Torn between Excitement and Fear
With only a short time remaining before the start of my thru-hike, I can no longer ignore the truth. The endless months of fantasizing and dreaming have given way to the stark realization that I’m actually going to do this thing. SOON. In just a handful of weeks I’m going to be living in the woods, depending on my gear, supplies, and knowledge (or lack thereof) to survive. This hike is real. And I don’t mind admitting that I’m scared.
You might wonder what I’ve been doing all this time. After all, I’ve had nearly a year to prepare. And that’s the problem, I think. I’ve had too much time. The initial excitement of entering this new world — researching and buying gear, reading all I could about the trail, trying to educate myself about the hiking culture — gave way to complacency as the months ticked by. After half a year of studying I knew enough not to feel quite so ignorant. I still had no real experience aside from my weekly day hikes, but I had plenty of time. The thru-hike was distant enough that I didn’t feel any urgency. Instead, I spent my time fiddling around the edges — testing out various hats, second guessing my choice of shirts, trying out my rain gear in the local park.
Until now. Now it has finally hit me that my time is up. I need to make my decisions now — and then live with the consequences. Starting to box up my mail-drops has driven that point home, giving me visual proof of how unprepared I actually am.
So as the final weeks rush by, I’m torn between excitement and fear. Excitement because I’m going to have an adventure. I’m going to leave my life behind. I’m going to meet people with different lifestyles, see places I’ve never visited, and change in ways I can’t even imagine yet. But at the same time I’m scared to death. I’m worried that my body will fail me. I fear I’ll face dangers I can’t surmount. And most of all, I’m scared that I won’t live up to my expectations, that I’ll discover I’m more of a coward than I care to admit, and that I’ll end up letting myself and my husband down.
But for better or worse, I’m doing this thing. It’s real. It’s here. It’s going to be amazing.
And I’m utterly terrified.
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