Before we get to my post.. I want to thank everyone who has sent me well wishes and offered to help on my hike. I have been asked many times what I need or about setting up a gofundme or paypal site. I am not going to do direct money donations because I am not sure how far my health will allow me to go I would hate to have a pile of money for a cause that might not make it past Virginia. So that said here is how you can help:
I am in need of some folks to hold some gear for me and ship it to me when the time comes. For example my spare shoes, my summer sleeping bag, etc. I also would love to have some mail drops of love and encouragement (and food) from anyone who wants to send. If you insist on sending money please do it in a mail drop via visa gift card or something like that, as I hike those will be the greatest of encouragement along the way.. Email me at [email protected] if you want to set something up! Again thank you to everyone who has contacted me and thank you to Maggie who sent me a wonderful winter REI care package to help keep me warm. – Ben
The lease on the apartment is officially up, possessions are in a storage shed and I am couch surfing for the next few weeks with friends until leaving for Georgia. My buddy Dave always the purveyor of the obvious said “Guess that makes you homeless.” and in thinking about it for a moment I replied. “Technically..” I prefer to think of myself as a drifter, a scamp riding the trails of america much like my predecessors rode the boxcars of the country searching for the next town, the next adventure.
The hike itself is important, a time to reflect in silence and learn about myself. I imagine a large chunk of time will be spent looking back on my nearly 40 years and wondering if I made an impact and if I did was it a good one? The rest will probably be made up of some type of fruitless exercise searching for the meaning behind life. Are we here merely as an observational tool viewing the universe and therefore confirming it’s existence through our observations and documentations, or are we active participants in some grand scheme? What is that scheme? Woah that got heavy…
While the plan is to travel from Georgia to Maine, the goal is to live life un-tethered to the cares and concerns that complicated and wasted so much time and energy of my previous life. Take the adventure in front of me and not be tied to rules and regulations. I want to get away from the 24 hour news cycle of dread. Another person shot by police, another country committing genocide, another company spilling toxic crap into the land, the rising temperature of the globe, the acidification of the seas. I am only going to be on this planet another two years at max, It does not impact me anymore.. And that is both terrifying and liberating at the same time.
It’s terrifying because I spent a good portion of my life with a kind of impotent anger over these “atrocities”. Sure I would share on facebook and rabble about the wrong of coal ash in the water, or Fukushima and the rising of the global cancer rate, fracking, radical religion, etc. but I never got up off my ass and did anything about it. Maybe send a letter to my senator.. maybe… Should I have done more? Could I have done more? Would it have mattered?
But finally that crushing weight of the modern care about everything but do nothing attitude that existed for me is gone. No more sharing, no more news feed of dread it’s just two years of liberation from fear of the future, from remorse over something I didn’t do, from anger. All I need to do is walk. The weight is gone and it is so liberating.
How much weight are you carrying?
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Best wishes. Remember forward is a pace. Take in the beauty of the hike. When I was in high school I dreamed of doing this but life got in the way and now I am 56. How time flies. The journey is more important than the destination. You will be in my thoughts. Take care.
You have such a wonderful attitude about the hike itself. All of us should share that mindset. See you on the trail brother!
You’re a great guy, Ben, keep it up!
Man…I don’t even know what to say, but feel compelled to say something. As someone who feels the same smoldering anger over all of this world’s wrongs, I completely emphasize with where you are coming from – and why you would want to spend as much time as you can away from it all. I too wonder if, had I done things differently, I could have made any difference by channeling my anger to try and make positive change in the world. Mostly I just think that I should have learned to let go of things I had no control over long ago, and focused on the things I could a little more. I can’t think of a better way to spend time – any time – than immersing oneself in the beauty of nature. I truly hope you find the peace within yourself that you seem to be hoping to find, from a guy who is looking for the same.