Getting Through The Winter

When I lay still at night I can hear it.

The small quiet voice inside of me.

It’s whispering, but if I sit still, I can hear it.

During the day, the voice gets drowned out. By bills and noise and traffic lights. Every time someone asks me about what is going on in my life, I have to fight while I explain what my current circumstances are and why I have chosen them. I can’t hear the voice then. What I hear is:

What is going to happen after?

Will I be able to financially pull this off?

Can I have a direction in place when this is over?

Where will I live when this is over?

What will my job be when this is over?

Is it worth it?

Can I emotionally afford one more adventure?

Right now its gray snow and gray skies. It’s -25 and the sun setting at 4:30. It’s my parent’s basement and not many friends. Its bad dates and bad food.  Spending time with people I don’t know and people who don’t have time or interest to get to know me. It’s distracting myself with shallow interactions. Right now it’s no money for yoga and no money for shows. It’s Netflix for a social life Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Right now it’s rough.

But sometimes I can breathe it to life. I can get in touch with the feelings I anticipate. If I take a deep breath and I close my eyes and I allow myself to let my mind drift. To the trail. I let myself go there a few times a day and I feel levity. I feel peace and I feel excitement. If I stay there too long I feel nervous and overwhelmed and the levity is swiftly replaced by an onslaught of terror. Of numbers and figures that don’t quite add up.

The fear of what comes after sets in. Of bad apartments and dead end jobs.

But I read my old journal last week.

And it dared me to keep dreaming bigger, it told me to keep pushing myself. It told me I could do anything and I just needed to pick what I wanted. It told me to trust the process and follow my heart.

And I did. I picked this.

And that Leah. The one who wrote to me in the journal said to do it. Because she knows what it is like to feel alive. To feel free. To feel like you must be breaking the rules because your life is like a dream. To breathe out and say “This is it. This is why.”

That is what it is all about.

And this is my dream.

And when I get still late at night. And I listen. I can hear the voice.

And the voice is saying HIKE.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 6

  • W : Nov 30th

    You’ve inspired me to re-read parts of my journal from my hike. Any time I have to job hunt, or feel like I’ve become this person I don’t want to be – I can remember that (a) it’s possible to be myself as I am, and (b) I was that person for 6 months, and I can be again. This is a reminder not to be too anxious about becoming someone I don’t like – because there’s always the option to reset again by doing the PCT.

    • Erin : Dec 6th

      Thank you for writing this! So beautiful. I too am planning and anticipating a solo NOBO hike this spring. And I am experiencing this entire same range of emotions, all the way from elation to terror. But, we just gotta go for it. Nice to know there will he some other like-minded women out there on the trail with me. 🙂

      • Leah : Dec 6th

        Yay! So exciting. I am definitely more excited than anything else, but there are nerves for sure. What is your start date?

        • Erin : Dec 7th

          I haven’t pinned down an exact start date yet, but I’m thinking the first week of April. I guess I’ll be a “bubble” girl for my first thru-hike.

          • Erin : Dec 7th

            Are u starting March or april?

  • Deven : Mar 27th

    Oh, yay! I like seeing more pictures of the hike and imagining spending 6 months hiking. Spiritual journey for sure! The thoughts and feelings of being oneself out on the trail… oh I just love that stuff! I love hiking and camping and mountains and air and birds! 🙂 🙂 Glad you made it though all the planning, Leah! I’m so happy for you!


What Do You Think?