top 5 questions I get from non thru-hikers
I have been really fortunate. The most common reaction I get when people find out I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail is one of immense support. They’ll say things like “That’s so awesome!” or “I’ve always wanted to do something like that!” Usually though, once the support has been expressed, their anxiety rushes in and then come the questions! And this is completely understandable! I’ve been grappling with this idea for years, whereas they’ve been grappling with it for minutes.
I’ve dwindled the most common questions I get down to a list of 5, and I want to respond to those here.
So, here goes nothin’!
You’re doing it alone? Aren’t you scared?
I’m not scared.
The thing about starting a northbound hike on the AT in March is that it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever really be alone. With more than a thousand people starting it every year, I’ll be surrounded by thru-hikers, section hikers, day hikers – all nice folks I’m sure.
But I’ve been doing a year’s worth of research into the issue of safety on the trail and while I’m completely at ease with this undertaking, I recognize my family is not at ease.
So, I’ll be taking a GPS tracking device to prove I’m alive.
What about your job?
I understandably get this one a lot.
I’m not a fresh graduate, nor am I retired, nor have I been laid off. I’m quitting a perfectly good job. A job that is rewarding and a team that is amazing.
So I can understand people’s apprehension over my quitting to do the trail now.
My job is good, yes, but I’m ready for something different. I’ve learned a lot in the three years I was there and now it’s time to learn something new. I might be nervous about quitting a job without a job to come back to if I had not already done something like this before.
Years back, I worked as a PM for a couple years and decided ultimately that it wasn’t for me. I quit and moved to Thailand to try my hand at teaching English. Now THAT was terrifying. But it was the best thing I ever did. Uprooting my life and my sense of comfort is no longer scary for me – more exciting than anything.
I’m trusting my instincts again and they’re telling me to move onto something new.
So I am.
What about your boyfriend?
I’m going to be honest here – there’s a bit of a mental eyeroll when I’m asked this question.
It’s surprising and yet, not surprising, that I get this question A LOT. I actually get this one more than I get the question of “why?” (which, btw, I rarely get asked).
Noah (my boo) has known from day one (three years together so far) that I was eventually going to do this. When I told him earlier in 2016 that I was going to finally do it, all he he did was hug me and ask “How can I help?”
He’s profoundly supportive and has not once asked “what about me? What am I going to do while you’re off hiking for 6 months?” He knows how important this is to me and he knows how important he is to me.
He’s not nervous. I’m not nervous. We’re just sure. We’re sure in us.
Plus, he’s going to start the trail and end the trail with me, with some additional visits along the way. So, it actually won’t be that awful.
Why the AT and not the PCT?
This is a great question.
I’ll be going over this one in a separate post.
What are you going to do afterwards?
I have no idea. I’m considering a variety of career changes but haven’t settled on anything quite yet. It’s certainly on my mind, but I’m not worried about it yet.
A lot can happen between now and then, and I have a tendency to land on my feet.
I’ll be fine.
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