Dear Team, I Have Something to Tell You
Tomorrow’s a big day in my PCT preparation. It’s finally time to share the news!
In 12 hours, I’ll be sitting at a conference table at work with my team. It’s the same table in the same room where we’ve met every Tuesday and Friday morning for the past seven years. Tomorrow’s meeting will end differently, though. That’s when I’ll tell them that I’m leaving them next March to take a long walk.
Breaking the News
I’ve been silently rehearsing what to say all day. I still have no idea what’s going to come out of my mouth tomorrow morning.
“So, a funny thing happened on the way to work this morning. I decided to walk to Canada!”
“It’s not you; it’s me.”
“Hey, have you guys seen that movie Wild?”
Not a chance.
Team = Family
I think they’ll understand because, for the past seven years, my team has been my family. They know that when the mountains call, I really must go. They’ve listened to me prattle on about snakes, catholes, and that huge 2019 Sierra snowpack, just when I finally got approved for a John Muir Trail permit. (They also tolerated my obvious disappointment in 27 JMT permit rejection emails.) When I disappeared with my backpack for a few weeks every summer, they picked up the slack at the office.
I also think my team knows my heart has been in the backcountry for some time. And I hope they know that same heart breaks a little to leave them. The things we’ve learned from one another—like the immeasurable value of blending high expectations and unconditional support—will be with me for every one of the six million steps I’ll take between Mexico and Canada next year. I’ll be the one with Altras on the ground, but they’ll all be there, too, in a certain way. At the very least, I feel confident that summoning up memories of our many robust “would you rather” debates around the lunch table will make me laugh loud enough to scare all of the bears away.
Of course, there’s always a little voice that whispers, “But what if they aren’t the people I think they are?” What if they don’t understand? What if they think it’s irresponsible or, worse, that I can’t do it? And that, my friends, is one of the risks of committing to the adventure of a lifetime. Yes, it’s a little absurd. But those mountains are calling again. And I gotta go.
I expect a mixed bag of reactions tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to share some of the best and the worst. Wish me luck!
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