What The Hell Am I Doing?

As I hugged my mother and sister goodbye and walked out the front door, these words echoed in my mind. My family has been nothing but supportive since I announced this adventure. But today, worry creased their faces—an image that will be a reminder for me to keep safe and uphold the promise to my mother that I’ll see her again soon.

So there I was, at the train station, my backpack in tow. It contained everything I’d need for the next five months. Now, I’m writing this from a train to San Francisco airport, about to fly to San Diego, then bus to the Mexico border, and finally, walk back to Canada. It’s surreal, really. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doubting or having second thoughts; it’s just that the reality of what I’m about to undertake is sinking in.


I arrived in San Francisco a couple of weeks before my start date to prepare my resupply boxes and finalize my gear. The main reason, though, was to spend time with my sister and meet my newborn nephew. Both experiences were wonderful.

The image shows an infant lying under a quilt on an inflatable sleeping pad. His face has been obscured for privacy.

Little nephew approves of my sleep setup

I also visited Costco, leaving with a box full of bars and snacks, and then walked two miles to the bus stop—my own form of training. Another grocery trip followed, with my backpack filled yet again with more snacks.

Over the past month, I’ve poured over Reddit threads and blog posts to learn how past vegan hikers managed their food. After some meticulous planning with spreadsheets, I had a solid plan for my resupply points. Opening all those snacks, packing my boxes, and dreaming of the joy they’ll bring me at each resupply point was exhilarating. I’ll see my first package in less than a week!

Now that my gear was set, I practiced packing it all into my backpack—a task I’ll soon perfect.

Everything I will need for the next 5 months

Saying Goodbye

A week of logistics flew by, and it was time to say goodbye to my family. Though I tried not to show it, I was sad to leave. On my last night, I went out for a beer with my mother—a rare occurrence. She asked to join me, and I’m glad she did. We shared laughs and words of encouragement. We toasted to the success of my adventure.

The next day, my sister tied a Rakhi around my wrist—a ceremonial string imbued with her protection, something I needed more than ever.

We ended the evening with Chinese takeout. I scurried around the apartment ensuring I hadn’t forgotten anything, tidied up the mess I’d made, and then relaxed on the couch with my mother and sister. They offered words of support, love, and encouragement, reminding me they’d be waiting for my return. Emotions were high, but we kept them in check.

I picked up my pack, hugged them goodbye, and as I walked out the door, it finally hit me; what the f*** am I doing?

I’m actually doing it. I’m about to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

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