Why I’d Rather be a Smelly Hiker Than Have a Job

A lot of people ask me why I want to hike for five months, and to be honest I don’t have an exact answer. I know I love the outdoors and adventures, so I thought, why not thru-hike the Appalachian Trail? I graduated from college about a year ago and want an experience that will offer me a change of perspective on things. One of my friends introduced me to the idea of thru-hiking about a year ago, and it was a little terrifying, but also extremely interesting. So here I am, about to embark on a five-month trek by myself and I couldn’t be more excited.

Me being excited to thru-hike even though this picture was taken several years ago

Pre-Trail Jitters Are Normal

Everyone has had moments of self-doubt (believe me, I have had many), but I want to show that people aren’t defined by those moments and are capable of accomplishing anything they put their minds to. From the outside looking in, it may look like I had the idea of hiking the AT nine months ago and in five days it’s happening and it was as simple as that. It wasn’t. The idea of leaving everything that is comfortable and convenient behind can be absolutely terrifying.

My reasoning behind attempting a thru-hike is to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve been planning every detail of this trip for months and during all of that I have had several moments when I felt like I was in over my head.

More specifically, a couple weeks ago I hit a rough patch. I had been so focused on planning the logistical aspects of my thru-hike (hostels, mail drops, mileage per day, food per day, etc.) that I was suddenly very overwhelmed when I was done planning. I was feeling anxious, asking myself if I had made the right decision.

I was feeling overwhelmed because I had spent not only thousands of dollars on gear and food (I’m sending my food through mail drops), but also a lot of my time. I felt ashamed that I was feeling this way, and kept asking myself why I couldn’t be excited like everybody else was.

These feelings are normal! They passed, and now I’m as excited as ever. I don’t want fear to define me, and I want to show others that it’s not easy to take risks. I am excited about documenting all of my thoughts and experiences on this blog for everyone to read in hopes of inspiring others to do things that scare them.

See you in a couple weeks, AT fam.

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Comments 7

  • Eric : Mar 31st

    Very inspirational
    Have fun And be safe

    Reply
  • Carmen : Mar 31st

    Always wanted to do something like this ….never had the courage. Be safe

    Reply
    • Lexie Fetzner : Mar 31st

      You can do it. Anyone can 🙂

      Reply
  • Nick Padia : Mar 31st

    Truly inspirational,in my opinion every person should see they’re whole country before settling in to something that will keep them at home, whether it be by hiking, car, bus or train. It is something I’m planning as I write this email and I’m 54, your never to old to reinvent yourself, God bless you have a wonderful and blessed journey.

    Reply
    • Keith Jackson : Apr 7th

      I agree completely Nick you are absolutely not too old in fact from what I’ve heard most of the people that thru-hike these insanely long trails are younger college age or older- 50’s and 60’s. I’m 35. I dont expect to meet many people my age on the trail lol. Stay inspired friend you have the right idea.

      Reply
  • John : Apr 1st

    Good for you! Enjoy every moment of it, good and bad. Embrace the suck. You will have some great memories to share. Safe travels!

    Reply
  • Mark Stanavage : Apr 4th

    Couldn’t be happier for you! You will have the time of your life. The times that you find yourself at the mercy of the fates, and a kind stranger helps you when you are far from friends and family will teach more than any humanities class. Understanding the human condition better than any philosophy lesson. So much learning. I wish you the fullness of the experience.

    Reply

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