Thoughts Before Takeoff: Saying Hi to the Butterflies
I’m approximately 110 miles from Amicalola Falls, writing this from the passenger seat as my mom lugs us down to Georgia from Maryland. First, huge shoutout to my mom. She not only drove most of the way down south and funded our last few meals before the trail, but she also gave us pep talks galore and ensured we had everything we needed physically and mentally before taking our first steps into the woods. The level of enthusiasm and encouragement from my friends, family, and colleagues has been unreal. The magic of embarking on this journey is unearthing the support that’s been here all along, so to all of my off-trail pals who have showered me with love – THANK YOU!
What hasn’t been here all along are the pesky little butterflies that have bloomed in my belly. I haven’t felt them in years – but you know what – isn’t that saying something? Perhaps I’ve gotten too comfortable in my life, slipping too far into routine. I haven’t enticed excitement from a challenge in a while. Anxiety sometimes sneaks itself into my day-to-day life from ballooning responsibilities and obligations, but the light as a feather sensation of butterflies was a feeling I thought died with adulthood. I couldn’t be happier to be wrong. My pre-trail nerves have awakened the butterflies from their cocoons right in time for spring, and I’m so here for it. These are positive nerves and they feel oh so good!
And oddly, I don’t feel anxious. I think some people like to view a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail as an avenue of abnegation: cold nights, wet weeks, harrowing hunger. From my perspective, I think I’ll find comfort in these seemingly uncomfortable situations because they’ll allow me to get to know myself deeper and connect to those around me through shared experiences. I’m prepared for the discomfort and am ready to be humbled in every which way, and I believe that acceptance has alleviated the anxiety.
The next time you hear from me I’ll be boots on the ground! Thank you to everyone who has shown their support so far. It truly means a lot. If you’d like to show support but you don’t know how, I’ve made a hiking playlist I hope to explore while chasing miles. I’d love for you to share some tunes to keep me moving! You can add your songs to my shared Spotify playlist here or comment your recommendations down below. HAPPY HIKING!!!
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