Big Ideas and Thoughtful Conversations About My Hike
My name is Taylor and I will be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018. I live in British Columbia, where I am enjoying winter while getting ready to depart at the end of April. While I have bicycle touring experience, I have never done anything as ambitious as a thru-hike. I am looking forward to a different type of self-powered travel and the experiences that will come with it. I have decided to write my first few posts about preparing for the PCT.
One of the most interesting parts of preparing for the PCT has been talking about my plans with friends and family.
While telling people about my hike has helped me fully commit, the most interesting part of these discussions are the reactions. I’ve repeatedly heard three types of responses: I could never do something like that; that’s great/crazy, good luck; and that’s awesome and I hope to do X someday myself.
The third response has led to the most thoughtful conversations. Many people have big dreams but may not feel comfortable discussing these goals or ideas with others for fear of rejection; the risk of being seen by others as unrealistic or “out there” may outweigh the benefits of connecting with someone and making these ideas a reality.
I’ve noticed that people seem more likely to be open and honest once you’ve shared something that makes you vulnerable (like publicly stating your less-than-mainstream plans to hike the PCT).
I’ve had several conversations with friends recently that have been more introspective and thoughtful than our usual discussions. At the very least, the PCT seems to be an interesting conversation starter. These discussions may center around trips and travel, careers, education, work-life balance, or living a nonconventional life in general.
I’m surprised that so many people neglect or postpone their big ideas or dreams. For me, the fear of missing a worthwhile opportunity is greater than the fear of failing to achieve my goal. My privilege is not lost on me; I have the opportunity to spend several months hiking and eventually go back to university, both of which are possible because I have relatively few responsibilities at this point in my life.
Once I mentally committed to hiking the PCT, I shared my plans with different circles of people. I started with a small group and told more people as time went on. I started by talking to those who I knew would support me and my idea, mainly close friends and friends with similar adventure and travel interests. Their initial support and encouragement helped me have more confidence in my plan and myself, which is important as self-doubt seems to increase with the magnitude of the challenge.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far. I am grateful for the opportunity to hike the PCT and excited to share my experiences.
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