in 2002 and thru hiked it again.

    • Megan Wilmarth : Dec 18th

      Jim, thank you. I am grateful for people like you who understand life is about taking on the adventures that may seen scary at first but pay off in the long run. I am confident that no matter how my attempted thru hike plays out, I will use the experience to add value to the rest of my life.

  • Bob Churcher : Dec 23rd

    Don’t let this stuff worry you, don’t over-think it all, just do it!
    And enjoy…… I do, in retrospect!

    A 2015 thru-hiker (flip flopped)


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