It Takes A Village
Happy New Year, everyone! The last few weeks have been crazy, and I haven’t had much time to blog until now. The holiday season is truly my favorite time of the year; all the lights and snow is so festive! If it were up to me, I would plant myself on a couch with an endless cup of coffee for all of November and December.
In addition to celebrating holidays, Philip and I also packed up our earthly possessions and vacated our apartment. Most of our furniture lives in new homes (selling furniture = cash money). The rest of our stuff lives in a 10×12 storage unit, neatly packed away into boxes. Many, many boxes. Like, an embarrassing amount of boxes considering I am planning to go into the woods and live off what I can carry on my back. Turns out that everything I actually NEED fits into a 49L pack!
Philip and I didn’t get gifts for each other this year; when you do as much online shopping for gear as we have in the past year, every day feels like Christmas! I did manage to find a sweet deal on an add-on hip belt pocket from Gossamer Gear on Christmas day, so I ordered one for each of us. This is a pretty big improvement over the woefully inadequate pockets that come standard on the REI Flash 52 which barely hold a tube of lip balm and two almonds per pocket.
My mom and dad really knocked it out of the park this year. They put together a box of odds and ends that I can use on the hike! Most notably, Philip and I both have radical patches to attach to our backpacks. In true mother fashion, my mom quipped ‘I hope this won’t be too much weight for you to carry.‘ Though she hasn’t ever backpacked, my mother has made a very concerted effort to embrace the culture of thru hiking. Philip’s parents are more seasoned when it comes to outdoor escapades, and they know that food is more valuable than gold! They gave us some Mountain House packages (that Raspberry Crumble is reallllyyy good) and some money.
While spending time with the family, I learned that both sets of parents are happily ‘conspiring’ to discourage use from hitchhiking. Naturally, our families are concerned for our safety and hitchhiking causes them extra worry. From what I understand, some towns along the trail are very small and without options such as shuttles or taxis. Chances are, I am going to end up hitchhiking, much to my family’s chagrin.
New Year’s Eve
We closed the door (quite literally) on 2016; New Year’s Eve saw us furiously packing and cleaning our apartment in order to be out before the stroke of midnight. Okay, that is a little dramatic, but really we had to vacate on 12/31/16. I know for a fact I looked a bit crazy as I dropped my keys off at the office; I was wearing winter boots, scrub pants, a tutu, and a winter coat. A neighbor jokingly remarked ‘I must have fallen asleep early and missed the party!’ Honestly, I was too tired to care about fashion.
Moving out on the last day of the year is pretty cathartic. It is the kind of thing that smacks you in the face with the reality that everything is about to change. Time is passing really quickly; it is January of 2017 which means we are hiking the Appalachian Trail THIS YEAR and we leave next month. Writing those ideas down makes me feel pretty puke-y. Philip and I will ride out the time until our flight leaves by spending time with friends and family. By my best estimates, we will get to se our best friends three times before we leave. That makes me feel really puke-y. Why are we doing this again?
New Year, New Adventures
This time of year begs for some reflection; now more than ever, I have a lot to be thankful for. This trip is possible because my family (parents, in-laws, aunt/uncle, etc.) allow me to float in and out of their homes/lives so that I can pursue some wild dreams. My friends (who are really more like family) graciously allow me to ship SO MANY packages to their home in Oregon to save on taxes (it really adds up!). My coworkers supply unwavering enthusiasm and never really question my sanity or my ability to complete this journey, though they certainly could.
In 57 days, I am going to load myself onto a plane. Then, I will set off on possibly the greatest adventure of my life. Philip will be by my side (or more likely, in front of me), but it will be up to me to do my own hiking. I have to take each and every step. I will be trekking toward the Mt. Katahdin on my own, but I won’t forget that it took a village to get me there!
P.S. Life is better with a tutu.
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