Why I stopped writing

It’s been about a year since my last post for The Trek, about 10 months since I climbed Katahdin on a beautiful August morning, and about a year and a half since I made a New Year’s resolution to keep writing this blog during my thru hike.

So, why did I break that resolution? Why did I stop writing?

I remember one evening, probably somewhere in Virginia. It had been a long but wonderful day, full of green and fresh air. I climbed into my tent after a meal of Annie’s mac-and-cheese, and pulled out my journal to draft my next post.

I had all these amazing memories swirling around in my head…and the words just wouldn’t come. How do I explain my feelings, emotions, and experiences to other people when I can barely articulate them to myself? Maybe other hikers have experienced this, maybe not. For me, there was something so special and so undefinable about what I was experiencing during my hike, and I didn’t quite know how to translate that into words.

Ultimately, I made the decision to invest in the moment instead of struggling to capture my feelings in writing. There’s this incredible community of people on the trail, and I found myself spending more time with them talking and reminiscing and just living in this moment that we had created for ourselves.

I began this hike for me. While I ended up sharing it with many other fantastic people, its effect on me and the growth I felt and experienced remain mine. I’ve realized since I summited Katahdin that stopping this blog was right for me at the time. Now, perhaps, I can begin writing again, for myself and for others.

This post is short. Perhaps evidence that I don’t quite know yet how to begin again. I guess I just need to be patient. My trail legs will come with time, patience, and perseverance.

With Leprachaun at Abol Bridge. Photo by Push.

What do you think? Did you keep up with a blog on your last hike? Share your story in the comments!

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Comments 5

  • Karyn : Jun 19th

    Hey Zoe,
    Let me say first of all Congratulations on completing the trail – that’s why you were out there, I presume.
    One of my “plans” was to electronically journal my trail experience via posts/blogging and ultimately I didn’t either but my issue was my electronics. HOWEVER, I will also say that your experience of living in the moment and enjoying the experience with those around you is exactly what happened to me – so the issue of not posting became secondary for me. I will also admit that NOW I wish I had been able to do some journaling/photos because there are so many details I don’t remember (having read others’ awesome accounts of their journey) and would have been cool to read and remember all that.
    I also agree about being able to convey to readers- I read tons of books, stories, blogs, etc. but NO ONE could tell me what I ultimately had to EXPERIENCE for myself. So just do your best and stop second guessing yourself. Your experience isn’t going to be the same as anyone else’s- you can only inspire them to want to get their own.

    • Zoë Symon : Feb 7th

      I was able to take photos, so I still have those to look back fondly on. I totally agree with you, BuzzCut, and I really do hope that I can inspire some folks!

  • Beth : Jun 20th

    Zoe, so glad to hear that you completed the hike and that you are doing well. Thank you for posting what you did. It was great to live vicariously through you. I would love to hear more about your experiences when you’re ready!

  • Outlaw : Jun 20th

    Zoë – I started with a paper/pen journal. Then decided I’d keep a journal in the Notes on my phone. Then I resorted to writing a blog post here and there on zeroes. I really struggled with finding words (and motivation and energy) to write while out there, too! However, in retrospect (and for me – everyone is so different about these things!), I wish I’d kept a better journal – even if it was just notes or mileages and events or simple things. My distinct memories of the trail are fading too quickly and they’re the ones I want to keep. I think I’m going to work hard to get my base weight down so I can add back a bit of weight with a paper journal. The three weeks or so of notes I have in there are precious to me now. I’m out on Mountain-to-Sea next spring – it’s a long time away, but I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to do!

    • Zoë Symon : Feb 7th

      I also have some paper journal entries that I love to look back on! I think perhaps that part of the hesitation for me was the publicity of internet blogging. Some memories felt too new and precious to share! I do hope to keep a more in-depth personal journal on my next long hike, though. I hope you have a wonderful time on your Mountain-to-Sea hike!


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