Shall We? Yes, Let Us Shall

When I was 13 years old, I ran away from home for three whole days.  As I stated in my bio, I was born and raised in Washington state.  I lived in a small town called Shelton, nestled between Puget Sound on one side, and mountains on the other sides.  You can drive on the freeway and get to Seattle in about two hours, or you can take the scenic route along the Sound for about an hour and a half, then ride a ferry for 45 minutes.  I rode my mountain bike along the scenic route and, although I don’t remember exactly how long it took, I feel like it took a half a day. (I was only 13).  I left at night on the first day and slept in the woods.  The second day I finished my ride to Bremerton, where I caught the ferry to Seattle.  I took a little nap on the ferry and spent the whole rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the big city and was  both terrified and exhilarated at the idea of being there all by myself, on this grand adventure.  I made sure to call my mom that evening to let her know I was OK and not to worry, and I slept in the ferry terminal that night.  The next day there was no more exhilaration, just fear, and I went back home.  Of course there was all the drama you would expect from a mother when her son returns from running away, and when asked, “What’s wrong? What… did I do something? Are you having problems at home?  Why did you run away?” my response was that there was nothing wrong and I didn’t run away from anything. I just wanted an adventure to tell my grandkids about one day.  Lol, stupid kids.  My punishment was to spend all summer repairing and staining our fence.

The adventure continues.

A few years later, the summer after all my friends graduated high school and went on these cool senior trips, I felt left out and the itch for adventure came back.  I cashed my check one day, packed some bags of clothes and food, hopped in my mom’s car and took off for the open road.  The whole trip took about two months this time. I ended up in the Ochoco Mountains in Oregon for a few weeks at a Rainbow Family Gathering; from there I headed down to the redwood forests in Northern California, stayed at a hippie commune for a few days (I can’t stand hippies), and then spent a few days in San Francisco before finally heading back home.  I got in lots of trouble… again.

The point of all this.

The incessant need for adventure has been coursing through my veins from a young age.    Unfortunately, alcohol was coursing through my veins on a much larger scale… for about 20 years.  Two years ago, after being sober for two years, I was at a standstill in my life.  I spent the first year of my sobriety focusing on getting back to the core Michael; working out my deep issues, compiling a list of all the people I had hurt over the past two decades, and vowing to try to make amends, and becoming someone I myself can be happy with and proud of.  So after working on all that for two years, accomplishing some serious life goals, and truly being happy with who I had become, I was still left with this feeling that something was missing from my transformation.  It was eating me up for a few months, until one day while hiking on Mount Rogers it hit me… I need to through hike the AT.

So here I am, two years later, writing the first of hopefully many blogs about thru-hiking the AT, about nine months before I take the first steps on a truly grand adventure. Shall we?  Yes, let us shall.

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