Let Me Introduce Myself
My name is Ashley Vines. I’m 32 years old and am FINALLY embarking on the adventure of a lifetime- thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. All five million steps of it.
As stated in my bio, I grew up in western NC but have lived in Wilmington, NC the past 14 years. I grew up climbing trees, riding horses, and daydreaming of all the places I would travel to when I grew up. I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit in that sense.
For the past 10ish years, I have worked in EMS whipping around Brunswick County in the boo-boo bus, loving *almost* every minute of it. Recently though, I decided to take a step back, drop down to part-time and get a job serving beer at a local brewery.
Also, I decided to get my yoga instructor certification and then leave to walk in the woods for six months. So there’s that. (Side note: who says a mid-life crisis has to happen at “mid-life” OR that it has to be a crisis?) I like to think of it as my awakening.
Why would you want to walk in the woods for six months?
I’ve heard this question quite frequently since announcing that I would be hiking the AT, but my answers can never fully describe why I want to do this. Everyone has their reasons for attempting something like this but to keep it simple, point-blank: I NEED to walk in the woods for six months. I NEED to set out after huge goals like this.
Hiking the AT has been a goal and my ultimate dream for the past ten years. I bought my first thru-hikers companion book in 2013, followed by 2017, 2020, and now 2022. I think it’s about damn time I get to put one of them to use.
That being said I’d like to throw out my “lists”:
I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…
- I want to separate myself from the stresses of everyday life to gain a broader perspective on the direction of my life.
- I want to gain confidence in myself and what I am capable of.
- This dream was placed in my head many years ago and I feel the absolute need to go.
- If I were on my death bed I would feel extreme regret for never attempting this. (Seems dramatic I know, but it’s true)
- I want to allow myself to experience a simpler lifestyle fully immersed in nature.
- I need to build a better relationship with food and the importance of it as fuel.
- I need to prove to myself that I am capable of standing on my own two feet.
- I want to prove everyone wrong who has doubted me.
- I made a commitment to myself to do this. No excuses.
When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail I will…
- Have confidence in myself and how strong I am.
- Have achieved one of my biggest life goals.
- Have a better relationship with food and sleep.
- Know that I can accomplish huge goals like this even when everyone else doubts me.
- Feel a deep satisfaction and appreciation of a simpler lifestyle.
- Know more about myself and what I want out of my life.
- Never doubt my badass-ery again. : )
If I give up on the Appalachian Trail I will…
- Have let myself down.
- Not gain any perspective on the direction of my life.
- Not believe in myself.
- Have given up on one of my life goals.
- Have thrown away the opportunity of a lifetime.
So there it is. Out for the world to see. I hope you choose to follow along on my ~2200 mile journey north to Mt. Katahdin.
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