Finding Your True North By Hiking North.
So here is a great pic, it has nothing to do with the Appalachian Trail. Well, the event doesn’t, but the mindset does. This was my computer background for good long while. It is a pic from one of the obstacles on a Tough Mudder. I’ve only done three, but I have enjoyed every one of them.
There was a point when a number of things in my life ran themselves into the ground, life was clearly not going as I wanted it. I had a scheduled Mudder event coming up and almost didn’t do it. Then, someone sat me down and clearly stated,
“You HAVE to do this.”
And so I did. The challenge and rigor, both physically and mentally, helped me to gather myself once again and press on.
I thought about the title for my first post here, and to be honest, this was the first and only title that came to my mind.
“Find your true north by hiking north.”
You have a compass. I have a compass. We all have a compass. However, the one that I refer to now is the interior compass. The one that we each have that enables us to figure out where we are headed. When life came to a grinding halt for me a few years ago, I needed to reset my compass. I figured it was time to do that again, except this time, I am choosing to do the Appalachian Trail.
I wish I could show you my journal from the past number of months since I first set to stone that I will be hiking the Trail. Yes, I am a grown man and I journal. I have asked myself over and over the same question, “why today do I want to do the trail?”
Of course the answers vary in their words, but the essence or the theme is relatively the same.
“Time to reset the interior compass.”
I am sure everyone has a number of reasons they choose to sleep outside, hike for miles, sit in nature, watch the sunrises and sunsets each day, and choose to be around other stinky hikers. But most of all, I really enjoy some of the sentiments of John Muir who in effect said that he needed to run to the mountains every so often because he found himself starting to value efficiency, money, and profession too much. I can resonate with that. As life happens to us, sometimes we need to be reminded of what our priorities were. I always appreciated the stories of St. Francis, who threw away his inheritance and distanced himself from his family’s merchant business in order to chase after what made him come the most alive, which for him was to chase his faith with reckless romantic abandon. And by golly, I want to do that for myself, too.
This is why I am leaving a Philly suburb in two days to start the trail in Georgia in four. I want some time to reset my compass. Yes, for me this includes connecting with my faith in a deep way, but also with myself, with the people that I will meet and the experiences that I hope to adventure. And guess what, only I can say how and when I need to reset my compass. Same for you. Say “no” to some good things in life so that you may say “yes” to some great things.
To all you Nobos out there, I’ll see you soon. To everyone else, quit your job and follow us, we’re walking to Maine.
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Waiting for my kiddos to get older, then I plan to thru-hike. In the meantime, Tough Mudder are my challenge as well. Love those races! Looking forward to following your journey! Happy trails!