Disconnecting, to Reconnect: A Change in Mentality

Disclaimer** Before we get into this blog, we feel that we should warn you that this is our first time doing anything like this. In other words, run away and hide due to the fact we literally are making this up as we go and have no idea what we are doing. EDIT: Not sure if you can see already but this post has now been edited twelve times…….. We are also still planning on figuring out a system that can differentiate to the reader who is writing when, so hang with us. That’s kind of important, right? Or maybe we may have left it ambiguous so that you can get the general idea of our team rather than the individuality of us two. Maybe not?

A Glimpse into Our Thought Process

We have literally had people tell us we are crazy for wanting to spend six months hiking the Appalachian Trail while living out of ginormous packs. Not many people jump at the opportunity of doing this and to be quite frank, I, Amanda, didn’t want to jump at the opportunity myself.

But first lets back up to before deciding to hike the AT. Our whole world revolved around working in a two of the best restaurants in the area. Our goal was to work our way to the top of working at some of the best restaurants in the world. It’s a dream we talked about almost every night after work. The long and stressful hours in the kitchen all day and evening were exhausting but at the time it was all we knew. Luckily for us, we both worked in kitchens so we both had the same hours and understood the stress and demand of it all. Working in high end kitchens taught us a lot. It taught us to work as a team, to face challenges, and come up with solutions. It taught us to communicate and to take charge. However, working in that environment was generally not as glamorous as one would think. Spending time with family and friends was “put on the back burner”. Our one or two days off were spent recovering in preparation for the upcoming week of work. Our families and friends at times couldn’t understand our life style. Why in the hell would you want to work those hours and have that kind of stress and pressure every day? One of Alex’s favorite chefs, Dan Barbour, said,

“I believe strongly that good cooking is physical. It demands a kind of conditioning. Because of the drudgery and the hours and the exhaustion that this kind of work demands — it does attract people who are attracted to a certain kind of abuse. It’s exhilarating, and the challenge is sort of, ‘How much of it can you stand?’ And is that the way to live, you know, a happy life? I don’t have the answer to that — at all. I wonder.

It was so thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. At the end of the night when service was over and the kitchen was scrubbed from ceiling to floor and you were sitting on freshly polished prep tables writing your prep list for the next day, it felt good. Really good, actually. To think about the hundreds little things we had to do to accomplish each service is almost unfathomable. I’m going to pass the computer over to Alex because “it’s his turn to write”.

Friends! To be fair, she’s been writing for a while and I’m getting impatient! I digress, let’s move on.

Disconnecting, to Reconnect

To pick up where Amanda Sue left off, career wise, we had it all. We were learning from the best, on how to be the best. To be the best, or at least to pursue being the best, required sacrifice. I’ve never found balance as a person; which is why Amanda is such a perfect woman for me. She is the complement to everything I have and also fills the voids of what I am not. Anything I’ve ever done I’ve taken to the extreme. I still do not know whether that is a gift or curse, but is something that I have been working on since I left the kitchen on March 19, 2016.
It’s weird writing that date because I still remember my last service at Herons. I still remember my last interactions with everyone, including that whipped cream pie I took to the face and also being garnished with the purple blossoms that I picked earlier that day for service. Thanks Chef Spencer. That’s the last time I give you a hug.

To wrap this up, we can sum the reasoning behind leaving everything we know and venturing into something completely unknown due to restlessness. We felt uneasy with the people that we were becoming and figured in order to come full circle as people who want to “live right” we needed to step away from the stove. While we are unsure what awaits us after this journey, we know that we are headed in the right direction – whatever that is.

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Comments 7

  • Daniel Pehrson : Nov 4th

    My (now) fiancée did the same thing, but to travel around the world. We both quit our jobs and spent 10 months traveling. We got engaged about half-way through in Singapore. I can’t overstate how much fun this kind of thing can be. Good luck!

  • George Brenckle : Nov 4th

    Alex and Amanda:

    I look forward to reading your blog. You managed to hook me on your first entry! My son and I thru-hiked to trail in 2015 (SOBO). He was 24 and I was 61. If I have any regrets about it – its that I waited so long to do it.

    The trail changes you in so many unexpected ways. When you are done, you will still be the same people, but different…. It will be hard, but it will be rewarding and you will meet so many different people.

    Best of luck!

    George (Dos Equis)

  • Gail Barrett : Nov 4th

    You aren’t crazy. You are daring to break out of the box and do something bold, which most people can’t understand. There are risks, to be sure, but the rewards will be enormous. I’m guessing you’ll find all sorts of inspiration on the trail from the colors and textures in nature. In fact, this will be something that influences you throughout your life. I just can’t imagine that it’s a mistake since I’ve yet to hear anyone say they’ve regretted it.

  • Mary "Jeannie" Penney : Nov 4th

    Looking forward to reading about your adventure. My best friend and I are planing on doing the AT thru hike in about 3 yrs so any info and tips will be helpful.

  • Bob Watts : Nov 5th

    You have given yourselves the BEST GIFT you could , EVER! Before life sucks the passion out of you, before the real world sinks its fangs in to your carotids, get out , explore and experience this journey, together, hand in hand, heart in heart. At the end you’ll either know you were meant for each other, or understand you are more complete apart. Look forward to crossing your path!

  • Chrystal Bailey : Nov 7th

    This is all so exciting!!! Good luck!!

  • Fiddlehead : Nov 9th

    Good luck from fiddlehead.


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