This last week has been a roller coaster of emotions, stress and anxiety. I am jobless, semi-homeless, and according to everyone I talk to, nuts. I have been completely overwhelmed by the support shown to me, though, from coworkers, friends and even complete strangers.
My official journey began at Day T-3, April 1. I woke early on my first unemployed day and finished packing the last of my belongings that were bound for my parent’s house. Once that was completed, I gave the apartment a once-over so that it wouldn’t be a complete mess when I return. After a while, though, I realized I was stalling and forced myself to lock up and get on the road. About 10 hours later, I was in Michigan.
Day T-2 was spent sorting my extra gear and the little bit of resupply items I had, so that my parents (aka Team Michigan) would be able to find things easily. I took care of a few bank issues and did my final grocery store run. I also got to see my “big sister” Tina one last time, which is always a laughter-filled visit. After dinner, I walked my parents through all the gear and supplies I was leaving home, and answered any of their last minute questions.
Day T-1 saw the last of the gear prep, and my pack being loaded for the trek. I’m pretty sure I went a little overboard on food, but for a first week, I wasn’t sure what to fully expect. I may alter the contents some when I officially weigh my pack at the Amicalola Falls State Park Visitor Center.
I also shaved my head and face for the last time. Well, at least my face. I make no promises that I won’t shave my head again… I haven’t had hair longer than about half an inch since I was in 7th grade!
After lunch, we drove to my aunt’s house. I haven’t met my cousin’s new baby yet and hadn’t seen my aunt, uncle, or cousins since last summer. Plus, their house is two hours in the right direction! So two less hours to drive the next day. My aunt cooked an amazing dinner for us and we chatted and played with the baby.
Day T-0 was a pretty dull day. Michigan to Georgia in one day. Lots of highway driving, but at least the weather was beautiful and there was good scenery to keep me entertained. After getting checked into our hotel near Amicalola State Park, we went to a great dinner at Charlie’s Italian Restaurant. Amazing food. Unfortunately, Michigan State University lost… Boo.
After dinner, I re-packed my gear and removed a few items, in hopes my total weight isn’t horrendous. But at this point, it is what it is. I know I have a few items that are “luxury” items (journal, camera, Kindle) but I plan to do small miles at first and this will help with boredom when I’m just sitting in my tent waiting out the rain storms that are coming.
Tomorrow, I start up the Approach Trail and officially start my hike. I’ll post again somewhere up the trail! HUGE shout-out to my parents – the best any kid could ever hope for – for driving me for 12 hours to Georgia! And to everyone who has shown me support and encouragement the past year as I’ve planned this adventure.
As my good friend, Gary, always says, “Just another day in paradise.” Remember to Spin the Compass…
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