What the Hell Have I Done?
What the HELL have I done, who in their right mind decides to hike over 2,000 miles? ME! That’s who! Deciding to graduate early, work to save up, and swallow my pride and ask for some financial help to thru-hike, is one of the best decisions I have made in my 18 years of existence.
But, let’s get to why I decided to do all of this…
NATURE! Have you seen outside?
Living in a small town that almost everyone is in love with a nature preserve called Glen Helen, I have grown up appreciating the wilderness and everything it offers to you. I have also grown up in the 21st century and have seen how the appreciation for the wilderness has been depleting and isn’t taught to people. So why do I want to hike? To experience all that I can, before… well you know, it turns into a sad scoop of ice cream melting on the hot sidewalk.
“Alone? Just you all by yourself?”
I like to talk to people, and ask them questions that I am too oblivious to realize is way too personal. By doing this, I have noticed something. Those that are single and those who aren’t, usually all comment on their hatred of being alone in some form or fashion. Being into psychology, and again asking way too personal questions with my therapist, we end up having conversations and discussing issues like these.
I have come to this conclusion… Despite there being over 7 billion people on the earth, we all know that feeling of being alone is a full room. I want to be comfortable being alone, and not depend on other people for my happiness or comfort. So a good way to try and do that is for me to stick myself in the woods alone, and hike with a lot of fucking time in my head.
Go against the flow
We have all been asked what we want to do when we grow up, and my answer usually stays between some sort of art, a teacher, or the medical field. One answer that has never changed is that “Yes, I am going to go to college.” the time frame of this hasn’t been established… but with my happy-go-lucky attitude, I changed my answer from, “Yes, I am going to college.” to “Yeah, I am. But I don’t want to do what I am supposed to do, or what everyone else is doing. College is in my future, but just not straight away.” Because who wants to spend a shit ton of money on school, and still have to spend money afterwards, for something I may not enjoy in a few years.
So going against the flow for me simply means, figuring out the hell what I want to do, and make sure it won’t kill me (metaphorically or literally), before my value is determined by my GPA, I spend more money than I can count, and make a few life decisions. Again, what better place than the woods?
Beauty Is a State of Mind
I am NOT doing this to lose weight. I am NOT doing this to be fit or look good. I am doing this because mental illness fucks with you in lots of unfair ways. For me, being able to hike up, down, and around these mountains will show me that my body is doing what it is meant to do. This hike will make me learn to listen to what my body needs, and make sure I do it. Battling these things are different for every single person, and sometimes it takes a lifetime to figure it out… But I don’t want to wait a lifetime. There isn’t a part of me that needs to be fixed or changed, there is a part of me that needs to be found. I can choose to find it in multiple different ways, but I am hoping if I follow these white blazes I’ll find myself along the trail.
Why Not? What Do I Have to Loose?
We live in a time where most people have a lot of options and leeway for their life choices. There was a time where I was stuck on the notion that if I choose a path for my life that I was stuck there whether I liked it or not. It sounds stupid to me now, and I have grown out of that idea thankfully. That brings me back to the point that I don’t have anything to loose if anything I’m gaining something. Some have said I’ll miss out on time with the people I love, or college or that hiking is just a waste of time. But let’s be honest, most of us probably spend a bullshit amount of time checking Facebook and updating Twitter, yet that isn’t a waste of time? I won’t be missing out on college because I am sure it will be there when I get back.
It is hard to articulate the feeling of freedom and choices, but I simply just ask myself, why not? It is scary to be a young female on my own, but it is exciting because I’m choosing not to be scared. It will be hard being this far away from my parents and friends because I’m in high school and these people are my support beams. But now I have to learn how to support myself, and I am proud that I have even attempted to try. So the reasons for “why not to hike”, don’t even match the reason of “why to hike”… and when one of the reasons above doesn’t seem worth it, I just need to think to myself… Why not?
Thanks for reading! Stay simple, stay you!
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Hey Molly!, good luck this year in the Class of 2016. Maybe, we’ ll cross paths. Happy trails.. remember pack light & enjoy.f
If I read right, I’m from a town super close to you (Xenia) and currently live in Cincinnati. My husband and I are planning a thru hike for 2017 (we have to save up). I loved what you said about college & your reasons for heading out to the trail now. We are in our late twenties and really wish we would have taken that time for ourselves when we were younger, instead of just jumping into post secondary education. Congratulations to you for owning it and making such a bold decision that is right for you. I can’t wait to read about your journey!
Molly! I so wish that I chose to/ realized that I could “go against the flow” when I graduated from high school! You are brave and bold and inspiring, and I hope to cross paths with you somewhere between Springer and Katahdin this summer! Life is so much more than a bachelor’s degree and a stressful desk job.
Great posts. Wish you the best out on the trail. My son (Andrew) a couple years out of school with a short attempt at college has decided to attempt the thru hike this year also. He was to go with his older cousin but she backed out so he is at it alone like you. Looks to leave Mar 15 from Springer, maybe you’ll cross paths. I’m looking forward for him to meeting great people like you and others I hear about on the trail.
Molly I graduated H.S.with your mom and I am BEYOND impressed with th ou.Have read several of the posts on this blog and will be closely following your hike and always silently cheering you on from Northern WI (WAY north-I work in the U.P.of MI) 🙂 All the best to you on your adventure–you are on strong, brave, impressive young lady!! 🙂 ((()))