Pressing Pause on Life Off-Trail

With just two weeks left before stepping onto the Appalachian Trail, it is hard not to think about the people and things I will miss while on my grand adventure. If all goes according to plan, I have had my last poker night with the boys and said goodbye to friends and family. My subscriptions are in their final days and the last of my gear/supply orders are on the way. I know the things I put in storage and new Netflix shows will be waiting for me when I’m done but so much can’t be put in stasis for six months. Just as I hope I am changed by my time on the trail, I know the people (and pets) I love will also have grown and changed while I’m gone.

Nerves and Final Preparations

Out of nowhere some butterflies found their way into my stomach in the last week. I had been cruising through gear acquisition and felt confident with my prep work, but now the excitement is just messing with me. I go back and forth between wishing I could just get started already and wishing I had more time to prepare.

I am not planning any mail drops or a day-by-day itinerary, so I think I am left with too little to tinker with while awaiting my start date. I am also cutting back on my physical prep to minimize the risk of injury, stress, and soreness before I leave. This leaves plenty of time to see how many fears I can fit in my pack.

I am still fine tuning exactly what I will carry, shaving ounces where I can. In the coming week my goal is to lock it all in, down to my first supply of food. The only thing I want to add or subtract until after landing in Atlanta is stove fuel. I hope a sense of focus helps those butterflies chill out!

Remembering the Why

Everyone on the trail is hiking their own hike for their own reason(s) and I find the most calm comes from remembering and refining my own. I find myself stumbling through a list of bullet points when it comes up in conversation and it rarely feels like I answered very adequately. On the inside I feel much more clear; I want to meet the person I have become when I step off the trail.

I believe we are who we are because of the experiences we have had. Every day on the trail will bring new challenges and treats with plenty of time to absorb and contemplate those experiences. I am going on a personal retreat to see, discover, and connect with the world both inside and out.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 1

  • River : Mar 26th

    “I want to meet the person I have become when I step off the trail.”

    I feel this deep down. Thanks for putting it into words. Planning my own thru hike for 2026!


What Do You Think?