Setting a Date
Gordon and I have set a date. Not the type of date some of our friends would automatically think of. If I were to tell you that he and I have been dating for 3 1/2 years and we have set a date, you may assume we are getting hitched. Not the case, not even a little bit. We have set a date to start a journey of a lifetime. March 7th, maybe 8th, 2016, we will set foot at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and head north.
Let Me Introduce Myself
*insert awkward introduction here* I find introductions super awkward. What should I say? Do you really care about x,y,z about me? Well anyway, here we go. I was born and raised in central Wisconsin. Nothing there but paper mills, corn fields and cranberry bogs. I say that, but Wisconsin is where my love for the outdoors began. There are so many wonderful forests, plenty of lakes for fishing and lots of beautiful places to lay and watch the stars. Growing up, my family went camping A LOT. When I think about summers from my youth, I think of weekends away up north camping, fishing and swimming. Fast forward many years… I now live in Charlotte, NC. How did I end up here? Life, life brought me here, and when life changed, 5 years ago, I had the option to stay here in Charlotte, or move back to Wisconsin by all of my family. Charlotte was just too good to leave. The mountains are about 2 hours away and the ocean is about 3 1/2 hours away. Too much awesome so close by.
In 2010 I started a job as a bartender at an awesome outdoorsy facility right outside of Charlotte. They offer rafting, climbing, zip lines, mountain biking and free concerts on the weekends. While working there I finally connected with people that have the same mentality as me and have a lot of the same interests. I got to learn how to whitewater kayak, became a whitewater raft guide and picked up mountain biking. The only thing was, I was still “just a bartender” and I just entered into my 30’s. I felt like I needed to find a “real” job. August last year, I was hired by a huge insurance company and got a job working in a cubicle. Something I told myself I would never do.
Why I’m Thru Hiking
Everyone has their reasons. Even though I just started this new job a year ago, I’m ready to bust out of the regular routine. I’ve gained 20 lbs from sitting on my butt every damn day, I haven’t felt the sun on my skin, I’ve forgotten how the wind feels blowing through my hair. It may sound a little cheesy, but its the truth. I’m a go, go, go, go, go person. If I’m not working, I am riding my mountain bike, going to a meeting for the moutain bike team I’m on, a meeting for the women’s mountain bike club I’m part of… there is ALWAYS something on my list. Every hour of my day is allocated to something, there is RARELY a moment where I have time to just chill, relax and enjoy the moment. Thru hiking the AT will allow me the much needed time to just be alone with my thoughts. Hopefully, there will be some moments of clarity. Lastly, I’m hiking to finish. That’s right, just to finish. I feel like I start many projects, get sidetracked and never finish what I originally set out to do.
Can you keep a secret?
I haven’t told my family, most of my friends or my job that I’m about to ditch everything and hike for 4-6 months. I’m going rogue. It was just a matter of time.
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I am also hiking the AT with my boyfriend in 2016 and a featured blogger on the site, only we are headed SOBO and I still haven’t worked up the courage to write my first post. I also plan to quit my cubicle job that I swore I would never get in the first place so for all of those reasons I wanted to reach out and wish you the best of luck. I’ll be reading in the meantime & eventually writing & posting. Cheers!
Lauren- That’s so exciting!!! We have changed our direction to SOBO as well! Good luck to you, and can’t wait to read about your adventures. Hope to see you on the trail. Friend me on FB and we can share our plans and thoughts with our SOBO adventure 🙂