Escaping the “Real World”

Today is the day that I announced my 2017 AT thru-hike.

I’ve never been the type to tell people I am going to do something unless I know for a fact I will follow through. I have told friends here and there, but I just recently solidified my deal to hike for a charity and today I announced it to all things social media (see picture). This was oh so nerve-racking to me but I’m beyond excited to begin the journey!

Tomorrow I graduate college from Auburn University. I will have a little over three months before I begin my NOBO start in late March. Until then, I will continue working night/day shifts at a hospital part-time and training for the dang long walk. In January, I will be taking a Wilderness First Responder course in Portland, OR.  From this, I will better understand different cases like bites, stings, hypothermia, dehydration etc. (I plan to go to Physician Assistant school after the AT so any way to get new perspective seems interesting to me.. especially if it’s applicable to the hike in any way). I’m one thousand percent new to this blogging deal, but now that I have a lot more time on my hands, I will definitely be taking advantage.

I’ve (obviously) read some books, done some researching and almost finished up my gear list. I’m happy to say that I’ve got a base weight in the “Light Weight” category (under 20lbs) and I’ve decided to go stoveless – which for some reason gets me really excited. I’m also really happy to be reading that there’s no way to get over the jitters when thinking about getting out there. No matter how much I feel like I’m preparing myself, everyone seems to agree that it’s dang intimidating.

In a Ted Talk I recently watched, things started to make sense to me. The opposite of knowledge is not always ignorance.. but rather mystery. It’s why we do what we do. It’s the recipe for adventure and its the reason that we stay up until odd hours of the night thinking about everything that can come from escaping from the “real world” and just letting go.

Yes, I am going solo… but for me (as well as many other hikers) that’s the only way to get the full effect. While the trail is so foot-trafficked around the time I will be starting, I will only have myself to worry about. I’ll be on my own agenda. A lot of people see this as dangerous. Luckily for me, I decided a long time ago that I would not live a preventative lifestyle. Doing things that are “dangerous” is so relative to me. People die in car wrecks every day… yet we all drive. To me, not doing this trek would be similar to never getting in a car again for the sake that “you could die”. To whatever kind of soul I was lucky enough to have, that sounds absolutely ridiculous. Now, I’m not an idiot – I definitely take precautions- but tell me how you’re suppose to see what the world has to offer if you’re stuck inside watching someone else’s life on Netflix.


You can find out more about how I’m dedicating my Thru-Hike to raise money for Pediatric Cancer Research Here.


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Comments 6

  • Sandra : Dec 9th

    I look forward to following your journey on your blog! War Eagle!!!

  • Chris G. : Dec 9th

    Auburn huh? I work kinda close to there, small world. See you in GA next year!

  • Cindy Kirchner : Dec 11th

    Looking for to following your journey. Besides the blog, will you document on other social media- Instagram? YouTube?
    Give a shout out in Central Virginia if you’d like a shuttle anywhere between Rte. 60 and Rockfish Gap. (Our “backyard)


    • Jennifer Giddens : Dec 11th

      Yes! I have an instagram (@JenGid95) that I’ll be updating frequently! Thanks so much — If I can remember, I definitely will 🙂

  • Kenneth Peakman : Dec 11th

    Congrats to you and your upcoming adventure! Really looking forward to following your progress and hope I can learn from your experience as I plan my thru hike of the AT.
    I’m in Winchester, VA. If I can help in any way while you’re traveling through, please don’t hesitate to ask!
    Good luck!

  • Melinda kellenberger : Jan 3rd

    So happy to meet you today Jen.. I have no doubt you can accomplish this… And you have definitely influenced my son Nichoals… You are smart, sweet, brave, strong and compassionate.. Short
    It’s of what o observed in only a few hours.. Godspeed in all you do.. I admire your vitality and just YOU as the person you are..


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