I Quit the PCT and Now I’m Going Back for Seconds (and more).
Last year, I quit my dream. Forty two miles into Washington, I called it quits. After having to skip all of Oregon due to wildfires, the persistent medical issues I was having, and the emotional toll of hiking with someone that I was growing apart from, I decided that walking home to Belden was good enough for me.
So what changed my mind and made me want to try again?
I’ll be honest, I’ve been working on this blog post for about two months now. I’ve wrote and rewrote my explanations for quitting and for trying again. I’ve always had a tendency to over explain, probably more to validate myself than to actually explain to others. I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time typing and retyping a long and drawn out sob story about everything that went wrong and every way that my life turned upside-down after I got home. I would nervously stare at this computer screen and hit delete over and over, none of it felt right.
On about the twentieth draft of this, I realized I don’t need to explain in horrendous detail why or why not. I don’t need to splay my personal life out there for the world to scrutinize. Me and my struggles are no more important than anyone else’s, so who I am to put myself on a pedestal for full display?
A part of me defines myself by my past struggles, and that’s something I am getting away from. I think sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in finding ways to define yourself or validate yourself and you miss out on actually living and having a human experience. You can’t live in the present if you are always stuck in the past.
It broke my heart to quit last year, but I’ve come to terms that it just wasn’t the right time. I’m glad it fell apart, I wasn’t ready for it.
I might not be ready this year either, and that’s also something that I’ve accepted. My goal for this year is not to reach a terminus, although, I would like to. My goal this year is to have an experience, something that reminds me that life is a lot more than what meets the eye. I want to see the world for what it is. I want to live simply and deliberately. I want to meet like minded people and form new bonds. I want to be myself without apology. I want to experience life at human speed and I want to try again with an open heart. I want to live.
So what’s the plan now?
This year, I am attempting to finish the PCT starting in Belden and heading north to Canada. First though, I will be attempting the Arizona Trail. Why? Well, because I want to, and that is reason enough.
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Glad you are back. I was wondering whatever became of you and angler. I really enjoy your attitude and writing style.