Why I’m choosing the AT over college in 2017…

If you have read the book Appalachian Trials, you know about the three lists which Zach Davis advises prospective thru-hikers to make before they begin (and if you haven’t read it, you should!). These lists are meant to remind you of your purpose for being on the trail when you begin to question it. So here is my logic behind my decision to hike 2,189 miles:

I am thru-hiking the Appalachian trail because….

  • I will be living up to my biggest dream.
  • I’ll get to spend six months of my life outdoors.
  • I enjoy pushing my body and mind to their limits.
  • I want to follow my own path.
  • Now is an opportune time to prove to myself and others that I can do anything I set my mind to.
  • I would like to discover how little I need to survive./li>
  • I want to build resilience, determination, and grit.
  • It will allow me to experience something completely different than anything I have before.
  • I should use my physical capabilities while I am young.
  • I would like the time to read and write which is difficult to find in my regular life.
  • I will begin my adult life by following my heart.
  • I believe I am meant to.

When I finish the trail I will have….

  • A new understanding of my limits.
  • More confidence in my abilities.
  • A higher capacity to overcome discomfort.
  • An amazing story.
  • Proven the skeptics wrong.

If I give up I will….

  • Missed out on a beautiful opportunity.
  • Wasted money and the many hours it took to earn the money I saved to hike.
  • Not be who I believe I am.
  • Be part of a statistic.
  • Set a standard of settling for the rest of my life.
  • Need to explain myself to a lot of people.
  • Proven the skeptics right.

I know these lists will be beneficial to remind me of why I am on the trail in times of struggle next year.

Thanks for reading and look out for more posts from me!

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Comments 12

  • Bill Storm : Dec 13th

    I think that is an incredible goal you have set for yourself Naomi and it is a goal I am confident you will achieve. I wish you safe and exciting travels and I look forward to reading any and all updates you may post along the way.

    • Catie S. : Dec 13th

      So proud and excited for you! I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you do.

  • Meghan M. : Dec 13th

    So excited to read more about your journey Naomi! I wish you safe travels and can’t wait to hear about it! Very proud of you!

  • Liz Wilmers : Dec 13th

    You amaze me everyday Naomi. So proud of you. No doubt in my mind that you will achieve and conquer your goal. I love you so very much.

  • Carley S : Dec 13th

    I admire you for fulfilling your dreams, it’s amazing and I wish you the best of luck!

  • Maddie M : Dec 13th

    Go out and conquer this world! Your determination inspires so many as well as myself, and I wish you the best!

  • Jeff B : Dec 14th

    Good luck Naomi! I will be also hiking the AT NOBO starting in March, I’m from Columbus if you wanna trade/share ideas hmu. Gonna be a amazing adventure! Feel free to follow me at http://www.tumblr.com/search/bullock427. Maybe we’re cross paths.

  • George Brenckle : Dec 14th

    Congratulations! You will love it. If I had one piece of advise to give someone doing this, it would be to read Zach’s book. But I can see that you’ve done that and have taken it to heart. Your lists are great. So heres another piece of advice – keep them with you. There will be times where you need to remind yourself why you are doing this.

    I thru-hiked the trail SOBO in 2015 with my son. He graduated from college in May, so we started south from Katahdin on Memorial Day. He was 23 and I was 60. It was a wonderful journey. But it did have its moments of suffering and anguish. Use you lists to work through them. We also spent some time hiking with a young woman (trail name Zuchini) hiking SOBO after graduating from high school in Massachusetts. You will love it!

    All the best and I look forward to following your journey!

  • Charlotte Gallagher : Dec 14th

    Naomi, you know that I believe in following through with your desires, never giving up. I am proud of your decision to fulfill your dreams but I do have to admit I will be so glad when you return to us. That is a long time to not see you…I am being selfish but I can’t help it. When things get tough, just remember you have people back home and in Florida that love you so much!! Be safe, be careful and reach for the stars of achievement. Now is the time, you will be glad you did it. Nana will be praying for you and following you with your journey.

  • B.J. Manaster : Dec 14th

    Naomi, we are so excited for your plans. We will watch for blog entries, envying you your physical capacities and enthusiasm. We love your choice.

  • Lil' Santa : Dec 16th

    You got this! I regret not adventuring or having some sort of solid travel experience before I went to college. Here’s my advice: Start slow and enjoy the feeling of not having trail legs. Take that time left over after an 8 mile day to just chill and get to know the other hikers. That was a highlight of my hike.

    Also, be prepared for PA and the Mid-Atlantic to suck. I lost the mental game in PA and got off trail at Delaware Water Gap. The heat, humidity, snakes, and creepy locals got to me. I wish I would’ve stuck it out.

    Oh and watch your $$. The south is pretty inexpensive for lodging and hostels. Once you go north, things really spike. You can definitely get by on $100 a week. I sadly, spent way too much on zeros and beer and hostels.

    Definitely be on the lookout for amazing breakfasts. Mountain Harbor in Roan Mtn, TN definitely had the most incredible breakfast of my 1,300 mile hike 🙂

    Good luck!

  • George Turner : Dec 21st

    One of my former students is doing the same thing. I managed to tear my rotator cuff on a visit home, so I still have the northern half to do. I was able to work in two 500+ mile section hikes in spite of my injury. The trail is a beautiful place and living in the woods that long will change you forever. Maybe I’ll see you out there.


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