Well, it’s official. I’ve given my notice at work and am two weeks away from leaving my sleepy little town to head to my parent’s and begin my trek to Georgia. I will be jobless and homeless and hopefully loving it. To say my emotions are in overdrive would be a huge understatement.
To be honest, my emotions have gone haywire. I have become overly sensitive to things that would normally not bother me, and for some reason, I’ve become extremely self-conscious. It’s almost as if my self-esteem has taken a plunge, and I admit to second guessing all of this. I find myself reviewing my Appalachian Trials “lists” regularly, even though I’m still at home. It confuses me and frustrates me, but ultimately, it confirms that what I am about to do is big. A friend recently sat through one of my break downs, quietly listening, and when I had finished venting these frustrations, she smiled and said “welcome to your mid-life crisis”. I laughed, but maybe it’s true…
A lot of my worry is due to my finances taking a hit. An unexpected root canal killed some of my savings (dental insurance is a racket run by the mafia). My annual bonus was about half of what it has been in years past, even though my company made more money than they have in a decade. And I’m having trouble getting out of my lease, which will likely be a huge ongoing expense now. A friend suggested that I start a “Go Fund Me” campaign, where anyone can donate any amount they prefer towards my cause. But I hesitate at doing that because A) my “cause” is a personal goal, not something truly worth a campaign fund, like helping a family who lost everything in a house fire to replace clothing and such so they can actually lead a normal life again, and B) this is my goal, so I shouldn’t expect others to help. In the end, I will probably end up leaning on my parents and asking them for a(nother) loan.
Another stressor is that I have been too busy with normal life to be as prepared as I had hoped. Between finishing up some side projects and my paramedic recertification classes, I’ve let some of my plans for physical conditioning slip, which will require me to start a tad slower on-trail than I had initially planned. I haven’t had time to look through the AWOL Guidebook and familiarize myself with it much past the first week of hiking, which I suppose isn’t a huge issue in the grand scheme of things. And my apartment is nowhere near packed up… Although, if I’m keeping the apartment, then I guess I can stop packing. I just feel like I’m not getting everything on my to-do list done, which is a stressor in and of itself.
I have been surprised, both pleasantly and unpleasantly, by the types of responses I have gotten. Fellow thru hiker and Appalachian Trials Blogger “Big Tex” wrote about these phenomena back in November, explaining there are four types of responses you will get when you tell them about your plans – Passive Negative, Aggressive Negative, Passive Positive, Positive. At the time, I hadn’t experienced it, but now that most notifications are made, I can confirm his entire post, which you can read here. Big Tex describes in his findings that the Positive people will be the smallest grouping, and the Passive Positive the largest, and for the most part, that’s been my experience as well. While I will wait to pass final judgment until after my hike, initial “categorization” has placed a large number of people into the “supportive but not helpful” grouping. It’s one of life’s harsh realities, I suppose.
My bike club has wasted no time in selling off my belongings, though. If anyone finds my Road King, let me know!
Two weeks to go… back to the to-do list!
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It’s never easy stepping out of your normal life for an extended period of time. I know how you’re feeling, I had the same doubts & uncertainties in myself last May before starting my sobo. But once you get out there, the “real-world” worries quickly fade away. Enjoy your journey! Even after the entire trail, it ends too soon.