Gettin My Head Right – Takeoff in 3 Weeks!
3 weeks. No more, no less. I just had a big, bountiful breakfast at the diner 2 blocks from my house. It’s toasty warm and comfortable in the house, but outside lies 6 inches of fresh snow from the night before. Are we going to sleep in the snow?
With such little time until my thru-hike begins, I’ve been experiencing a whirlwind of emotions. My healthy fear of the AT has grown. My anxiety is high. I need to sell my car. I need to move some stuff. I need to see my family and friends. I have to work as much as possible while I still have time to make money. Oh, and I cannot get sick.
Life is pretty crazy beautiful right now. I’ve had less than 4 months at home working since I returned from 5 months of traveling in Latin America (More info at Lokitravels.com, oops shameless plug.) 3 weeks from now I’ll be leaving for 5 months hiking The Appalachian Trail. That’s a pretty cool year.
But sometimes I feel my feet moving faster than my brain can really process it all. I can see some friendships dwindling as the distance grows. I don’t spend enough time with my family. I’m sad I’m not the one caring for my cat.
From what I can tell, traveling is so much more than just a vacation. It can be a lifestyle, however temporary or permanent. And with every lifestyle, there are benefits and setbacks.
There’s also the trouble of Pandora’s Box. (Why does she have to spoil everything?) Let me explain. So far in my short 25 years, travel has been the greatest teacher. It has given me the most incredible views, opportunities, and wicked cool stories. I have learned financial responsibility, independence, and triumph over my struggles (which are always real). I’ve studied maps and learned considerably more global history and politics. I’ve climbed mountains and sailed through islands. Don’t be fooled: backpack traveling isn’t easy. But dedication to the cause pays off.
So what’s the issue?
Confession. I am seeing myself become really cynical. And judgmental. My usual sparkly, optimistic, social self has somewhat faded. I’m excited to get away from people again.
Oh boy, I didn’t see all that coming. Seeing people from different cultures has made my own seem a bit plastic. Previously, I hadn’t noticed how superficial things seem here. Cell phone, selfie happy consumerists are everywhere. I would know – they pay my bills.
Living out of a backpack for extended periods of time also puts into perspective the amount of stuff you need. Answer? Not much. How is this girl who makes less than $20k annually able to save enough to not work for so long? I don’t spend my money on stuff (save for gear). I do my best not to spend too much at restaurants and bars either.
I miss being around other travelers with “traveler’s mentality.” I don’t feel like I fit in as much as I used to at home. Honestly, I thought traveling would answer a lot of questions about what direction my life was taking. While it has taught me so much, I feel my compass needle hopelessly still spinning.
So, here I am. Gearing up and heading out again. Don’t get me wrong. I am beyond stoked and super grateful for this opportunity. I know not everyone is blessed in the same way I am. I also recognize that I am in no way independently responsible for making these silly dreams come true. My friends and family couldn’t be more supportive, and I wouldn’t make these achievements without you all. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.
3 more weeks, and we’ll go for it – embracing every challenge, both physical and mental. Hiking every step from Springer to Katahdin. All 2,189 miles.
Whew. That’s better. Wish us luck.
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