Telling Your Family You’re Moving to the Woods

Or, “Tell me about your trip! I’ll try to keep a straight face for this.”

Next April, my significant other and I are undertaking a massive challenge. A journey that will change our lives, and test us mentally, physically, and emotionally. An adventure that many have attempted and only few have seen through to the end.

And after the wedding, we’re hiking the Appalachian Trail.

The decision to get married was a no-brainer. To attempt a thru hike? Not so much. We’ve also discovered that no one bats an eye at the suggestion to spend multiple thousands of dollars on one frivolous day, but the idea to spend our savings on six months trekking across the eastern United States brings more than its fair share of scorn.

My fiancé Justin and I have always loved the outdoors, and when the question of what to do for our honeymoon arose, we knew a week on the beach wouldn’t cut it. I had first learned about the Appalachian Trail from my mother when I was in the fifth grade. I spent that day at recess running up and down the biggest hill on the playground; because if I was going to walk that far, I had better get ready! My mom is now fresh off of two weeks on the trail, which was a lifelong dream of hers. Being privy to her preparations definitely got the ball rolling, and Justin and I could not be more excited to take on the AT.

My mother during her two weeks on the AT.

My mother during her two weeks on the AT.

Saying it out loud does sound crazy. “Hey, we’re going to hike for six months and live in the woods and be tired and in pain and honestly a little bit miserable a lot of the time and WE’RE SO EFFING EXCITED.” Several members of my family have expressed that they feel a CT scan might in order at this point, while others have flat out said that we should not do it. The general attitude is that we should start our lives together first, then look into this adventure later.

Start our lives? What better start could you ask for? At this point we don’t have kids, pets, car payments, house payments, or even jobs we’re so attached to we don’t want to interrupt our careers. If you’re going to jump into life with someone, may as well do it with both feet.

While visiting my home state of Oklahoma this past weekend, my granddad said, “You know, I won’t be mad at you for quitting that thing halfway through.”

I would say that’s good to know. We have support if we finish or not. I think when it comes down to it, we just have to accept that there are lots of people who will never really approve of, much less understand, what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. But you know they’ll be impressed as hell when we finish.

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