Feel the Feels and Don’t Look Back

With two months until my official departure date, I can’t help but feel a rush of emotions as I look forward to my thru-hike and how I got to where I am today. In high school, I was on a family vacation in Maine. We decided to take the day and hike Mount Katahdin. While hiking, we ran into two gentlemen who were finishing the Appalachian Trail. After talking with them, my dream of completing the Appalachian Trail was sparked. Throughout the last 7 years, that dream has stuck with me.

While I can easily say 2020 didn’t happen as I had planned, the change in my plans led me to begin planning my thru-hike and I couldn’t be more excited. In this post, I want to try and sum up all the pre-hiking feels.

The Feels

Excitment…this is definitely the emotion I feel the most! There’s no place I’d rather be than walking through the wood and exploring the great outdoors. I couldn’t be more excited to meet my fellow thru-hikers. I can’t wait to experience the trail community I’ve heard so much about. Thinking of every little victory along the way, every mountain hiked and every state line to be crossed sparks a sense of excitement. And most of all, I can’t wait to summit Katahdin and to look back on months of incredible memories made on the trail.

Nervous…I guess. I don’t really know how to put this feeling into words…anxious maybe. While I couldn’t be more excited about this adventure, I know there are so many unknowns. No matter how much you research, no matter how much you prepare, nothing will go perfect. So as I wait my departure, it’s easy to think about all the things that can go wrong. When I find myself going down that spiral, I remember my planning and trust my research….

Expectant…going into this thru-hike, I’m expectant for the ways this journey will grow me as a person and all the lessons I will learn on the trail. You’ll never grow as a person unless you are willing to open yourself up to growth. I know this journey will make me a more strong and confident person.

So my encouragement to anyone out there chasing your dreams…feel all the feels. Be excited…be nervous…but most important be expectant and opened to growth throughout the process. If you are hesitant to take that step…do it! You’ll never know where it might lead you until you take that first step. I can’t promise it won’t be scary, I can’t promise it will always be perfect, I can’t promise it will always go as planned, but what I can promise is that it is always worth it despite the outcome. Growth is always worth it. 

Explore. Dream. Discover

When reflecting on future dreams, I frequently think about a quote from Mark Twain. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I’m looking forward to this adventure and can’t wait to share my experience and growth along the way!

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Comments 3

  • Lyla Harrod : Jan 21st

    So exciting, Sydney! Also, love that Mark Twain quote. I’m leaving in late March, hope to see you out there!

  • pearwood : Jan 22nd

    Go for it, Sydney!
    At the tender age of 70, I can vouch for Mark Twain’s comment. But I’m not finished yet, not by a long shot.
    Steve / pearwood

  • Sully4ever : Feb 2nd

    Well, my plan to at least start the AT this spring were shattered last Thursday by a quadruple bypass. But I’m confident I now have better chest plumbing than most who try. Many of my feelings are very similar to Sydney’s. So Sydney…the part of my heart stuck in your pack are not excess ounces but little wings to help you fly a little easier on the tough days…God speed…


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