As I look forward to this daunting adventure, I can’t help but address the dark thought in the back of my head, one of the worst words in the English language: the Q word and its different forms. Quit. Quitting. Quitter. Whoa, looking at those words for a long time makes me question if they’re even words or not. Anyway, finishing the AT, or maybe just not quitting, has become the biggest motivational factor of all for this thru-hike. Sure, I am hiking this trail for the adventure, of course, and to find out more about myself and maybe reach self-actualization. I do not want to downplay these reasons. However, deep down, I think the biggest motivation for me right now is to prove to myself I’m not a quitter. So why is this such a big deal to me?
The Inside Scoop
This past summer I worked at a summer camp up in Maine. It was amazing, the White Mountains were our backyard, the administration was great, my co-counselors were so fun, the kids were cool for the most part (with the occasional few shits here and there). Man, whoever would quit an amazing gig like that must be an idiot.
After a month of camp, I decided to come home early for some relationship issues to make a long story short (chicks, man). I was so sure I was making the right decision, I was blinded by love (or maybe insecurity), and after a lot of thinking and praying, I knew I had to come home. Quitting camp has ended up being one of my biggest regrets in life so far (I must live a pretty peachy life, huh?). I disappointed my coworkers, my family and friends, and most importantly, myself. I really shruted it. When I quit camp, I thought I was investing in a relationship, and listening to my heart. In reality, I was investing in a life lesson, and listening to destiny.
I think there were some positive things that came out of quitting the camp. I never want to experience the disappointment of quitting camp ever again, and I know that if I quit the Appalachian Trail the same feeling would return. That has put a chip on my shoulder to finish the AT. I want to prove to myself that I am not a quitter, that last summer was just a fluke, or rather, a life lesson. Quitting camp this past summer has caused many people to doubt my completion of the AT. They think that I will get bored, lonely, or I physically won’t be able to do it. “You couldn’t last two months at a summer camp, what makes you think you can last five on the Appalachian Trail?” I owe these doubters many thanks because they are just adding fuel to my already raging fire to conquer the Appalachian Trail. Proving people wrong is one of my favorite things to do, so I seriously cannot wait for April.
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