I Survived the Holidays, “Thru-Hiker Style”
Happy New Year, The Trek!
I cannot believe it’s 2019. Do you know what that means?
We’ve made it through the holidays!
If you’re like me, your family is completely and utterly baffled by the desire to walk from Georgia to Maine. Come on, walking double digit miles a day, in the rain, when you smell, when your feet hurt, and when everything in you is telling you to stop. What’s not to love?
How did I make it thru, you ask? (Insert thru-hiking joke here.)
There’s a damn good couple of reasons why I haven’t told many people in my personal life that I’m going to be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.
People do not understand and people will worry.
First, I don’t blame the people who don’t “get it.” Long-distance hiking is not for everyone. When navigating this type of conversation my goal was to inform. I told them about the history of the AT, what kinds of things are on the trail, and some books that they may enjoy to inspire them. In the end, I explained that something is pulling me to do it and I want to give in to that desire.
Then there’s the worrying family. Someone said to me, “But people die on the Appalachian Trail,” and another said, “You’re a young woman so you can’t go alone.” Violence against women is not just a walk in the woods type of issue. Walking across the street and going off to college hold similar risk, The few people who I told were also concerned that my trip would be detrimental to my career path and/or my relationship. These conversations grinded my gears the most. I’m not going into this ignorant of the risks that await me on trail. I’m also not going into this ignorant of the financial, personal, emotional, physical, and professional strain that could possibly await me. Trust me, y’all. Ya girl knows!
Finishing this post off with a positive note, I found out that my mom had my back the other day when someone attacked my desire to do a thru-hike. It’s not something that I expected from her because she wasn’t particularly thrilled about the idea in the first place. However, she stood by me and told that other person to stick it where the sun don’t shine. (OK, she didn’t actually say that, but close enough.)
If you or someone you know is experiencing a strong desire to go live in the woods for six months and travel nearly 2,200 miles on their own two feet, do me a favor and give them a pat on the back while promising to send them a care package.
Happy holidays, y’all!
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