The One About the Girl That Walked to Canada
“I’ve told people that this has been my biggest heartbreak, but also my life’s greatest love story”
I’m writing this almost three months after finishing the PCT. I didn’t know how to start. Still don’t really know to be honest. How do you summarize a journey like this. How do you answer the question “How was it?”. How do you move back with your parents after living six months in the woods. I have no idea.
I would love to write something really smart. Profound and deep. To come up with a short, great answer to the people asking. But I can’t. This trail changed me, yes, it turned everything upside down. But I didn’t come out the other side enlightened and with my life figured out. Maybe I’m even more lost than I was before.
I still take things for granted and spend too much time on my phone. I didn’t start to meditate, and I still hate my body some mornings. I didn’t become a better version of myself. But I think I became a more real one. The trail worked like a mirror in that way. It showed me everything. Even the things I didn’t wanted to see.
I learnt that everything comes in two
Love and grief. Blisters and calluses. Ramen and peanut butter. Loneliness and togetherness. A beginning and an end. And that the first can’t exist without the second.
I learnt that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought was possible. And I learnt the kindness of strangers. Some of them turning into lifelong friends but all of them playing such an important role in my adventure. Maybe even the most important one.
My greatest love story
I’ve told people that this has been my biggest heartbreak, but also my life’s greatest love story. And that’s the only way I can explain it. Even though life goes on, and I’m working and living and shoveling snow here back home. It’s on my mind all the time. I dream about trail during night, but at the same time I can’t make myself look at any photos when I’m awake.
But I promised myself to never forget this life
We all promised. To never forget how it was to sleep under the stars, wake up with the sun in our face, eat disgusting cold-soaked mashed potatoes and create bonds with people through literal blood, sweat and tears. How incredibly cold, warm, scared and completely fucking exhausted we’ve been. How my body that I disliked throughout so many parts of my life, actually carried me for 4200 kilometers. How I grew brave. And how the aching in my heart is a result of everything it felt.
I look down on my body
My tan is next to gone by this point. The calluses on my feet the same. The only thing remaining are the small scars created by the bushes and the trees. I follow them like a map on my legs. I remember each and every one of them and how I got them. How it felt and where I was. My once very pink hair has a faint shade of pastel now. And how I cried when I scraped the last bit of nail polish from my toenails that I painted in Oregon. My body looks almost exactly the same. I wear the same wardrobe as I did leaving Sweden and everything is just like it was. Except that it isn’t.
On trail we felt invincible
And we were. We could chug a beer, eat a pizza and still keep hiking a marathon a day. But reality hit us hard when we all got back home. Some of us were greeted by war, sickness and heartbreak at their door. And we had to learn again. How nothing is promised and all we have is moments. And that is what makes this life. The ugly, beautiful, impermanence of it all.
But in the end, this was just a story about a hike. A long one. About hardship and beauty. Struggle and friendship. How a girl started walking from Mexico, but a woman came to Canada. But mostly this was a story about love. Because that’s what it was about. In the end.
Thank you. For everything.
//Snowmobile – over and out
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