If I’m There, I Can’t be Here

Classic “maybe next year” excuse, amiright? When surrounded by your favorite foods, favorite people, favorite pillow, why the heck would we decide: “Welp, I’m gonna go fill my boots with blisters and sleep on the ground for a few months” ?? We’ve all heard that “grass is greener…” idiom, but what about when the grass is plenty green right here?

Personally, I’ve created quite the mess for myself. Of all the places I’ve been, Juneau, Alaska, has grabbed my heart the tightest. It was by far the most difficult au revoir and most anticipated revoir. I said goodbye mid-November last year, not expecting to be back until August 2018 at the completion of my AT NOBO. As they do, the tables have turned. I’m now aiming to be SOBO this year, meaning I have time to go back to Juneau NOW <3. Boy howdy once my plans changed, I was more excited to be back in Alaska than I was for my Outward Bound Instructor Development Course in Utah and switching teams to SOBO (my preferred route all along). So now I’ll spend two months in my favorite place on earth immediately before doing the hardest, scariest thing in my life.

Can you say recipe for disaster?

Early on, I confided in a Juneau friend that I’m afraid I won’t want to leave once June rolls around. “Just wait until you’re here and see how you feel,” he says. Thanks, Derek. I had a hard enough time leaving in November, and above all it was the lack of adequate sunshine that ultimately did me in. I’d consulted another nomadic friend, who I’d coincidentally met in Juneau last summer. What he told me prompted a series of “duh” moments, and I wondered why I hadn’t thought to confer with him before. “It’s nice when people want you around, but life is too short to stay put. You won’t know until you move. And now you have a place you can choose return to. And when you do return you will be stronger and more invincible. It’s not going anywhere. That’s why it’s a place and you’re a person. Just put cotton in your ears and go.” This is the same man whose parting words were (in a gentle, Irish accent): “Now I know I don’t need to tell you girls this, but mind your toots and farts.” Mike is full of good wisdoms.

Truth of the matter is, there will always be something happening somewhere else. But there’s also always something happening right where you are. Don’t let FOMO take away the magic of your thru-hike and don’t fall victim to “maybe next year.” Let the trail be your “here” because in the moment is the only place to be.

“Those who lack courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.” -Albert Camus

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