My Whys: The Most Personal Thing I’ve Ever Put on the Internet


I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because:

  • My mom and my grandmother both died from neurodegenerative diseases (ALS and Parkinsons, respectively). There’s no way to describe how awful it is to watch someone you love lose control of her body, or acutely face her mortality on a daily basis. You never know what will happen in life, and I want to move and sweat and walk and see everything and experience everything and generally live life to its fullest while I still can.
  • I want to eat Pop-Tarts with abandon.
  • I’m burned out, and I’m lucky enough to be able to take a leave of absence from my (super awesome) job (for which I’m totally and completely grateful, I just need to not have for a little bit!).
  • Hiking is fun and being outside makes me happy.
  • I (kind of) work in land conservation but I sit indoors all day. The irony breaks my heart.
  • I want to say that I did it. I want to be in the 20% that didn’t quit.
  • There are moose and porcupines and wild ponies and all sorts of other wildlife out there to see.
  • I need a new goal to work toward. I’ve done marathons, triathlons, centuries, and a lot of yoga. I’m built for endurance sports, but I’m also lazy so walking uphill seems like the best of both worlds. 😉

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail I will:

  • Officially be a bad-ass superwoman.
  • Not be scared of the unknown or asking for help or the dark or being alone (hopefully).
  • Have the confidence to listen to myself and live my life without worrying about what other people think or if I’m doing what I “should” be doing.
  • Know that I can do anything (well, maybe more accurately, something really hard).
  • Be really freaking proud of myself.
  • Have met a whole bunch of new fun people who see life like I do, or at least who were also crazy enough to want to live in the woods for 6 months.
  • Probably smell terrible, burn all my clothing, and have a new appreciation for fresh leafy greens.
  • Have had an adventure (and hopefully some new friendships) to carry with me for the rest of my life.

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail I will:

  • Be in the same ambiguous place in life.
  • Probably have to take a lot of sh*t from people who are currently thinking to themselves that I just read Wild and decided on some whim to go try to be the next Cheryl Strayed (or worse yet, take shit from the people who didn’t even read Wild and are thinking to themselves that I just want to be the next Reese Witherspoon).
  • Have to face that the comforts of daily life were more important to me than doing whatever it took to reach my goal, and that I couldn’t roll with the punches.
  • Feel weak and full of regret and wonder.
  • Ultimately be okay, but disappointed.
  • Probably have broken something or otherwise horribly injured myself, which would just be very unfortunate in and of itself.

woot woot! let’s do this thing.

More to come and happy hiking….


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Comments 4

  • Jennifer Giddens : Dec 12th

    Big fan of this — some of my exact feelings! Best of luck! Might see ya along the way


  • Leah : Dec 12th

    Good luck! When is your start date?

  • Meaghan : Jan 30th

    You are already badass! the decision to begin is the greatest success of the journey- you rock and inspire me!!!!!! Can’t wait to live vicariously through you 🙂

  • Nomi : Mar 12th

    Sending my love!


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