Prepare For Takeoff!
One moment you’re thinking of a date way off in the future. The next, that moment is one week away. One week until I say goodbye to my boyfriend, my parents, my brother, my friends and my cats. One week until I fly to Colorado to meet up with family and face the results of my online gear-purchasing spree. One week until I’m on the same continent as the Appalachian Trail.. which I’ll set off on a little over a week later. Whew. It’s getting very real. Can I do this? I think I can. Right?
As someone who has only really flown during Summer holidays, it feels odd to be preparing and packing while it’s freezing outside. Like Christmas in August, or Halloween in Spring. And yet, a week from now, I’ll already be on the second leg of my journey westwards. And so there is plenty to do that I would normally do on a sunny June or July day. I’ve double checked that I have aisle seats, I cancelled a whole bunch of subscriptions, I’m sorting out the clothes I want to bring. What should go in my carry-on? How will I be packing my backpack? And of course I’m getting ready to do the ‘I really can’t leave you with my mess for multiple months’ cleaning. I’m meeting up with friends that I won’t be seeing for a while and I’m guiltily feeding my cats extra treats and giving them extra cuddles. Any events that show up on my Facebook feed get the auto-decline, unless they’re planned far enough in advance. My to-do list has never seen so much activity and I am finding other people – people who won’t be spending the next couple of months in the woods – to take over any other tasks and obligations I might have.
My gear list is in the ‘kill your darlings’ phase. I’ve done a ton of research, put together a whole lot of stuff, but now it’s time to critically look at that big imaginary pile of gear and decide on the last couple of I’m not sure if I’ll need need its and order the last couple of things I’m sure about. Even then I know that I will be sending home a couple of things once I actually get some miles under my feet. And I’ve decided that that’s fine. I’d much rather carry too much in the beginning than too little, or be constantly worrying if I’m not carrying too little. It may add a little weight, but it will add a whole lot of peace of mind – which is why I have finally decided that I will be carrying bear spray. Just in case.. and because it’s lighter than bringing a sword. I also decided that I will be sending myself a couple of mail drops, despite the inflexibility that may bring. Why? Well, I’ve got a couple of lovely sponsors and I can hardly carry all that food right off the bat..
The last couple of decisions are simple. What book shall I read on the plane? Should I bring a small musical instrument to learn on the trail? Do I really need the complete Disney soundtracks on my iPod?
(Spoiler: the last answer is YES. YES I DO.)
Title photo courtesy bigbirdz on Flickr.
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