Spill Your Guts and Name Your Fears

So this is the time in the year when we get to admit we are nervous? Thank. God.

I am up here in Alaska losing my mind! I find myself crunching the numbers, counting out 5.5 months from all different kinds of start dates, combing through gear lists some days the AT is all I can think about and some days I can’t even think about it at all.

So I am going to break down my fears by category so I can face each one. It’s all gonna fine guys, deep breaths.


It’s no secret that a thru-hike ain’t cheap. I am saving just as much as I can and saying yes to every opportunity for hours I get.  I want to be sure I have enough to hike comfortably, eat plenty of burgers in town and with all luck be able to build a life when the hike is over. I’m gonna need a lot.



For the last 6 months, I have been in my parent’s basement in Fairbanks, Alaska. Neither the town nor the digs are things I want in my post-trail life. I spent a year in Korea, now I’m in the basement, next is the trail. I am not exactly sure where home is but I would like to find out.   So on top of figuring out all trail logistics, I am trying to figure out where  (as in state or country) I will live. Attending school in the fall may be on the docket as well, which is its own layer of stress. It is so hard to predict the future and I don’t know what I will want then but I will feel much better taking off into the great unknown with just a shadow of a plan. Otherwise, I think I will wind up right back in the basement.



A lot of people take on big sojourns to figure out their plan. I have done this in the past and what I have realized, for me anyways, is that these adventures bring my light and life but no career epiphanies. Career epiphanies take research, self-inventory, and experiences. I am taking responsibility for this part and not trusting it to the trail, not the trail’s job. So I have to trust that basic things about my personality won’t change; like how I like working with kids and don’t like working with numbers. I am going to use these guidelines to help narrow down the job choices, and again have a shadow of a plan.



I originally said early March, then mid-March, then mid-April then late-April now I am not sure. It could be any of those days I keep going back and forth, weather, logistics, will I be attending school in the fall these are all factors. I also keep thinking how you can make life long friends that feel like family on the trail my start date will affect the people I meet, will I find my friends? Will I pick the wrong date? Will I wind up hiking the entire thing alone because of when I start? Uhg, too much.



Well, yes. I mean, if not I can always stop. But I reallllly think I will.


So all this aside, I have started to feel more excited than ever! My mind is drifting off more and more, I have been hitting the Stairmaster. The money is starting to add up and  I really just can’t wait to begin this adventure and see how it all shakes out. I believe in myself, I believe in adventure, I believe the cause I am raising money for and I trust my journey. OH! And if you have been following along, I FOUND MY SOCKS!!

So with that, here we go, ONWARDS!

If you want to follow along with my jounrey my instragram account is @leahtakesthetrail

If you want to donate to help empower women with physical disabilities through outdoor activity, (even $1!!!) the link is HERE!

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 2

  • Karen : Feb 16th

    Leah, I don’t think there is a wrong start date for you. Pick a workable date and go for it. No matter which it is, you can’t account for variables that won’t even exist until the day they happen. Trust that it will work out and enjoy every moment. The journey is the goal.


What Do You Think?