Why We Hike
Why do we hike? Why do we adventure? Why do we take time away from our “everyday lives” to explore? Why do we move away from everything we know? Why do we tear ourselves away from the people we love? Why do we choose to challenge ourselves in such immense ways physically and mentally? Why do we throw ourselves into the middle of the unpredictable? Why do we make ourselves vulnerable to Mother Nature and all that she is? Why? Why would I consider this? Why would I WANT this? And why on earth would I see it as the most amazing opportunity I’ve ever given myself?
The answer is simple: I want to be better. I want to be a better person, to live a happier life, and to fulfill my potential in every way I possibly can. Because I don’t want to just live, I want to really feel alive. Three years ago I wrote a set of lists about why I wanted to thru hike the Appalachian Trail, how I would feel when I successfully did so, and how I would feel if I quit. Reading those lists from the past I realized a number of things. First of all, I’ve come really far in three years. Secondly, a lot of my reasons for wanting to hike now are the same as they were then. Third, my desire to attempt this feat isn’t going anywhere; in fact it’s only grown exponentially. My Appalachian Trials lists weren’t something I was planning on sharing, and some things I will keep to myself because this hike is so personal. However, today I just felt the urge to share some pieces of one of them, so here goes.
I am thru hiking the Appalachian Trail because…
- I want a big adventure.
- I want to be pushed out of my comfort zone. All. The. Way. Out.
- I crave an experience that can help me determine who I am, what I want from my life, what is truly important to me, where my passions lie & what my purpose is.
- I want to appreciate every moment of my life as it happens – to be present.
- I want to physically and mentally challenge myself in a way I never have.
- I want to face my fears.
- I want to be independent.
- I want an adventure for my dogs.
- I want to spend quality time with my dogs every day.
- I want the ultimate experience in nature.
- I want to know that I am still amazing, independent, strong & adventurous.
- I want to BE strong.
- I want to overcome the impossible.
- I want time for reflection & soul-searching.
- I want to follow my heart & dreams and to pursue my passions.
- I want to give confidence and courage to other women who have been too afraid to follow their dreams.
- I want to learn and grow as an individual in ways I never have.
- I want to feel ALIVE – because life is short, way too short.
- I want to climb mountains.
- I want to check something awesome off of my bucket list.
- I want to see amazing views and take beautiful photographs.
- I want to make a decision that is mine alone and follow through – CONFIDENTLY.
- I want to appreciate simplicity in all forms – to simplify my life post trail.
- I want to be a better partner, the best that I can be – I believe this personal growth will be an essential part of that.
- I want to breathe fresh air every day.
- I want to experience clarity and peace of mind.
- I want to meet amazing people and become a part of the thru hiker community.
- I want to accomplish something few have.
- I want to prove everyone wrong – maybe even myself.
- I want to feel like I’m a part of something larger than myself – being in nature has that effect on me.
- I want to stop accepting what is mediocre in my life and make a change – possibly many changes
- I want to believe in myself completely
- I want to trust myself so I spend less time doubting my decisions
- I want to know the sky is the limit
- I want to restore my faith, confidence and trust in others (and humanity)
- I want to sleep under the stars
I hike to clear my mind and body of the effects of ‘real life’ and to be engulfed in nature. I hike to be stronger, healthier, and braver. I hike to give myself a better understanding of who I am, and to bring about clarity moving forward. In turn I find myself with insight into what really matters, and a path that leads to a life I’ll be proud to have lived. I hike because it makes me a better person inside and out.
“I am convinced that life is (and shall be) one long travel, may we never reach any destination but forever feel there is more to learn.” – the best sponsor ever
Happy Hiking! (Oh, and 12 more days…)
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I just spent 25 years living under those flatirons 🙂