Pressing Pause on “Normal” Life
When the urge to hike struck, why I’m hiking list, hike preparation, and when I plan to head into the woods for one he** of an unpaid vacation.
Where it started
As the days until the date where I attempt a little longer walk in the woods approach I guess its about time to document why I decided to press pause on my life as I know it and set off into the green tunnel. It seems as we grow up we are given a lot of advice about what to do to become a successful member of society or maybe that was only me. It appears the normal plan as it was recited to me was grow up, go to school, get a “good” job, meet a significant other, children, then retire and relax after a lot of hard work. So in that respect I did school and got a job where I was in most accounts a productive member of society. After all I work(ed) for a company that generates electricity that could have possibly charged what you are viewing this article on at this very moment.
Thoughts to hike
I would say my first serious thoughts of hiking the AT started after I graduated college and took the first job offered to me by the company mentioned above. My intentions were to work the job long enough to save up money and then hit the trail. Well life happened and I ended up spending almost six of the years of my life in the cubical village where it seemed like my dreams went to fester. Think Dilbert in real life. The job worked out well for me in the financial department and I work with a lot of really great people but the pull to do go do something never left me. I am a salaried employee, which means I worked countless hours that I all I got paid for was a pat on the back. Doing this job in exchange for average pay for my field and a few weeks of vacation a year seemed to not be a great deal for the next 40 years. I reached a point where even though I was not doing to bad in my job but it looked like I was not going anywhere up the professional ladder and my job was getting boring. There was really only one choice, pause and redirect my course.
The Why List
- I don’t want to continue in my current direction in life (see above)
- I need a large does of adventure (about 2200 miles will do)
- I need time to reevaluate what I want to do with my life
- Waiting until retirement for the adventure of a life time is nonsense
- Time to start doing things I want to do
- No one is promised tomorrow
- My current situation is prime for a big trip or change
- Why not?
When I hike the AT
- Accomplished a goal I have had for over a decade
- Proved to myself large goals are possible and achievable
- Obtain an unshakable confidence
If I give up on the AT
- Let all the people who believe in me down
- Continue to settle for ok and not great in life
I understand I don’t have a lot of bullet points on the if I give up but looking this 75% possible reality in the face makes me feel a little un easy but I have accepted that it can happen and plan to dedicate as much as my free time as possible to become one of the 25% and full fledged member of the class of ’17.
Bonus: Preparation up until this point
Recently I have been doing day shakedown hikes to access my physical preparedness to hike as well as trying to get used to walking hours a day with a loaded pack on my back. Yes I know this may not be 100% similar to my experience on the trail but all the weird looks you get on walking trials with trekking poles with a full back pack and setting up your hammock for time are priceless. I have done two AT shakedown hikes so far one to Springer Mt. and one in VA. The one in VA is chronicled on this fine site as well as bonus tips for Shakedown hikes from a hiker that is pretty sure he almost froze to death after getting all of his stuff soaked on an AT trip early on in his adventures into hiking. As for normal exercise I started doing CrossFit a few years ago and will continue to do it up until my hike to keep in shape to give me better chance to touch that sign in Maine next year. I also do a little running to supplement other activity. I figure all that combined with ample TV watching while researching all gear articles on the Internet should take up a lot of my free time up until April.
Well that is my brief introduction and my why I’m hiking list. I intend to post a few more times if the inspiration strikes before moving my entire life back in with my parents to save a little money for my hike and get a freeish ride to Amicalola falls state park around the beginning of April. Until the next post I’ll continue my binge reading of all your new posts and try to provide my thoughts on any questions I may have any insight on.
The cover picture is from my shakedown hike up the approach trail to Springer Mountain. That picture sets in my living room as well as on my desk in cubical village to remind me where it all will start and the opportunities for growth ahead of us all.
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or really want to talk some sense into me let me know down below in the comments.
See you at Springer
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