Two Weeks Whoa
It’s closing in. In two weeks, or less, I begin my journey on the Appalachian Trail. I’m sitting here in my apartment, taking a break from packing up my entire life. It’s not like a typical move: I have to think through what I’ll want in the weeks after my hike (normal clothes, mostly) and set that aside, mailing it home or bringing it with me to my parents. I’ve had trouble packing up my books, and so there is a package of just books in the mail right now. The realization that I’m leaving so soon keeps hitting me in waves. I have to be done packing my apartment and preparing to move to storage by Tuesday night. Everything, done. I’ve done it before, several times, as one lease ends and another begins. But not like this. Sometimes, I get tired of answering the same questions about my hike – I just want to be out there. Yes, I’m going alone; no, I’m not bringing a gun; yes, I’ll be fine; they won’t be strangers, they’ll be my new family; hikers take care of their own; yes, I’m nervous, but not for the reasons you think; yes, I’ll sleep in a tent; yes, it’s a lot of logistics. Someone came up to me and stated, “So I just finished this book called Predator.”
Better questions get better answers: I light up and tell them everything, hopes for the trail, worries and excitement for the first week out there, how I’m re-evaluating what I want to do with my life, or thinking about whether I need some time off or some time off, how I’m so excited to meet new people and gain new perspectives and get more self-confidence that I can use even when I’m not at the office, how I have all this time to think. How I’m excited to spend a week with my family before I go, and have the time to think about all this that matters to me (it’s near-impossible with packing and contacting utilities and wrapping up work). It hits in waves: I’m really going, I’m really going. I am sometimes afraid I’ve made this version of me that’s fearless because I go hiking and camping – and I’m not sure I’m ready to take this on. And then I remember: of course not. How can you be ready for something like this? You aren’t. That’s half the fun.
I have to go. Someone is here to pick up my bed. I’ll be starting the sleeping bag life early, in the emptiness that was my bedroom.
photo courtesy JohnK
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