If you check out my Instagram you will see smiles, laughs, and beautiful scenery. All of which is true. I am loving the adventure that the Appalachian Trail provides, but as the end of this journey encroaches on me and I near the 2,000-mile mark I must be honest. What my Instagram does not portray, until recently, is that I can’t wait to be home.
I know there is a list 2,190.9 miles long of things that I will miss from my thru-hike but I will save that for another day. Today, I want to reflect on the simple things from my stationary life that I miss. The trail has definitely taught me to appreciate the little things.
I can’t wait for outfit options. I love my Hawaiian shorts but I want to wash them seven times and then shove them deep in a drawer and not think about them until next spring. I can’t wait to put on sweat pants and a big cotton T-shirt and just be warm and cozy. I can’t wait to look in my closet and see all my shoes! Everything needs to be functional out here and I want clothes that are fashionable.
I can’t wait until I no longer have to ration my toilet paper. I don’t want to count out three squares per poop so I don’t run out before the next time I can resupply. And on that note, I can’t wait to have toilets readily available. I honestly don’t mind going to the bathroom in the woods but I hate the ordeal of stopping hiking to take my pack off and then walking 10+ feet (sorry, I know that is not the Leave No Trace designated distance) off trail to go to the bathroom.
I can’t wait for trash cans. At my house we have one in pretty much every room. Which means I only need to carry my trash a couple feet instead of tens of miles into the next town.
I can’t wait to grocery shop and buy food in bulk. I love grocery shopping; it is one of my joys in life, and I hate that I can only look at single serving, lightweight, calorie dense, nonperishable foods on trail. I want to eat eggs for breakfast or cereal and milk with fruit; I want to eat salad every day for lunch like I have since I was in sixth grade; and I want foods that require more than just adding water for dinner. I can’t wait until I am able to satisfy whatever craving I have within hours of me getting that craving. I can’t wait to not think about food 24/7.
I can’t wait to go get my new license with my shaved head so it looks like me and marks this incredible time in my life.
I can’t wait to make decisions. I love how simple life is on trail but I miss the disorder that comes from having a life outside of eating, sleeping, and hiking.
I can’t wait to catch up with friends. I have thought a lot about old friendships that I let slip away and I want to reach out to some of those people and rekindle those relationships. I have also been a bad friend to my current friends while on trail. I don’t always have service and even when I do I find myself so engulfed in the adventure I am having that I don’t reach out or respond to my loved ones. So I look forward to being there for the people I love.
I can’t wait to have a bed again and a bedroom. A big, giant bed, with sheets and a comforter. A bed that can’t be packed up to fit in a backpack. A place that does not move and that I come home to every night. A space where I can close my door and I can lounge around in a towel and I can be alone. A spot where I can catch up on all the movies and TV shows I’ve missed.
I can’t wait for my ankles, knees and feet to not hurt. And honestly there are a bunch of other things that I look forward to doing when I get home in a couple weeks. But for now, I will try to soak in all of the things that I will miss about the trail because that list is even longer.
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