Now Is the Time for a Change

Why Now?

What better way to spend a Sunday morning than hiking in the woods with my husband and making plans about how to make this crazy dream a reality. The first hurdle to doing an AT thru-hike is deciding that you can. The second is trying to figure out what to do with the life you were living before your hike. 

Lot of hikers do this in a normal “break” in their lives. Between college and the starts of their careers or grad school, some even between high school and starting college. Others will do it in their retirement. We have decided to do it when by most accepted standards we should be working and saving so that we can retire someday. This is because many of the people I have come in contact with in my life have come face to face with live-altering, even-life ending, events at all ages and stages of their lives. I have come to realize that I do not want to work and save for something that may never come or that if it does I may no longer be able to enjoy it the way I want to. So I live now and look forward to the trail teaching me even more how important it is to live for experiences not things and how little we really need.

New Life

I am reminded that I am lucky to have a husband who shares my dream to live more while needing less this morning as we walk. Making plans about how to make it all come together on an old railroad bed along a beautiful river in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

It is a beautiful day, sunny but not hot, and the river was sparkling with sunlight in places and reflecting the the trees along its banks in the shadier places. Many people who have visited the Smokies would be surprised to find out that less that 100 years ago a lot of the land that became the national park was being logged by logging companies and even more of it was cleared and being farmed. I think it is a wonderful example of how the wilderness can return to its former self if just left to do so.

Not only can it come back to its self but it can also help us come back to ourselves. Back to what we were before we decided that a life that was easy was better in every way than a life that is hard. Don’t misunderstand me; I am fond of running water and AC, but if you have nothing in your life to overcome you have no idea what you can accomplish. And without the feeling of accomplishment all the things you have are just things and have little meaning.

The Change Approaches

With my start date about five months away I am definitely getting excited and nervous about the hike itself but also about all the life changes it will bring. The only thing I have experienced that I can compare it to is becoming a parent. You plan, you prepare, you buy lots of stuff and hope you got the right stuff, and then wait knowing your life will never be the same. 

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