Quitting my Job to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail idea sparked my interest while ago. At that time, a thru-hike seemed more beautiful than challenging; more ethereal than rugged. Henri was the one who brought it up as a dream of his and I must say, I sort of just acquired it by fascination. The more I learned about hiking, camping, and survival, the more this dream idea seemed within reach. On one hand, I could easily say, “I wanted to do it because Henri wanted to do it” but that’s simply not true. When thinking about why I personally want to do it, there is a laundry list of reasons. What it comes down to is this: No. I probably would never have thought to hike the Appalachian Trail if I wasn’t dating the man that I am dating and if he didn’t introduce me to it. Isn’t that what people in a healthy relationship do, though? Motivate each other to chase their dreams and create new dreams and memories together?
Stick with me, guys. Other than this post being a wildly annoying brief on my trail and relationship history, it is also very new in the way that it is being written. I can unapologetically scream it on the top of my lungs now (and being a New Yorker, most people would likely just ignore me and walk on by): “I am hiking the Appalachian Trail!!!” What makes it so much more liberating this time is that I took the one step that I needed to in order to make this truly happen. No, not purchasing equipment. Not doing a shakedown hike or dehydrating even more food. But this: I quit my job.
Now, everyone has been asking the same thing. How did it go? Well, let’s start with how I thought it would go. I was terrified. I was ready I was to write a post analyzing the unfortunate situation of being told I’m making a poor decision. I was prepared to feel terribly guilty or told that this was a poor choice. I anticipated that my boss Keith’s reaction would leave me feeling misunderstood. Actually, I WAS a little misunderstood. I said “Appalachian Trail” and he asked “So how long do you need? A long weekend or more?” Other than that, though, that anticipatory anxiety vanished as we discussed more. In short, with Keith the whole situation went better than I could have ever expected. The leave was professional and on a good note… Well, as professional as it can be for announcing it to the team, only to then happily participate in the Q&A session revealing the (perhaps TMI) details of how infrequent showering will occur and how to poop in the woods (“Good thing girls don’t poop”).
For those of you who don’t know, I work(ed) in digital advertising. It’s an industry I sort of just fell into after college. It’s something I feel confident that I am capable of doing, but my passion is scattered. It’s in clay and illustration and writing and fitness. It’s not in one place, so the goal is to live that way for the time being. I am leaving without anything waiting back for me here in New York. Perhaps I’ll find myself back in the industry. Maybe I’ll go back to school for something else. I may fall into another random career. Or maybe I’ll return to my love of the service industry. If I were unable to quit and let go of my current situation, the trail wouldn’t be as freeing and it certainly wouldn’t have the potential to be such a pivotal point in my life. I’m grateful that I have been receiving support and validation not only from my friends and family, but from the people that I see everyday. I wouldn’t change my experience or my decisions for anything, and that’s how I know I’m doing it right… I think.
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.