From Paris to the Appalachian Trail


Sandra here, writing from Paris, where I’m getting ready for a NOBO hike of the Appalachian Trail starting in exactly one month.

It All Started in Tanzania

The journey of a thru-hike starts long before stepping the first foot on the trail, and my own journey started three years ago when I summited Mount Kilimanjaro and realized something crucial in my life: I needed more of this.

Sandra on top of Kilimanjaro

Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, 2018.

But I live in Paris and there aren’t a lot of high mountains to climb in the city, so I started juggling between my Parisian lifestyle and my desire to be in the mountains. I traded every time I could the corporate job for a backcountry trip, the Paris metro for a ski lift, the fashionable city outfit for a hiker trash look, and the expensive after work mojitos for a beer around a campfire.

And I still needed more.

Goodbye, Paris

So a few weeks ago I quit the corporate job, rented out my apartment, packed my fashionable outfits, stored them in a friend’s cellar, and decided to go big for my next hiking project and find a long-distance hike that fit me. Somewhere I won’t be by myself all the time even as a solo hiker, because I don’t like being alone. Somewhere I won’t have to carry weeks of food in my backpack, because my back won’t take it. Somewhere far from home but with mountains because that’s where the adventure is.
That somewhere sounded like this amazing trail I heard about when I was an exchange student in South Carolina. I remember driving to the mountains with my college friends, renting a cabin for the weekend in the Appalachians, and finding the place amazing. It was before I started hiking.

Hello, American Mountains

Ten years later, I’m going back, not as a college student anymore but as the grown-up I never thought I would be back then.

The challenge will be different, from graduating college and grad school in a foreign country to crossing the Appalachians by foot in a wild forest, and I feel quite different too, from a party girl in college, to a hard-working MBA student, to a corporate urban woman, to an outdoorsy, mountain girl escaping from the real life.

Old me

Goodbye for now, corporate me, 2019.

I’m happy to share the adventure; it will be rewarding, comforting but, also empowering and just plain fun. A la prochaine!

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Comments 1

  • Avatar
    Thierry Kums : Mar 3rd

    I will follow you, step by step and, to some extend, travel with you. You’ll be my feet and eyes. Take care!


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