WOW, am I really flipping the page to my next life chapter in 17 days? This can’t be so? Goodness gracious…….my heart is pounding quickly, my emotions are running haywire, and my excitement is at an all-time high.


A quick update: with relief, the majority of my gear has been purchased. When I glance at my gear pile, I feel like phase one is complete and a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I am quickly brought back to reality as the voices in my head remind me “Holy shit, this is actually happening”……….I want to give huge shout out to the awesome employees at REI for being rock stars while helping me find exactly what I was looking for and answering my millions of questions. Also, to anyone who shared their personal recommendations on gear, you made some decisions much easier for me. Lastly, thank you to those who gifted me gear for my thru-hike, I really couldn’t be more thankful for your generosity.


All things ‘Appalachian Trail’ are consuming my life right now; if I’m not thinking about, I’m talking about it, if I’m not talking about it, I’m reading about it, if I’m not reading about I’m dreaming about it. I can only relate this feeling to the same one I’d get the night before a field trip in elementary school. I’m quite giddy, nervous, and anxiously awaiting March 15th. Aside from my excitement, fear is definitely an emotion I’m dealing with regularly. Heck, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I think anytime we venture into the land of the ‘unknown’ or ‘unfamiliar’, it can be quite terrifying(at first)………..but like anything in life, where there’s no risk, there’s no story.


I recently stumbled across this heart-rending article. If you have a couple minutes, it’s certainly worth the read.

First of all, I think this is an extraordinary project, Paul’s story fiercely tugs at my heart strings. I felt compelled to immediately volunteer to carry Paul’s boots for any of the duration that I’ll be on the Appalachian Trail for. I hope I get the honor to be a part of making his dream come true, but the inspiring message it tells is far more important. As functioning members of society, it is all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind………..before you know it, time has evaporated right before your eyes. As unsettling as it is, we are all running on a fixed number of days. Put your hand across your chest, feel that bump, bump, bump? It signifies that you still have time to do whatever it is that ignites your internal fire. Those desires and dreams mean everything in this life, get out and pursue them while you still can.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain”

-Jack Kerouac


See you soon sweet Georgia!

Aundrea J.


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Comments 1

  • Jessica Einspahr : Mar 19th

    I’m so proud of you kiddo!!! Stay safe I can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures when you make it back this way!!!


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