Get Me Out of Here: Leaving Manhattan for the Mountains

Hey there, friends.
My name is Kira, better known as Runway on trail. I am a 29-year-old (yikes!) fashion designer – turned thru-hiker. I currently reside just south of Boston, Ma, and recently finished up an end-to-end hike of the Long Trail in Vermont, something I hope to dive deeper into in future posts. On trail, you will often find me struggling up steep terrain, drawing in shelter logbooks, or completely devouring a deli sub I acquired in the nearest town. Off trail, I enjoy binging hours of reality TV, eating endless amounts of sweets, and worrying my parents by living in the woods.

Why I am hiking.

The year 2020 brought severe depression woes, but it also brought me the world of backpacking; something I had only thought was forever fictionalized in the books I read. The past few years taught me a lot about who I wanted to surround myself with, and especially, what I valued in life. Up until that point, I had been working in Manhattan as a fashion designer, a dream of mine from a young age. I loved my friends and many of my coworkers, but I felt like time was passing so quickly and I didn’t feel a sense of accomplishment in what I was doing.

The fashion industry is an interesting place, and it’s certainly not for everyone. It was something I was always good at, a mix of business and art. I can sew, and draw, and I feel like I have a unique vision in the industry. However, creativity turned into creative burnout and I found myself designing for the masses rather than just for the love of design. I am thankful for my job, as it allowed me to travel the world and experience different cultures. However, it also opened my eyes to the other side of the fashion industry; one where money is the focus, pollution is rampant, and the Devil certainly does wear Prada.

Moving on.

The longer I worked in the industry, the more I found myself growing distant from it. I invested more time in reading books about the outdoors, listening to podcasts, and putting pen to paper drawing the world in which I would rather be. I took weekend backpacking trips, but the urge to be out of my Manhattan office and into the woods was overwhelming and encompassing. The small trips just weren’t cutting it anymore.

At the end of 2021, I got the heck out. I left my cushy job in Manhattan and moved back home to Massachusetts. I worked odd jobs and freelanced remotely and saved up enough money to hike The Long Trail end-to-end in Vermont in the summer of 2022. The Long Trail kicked my ass, but also forever changed my life; and left me with an even larger desire to keep hiking.

The Long Trail, Vermont ; August 2022

Just do it.

If this is your motivation to embark on a journey like this, do it. You will not regret it for a second. I found myself surrounded by a trail of people who shared the same love of the outdoors as me. For this reason, I am excited to announce I will be hiking not one, but two trails next year, if all things go to plan. In January, I plan to hike the Trans Catalina Trail on Catalina Island; a 38.5-mile trail that traverses Santa Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. In the summer, I plan to embark on a thru-hike the Colorado Trail; a 485-mile trail that crosses Colorado from Denver to Durango. I am so happy you made your way to my page and I hope you follow along for more about my journeys in 2023!

All the Best, Runway——

The Long Trail, Vermont; August 2022


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 4

  • Richard Peterson : Dec 29th

    Nice post. Heartfelt and inspiring. Kudos!

    • Kira Melendez : Dec 30th

      Thanks so much!! I appreciate you taking the time to read it!

  • Englishgarden Garden : Dec 30th

    Hope to see you along the Colorado Trail summer of 2023. It’s fabulous out there. And enjoy Catalina—I hiked that trail January 2022 and it’s a lot of fun!! Looking forward to your blogs!

    • Kira Melendez : Dec 30th

      Thank you! I’m really looking forward to Catalina- hoping to get away from this cold New England weather for a week. I appreciate you following along and hopefully I’ll see you on the Colorado Trail!


What Do You Think?