What To Do When Your Spouse Says He Wants to Walk Across the Country

You know the story:

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy is introduced to the Appalachian Trail while accompanying girl on a family trip. Boy compulsively decides he wants to walk ~2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine, despite detesting family day hiking trips as a youth.

Okay, maybe this is where it starts to sound a little different…

Boy and girl buy gear during an REI sale and go backpacking for the first time. Boy proposes. Girl says yes. Life goes on, and the AT is put on the backburner.

If you didn’t pitch your tent in your living room when you got it in the mail, you’re a liar.

Patrick contemplating if he would rather jump off the mountain or propose

Freshly engaged

Until now.

When Patrick first told me he wanted to thru-hike the AT, I wasn’t sure how seriously to take him. It had only been 20 minutes since he had learned about the trail. This is laughable if you have had the pleasure of meeting Patrick in person. I replied “okay” and waited to see if he would bring it up again.

Our relationship grew, we married, and we continued climbing the rungs of the company ladder, but Patrick’s desire to leave everything behind and live in the woods for 5 months intensified. He wanted to thru-hike the AT, and he wanted to do it with me.

Truth be told, I would not have the desire to make this trip on my own. I already experienced first-hand how much there is to learn about yourself when you strip away the creature comforts while I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer prior to meeting Patrick. My time as a volunteer ended in a large and public failure. I didn’t think it was in the cards for me to have another crazy, life altering adventure. Then, I met Patrick, and I wasn’t about to let him have all the fun.

So, we bid our time, waited for the right opportunity, and took a leap of faith. I’m currently sitting in the last remaining seat in our house (the bed) while I write this, surrounded by bags of clothes and boxes yet to be packed as we prepare to rent out our home for the duration of our hike. After dreaming about the AT for the majority of our relationship, it’s unreal to know our start is a mere three (!!!) weeks away. While I am undeniably excited for our upcoming journey, I am also incredibly proud of this partner that I have chosen to do life with and the things that he is passionate about.

People often ask what I’m looking forward to the most about our hike. I’ve only recently realized it’s the prospect of discomfort. The struggle is where we experience the most growth and I am sure I will be humbled on the trail in ways I cannot even begin to imagine.

Plus, in the words of a very wise friend, worst case scenario: I terminate early, go home, and eat a burrito. And shower. Repeatedly.


Stay tuned as we experience both the triumphs and trials of being on trail..

Look at us! Just a couple of kids with heavy backpacks.

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Comments 1

  • Gina : Jan 31st

    It is the prospect of discomfort – I agree. It’s knowing everything you really need is being carried on your back! Best of times to you both on this adventure!!


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