That Moment When…

I had a very distinct metamorphosis moment recently. Before it happened, I was planning a NOBO thru-hike for 2016. I was a city girl who appreciated, enjoyed, maybe even loved the outdoors – but I loved having four walls around me more. I was getting ready to hike the Appalachian Trail because I wasn’t happy with my life. I was feeling too complacent, apathetic, unmotivated, and had no idea what I wanted to do next.  I saw my thru-hike as an escape, a way to temporarily take time out of the mundane to do something different.

Now, I am a thru-hiker. I live in the city, and I love it here, but without my daily walks through one of the many beautiful parks in the city, I start to feel trapped. I am thrilled to be alive, and I’m so excited to spend a few months of this incredible life exploring nature on the AT. Daily, I feel a discontent with the banal routine of city life. I’m passionate about making a difference in the world, and there are so many things I want to accomplish with my life. Hiking the AT is one part of a bigger journey, that is life. All it takes to have an adventure is to decide to have an adventure. And that is what I intend to do.

I realize this is all very dramatic. Of course, for some people, hiking the AT is a temporary escape, or they discover themselves on the trail. And I’m sure that a lot of that will happen for me, and I will almost certainly have seasons of routine, and even discontent, in my life after the trail. However, I realized that there was something off about my reasons for hiking. Proving to myself that I am capable of it is simply not enough reason to keep me going when the going gets tough. Even proving that to others probably won’t do it. The more I thought about it, the more I saw that there was no external incentive that would keep me motivated to keep on trudging. I had spent so long trying to figure out what I am going to get out of hiking, I forgot that, as Amelia Earhart said, “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

So while things like “to prove to myself that I am capable of more than I know” and “to shut down the haters who say I can’t do it” are still on my Why Hike? list, my number one reason is to see what’s around the next bend, to take the next hundred steps into God’s glorious creation, and to accept the adventure that is in front of me each day, whatever it may contain.

This seems very grandiose, considering my epiphany happened from simply seeing some video footage of the AT. Seeing the white blazes filled me with anticipation, because that little rectangle of white paint is going to mean home. Even on a screen inside four walls, I felt like I was at home. And I can’t wait to get there!

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