Petri on the PCT
An Introduction of a Soon-to-be Thru-Hiker of the Pacific Crest Trail
Once upon a time…
Once upon a time… The world was in lockdown and the only way you could travel was through the internet. There I was, trying to build a website for my yoga business, but completely digitally illiterate as I am, I had to do it all through YouTube tutorials. A video kept popping up with the title ‘Thru-hike’. It was the first time I saw that word. The woman on the thumbnail looked dirty but incredibly happy. I clicked on the video and… here I am. About to be like that woman. About to start my very first thru-hike.
“I want to see mountains again, Gandalf, Mountains!”
My Life in Short
My name is Petri Anne and I am from the Netherlands. I grew up in a tiny village somewhere in the middle of The Netherlands and I always dreamed of traveling. My all-time favorite quote is “I want to see mountains again, Gandalf, Mountains!” In the Netherlands, the highest “mountain” is 400 meters high. When I was 18 I got my ticket to the world: I got scouted as a model. For work, I traveled to the most beautiful places and lived in cities all over the world. Living the life, but that life had a downside too. It can be tough to be judged only by your appearance, so after a few years of working fulltime as a model, I decided to pick up a study too. Because you have to plan ahead and think about the good old future, right?
Life Never Goes as Planned
It didn’t go as planned. After a few years of studying, working, and not taking very good care of myself (plus a lot of other things that I won’t bore you with), things took a wrong turn and I ended up on a road that is called depression. I had to move back to my parents place and figure out a way to get out of that dark world. It was around this time that I saw the movie Wild. Now it would be a nice story to tell you that seeing that movie changed everything and helped me find the light again, but it didn’t. Sometimes you just need to struggle for a while to figure life out. Nevertheless, seeing that movie did plant a seed.
The only way is up!
When I finally gave myself time to heal, things started to go upwards. When you hit rock bottom the only way is up, right? Such a cliché – but they are called clichés for a reason! – and I kind of like them. Walking helped heaps. One step at a time (another one!). My first trip after the Great Depression was with my bestie. We went to Norway and hiked, camped, and hiked some more. I started to dream about the future again. What do you do with your life after years of depression?
Yes, you follow your heart. It felt a bit wobbly in the beginning, but what did I have to lose?
Life is Short
Off I went to India to become a yoga teacher. One thing that I learned from my depression is that life is short. You never know what will happen, and you have to get the most out of it. I stopped thinking about what I thought I should do and focussed on what makes me happy.
Yoga makes me very, very happy. All kinds of yoga. Hot yoga and strong vinyasa yoga. However, I also like the gentle yoga that helps you turn more inward, the more meditative styles. It is all about balance! The only yoga that I don’t like are the styles with names of beverages or animals in front of the word “yoga.” Like “goat yoga” or “beer yoga.” I mean, I love animals and I love beer but not at the same time as I practice yoga, thank you very much.
I moved to Bali to become a better teacher and started to teach yoga there. After Bali, I moved to Australia. Traveling and teaching yoga. Oh, and I never stopped walking.
Follow your heart, walk the PCT!
Due to Covid, I had to move back to The Netherlands. Lockdown life. I decided to build my own website for my yoga business with the help of YouTube, where a video about thru-hiking popped up. I never heard of the word before. After seeing that first video on YouTube from Homemade Wanderlust, I connected the dots with the movie Wild, and I was hooked on the PCT. I binge-watched and binge-read everything, I couldn’t let it go. Could I do this?
I decided to follow my heart again. In November, on permit day, I was glued to my computer and managed to obtain a permit. A week ago I got my visa to stay in the US for six months. Which was also a nerve-racking process as a freelancer with no children or partner and no home of my own. For obtaining the visa, you have to be able to prove your connections with your home country. But I got it!
A lot of firsts
Oh and my experience? I walk, a lot, and I love to camp. But hiking so many miles? Camping in the wild? My longest hiking trip was five days in Norway. Let’s just say it will be a steep learning curve for me. It will be a lot of firsts. First time camping in a desert, first time digging a cat hole (I need a YouTube tutorial on that!), first time without a shower for days in a row, and so on.
Every day I wake up with butterflies in my stomach. It is real. I am going to do this! And I am excited to share my journey with you guys. Onwards! To see the mountains!
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