Three weeks left: Let the Freak-Out begin
I’ve discovered that throughout all my travels, international and domestic, there is one moment of clarity where I realize what I am preparing to do and can actually visualize doing it. The rest of the time, I’m pretty adept at living in the moment and not really thinking ahead. This is both good and bad – good because I don’t really stress or worry about impending events and bad because, since I’m not really thinking too much in the future, I don’t get excited to the degree that most others do about whatever it is I’m about to do, not to mention I’m horrible at planning. I think that I am this way because I traveled so much as a kid, and early on just learned to deal with things as they happened instead of trying to plan ahead and control what lay before me.
Back to that moment of clarity though. Mine was yesterday.
Two things coincided.
One: I was packing up all my earthly belongings, getting ready to move all of my crap back to my parents house in southern illinois. I’ve been living in St. Louis for the past five months, living with family and working at REI (thanks to them for the inspiration to do this trek).
Two: It started to snow. A lot.
Normally I wouldn’t bat an eye at either event happening by itself. We haven’t had much snow and it was nice to see the snowflakes coming down outside the window. I’m also really good at packing my life into three bags after making several such moves during my time in the Peace Corps.
Both happening at the same time, however, made me realize that a. I’m actually leaving the relative comfort of my St. Louis life behind, and SOON and b. that snow is gonna suck when I have to walk through it and not just look at it from inside the living room window.
Cue moment of clarity as I glanced over at my fully packed and ready to go hiking pack and back out at the snow. Damn. Did I really just decide to do this?
And then just as quickly as it came, it left. I thought about all the research that I’ve done over the past few months, the reasons that I am doing this hike in the first place, the countless people I’ve bonded with over conversations about how I’m going to hike the AT, and how I’m ready to get out there, deplug from society for a little while, and get my feet dirty.
I also thought about a quote that I’ve been kicking around in my head for the past four years or so. I’m hoping to get it tattooed on me somewhere, but I’ve gotta save that money for the trail at the moment. Maybe a completion reward… Anyways, here it is, and I’m sure it will resonate with most of you.
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this featherbed of civilization and feel the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints”
– Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey (1879)
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