I’ve been tempted; tempted to walk out of work; tempted to say something hurtful and blunt – off the cuff- to someone; tempted in complete frustration and hopelessness to smash something, to slash my thighs, my throat but…I don’t. I keep it stuffed somewhere in the already over-stuffed solar plexus, stuffed to bursting. I say to myself at that time – “breathe, you know this will pass, don’t fuck up”. I do do something, some small thing to make myself feel better in the moment but I am right, I’ve learned, this too shall pass and – it does.
I read some posts on The Trek and feel better about my planned journey. It’s really comical in a way that everything – it seems, everything – I’ve read about hiking the AT is all similar: a personal journey in which you find out what does and doesn’t ‘work for you’ during the journey. That doesn’t leave much absolutism to planning for a six month hike in the woods. All the gear heads have the answers to what you should definitely bring with you and all the grounded tree-huggers know that it’s what’s between the ears not what’s in the pack that will get you through the arduous journey.
The greatest obstacle as far as I can see it: Quitting.
Quitting my job and my life as I know it and step into a great abyss of an unknown. Making sure I have enough funds to pay for all my bills (mortgage, taxes, car and home insurance, utilities, phone) for six months while I do not work and then there is what I spend during my journey. Pushing away the fear of ‘making the right decision’ about leaving everything and everyone I’ve ever known and trekking out in the “elements” (i.e. leaving all known and, thus, accustomed to comforts of daily living for, instead, consecutive days of rain, snow, wet, cold, sweaty, thirsty, achy, hungry days in the woods with varying company of strangers to hours/days of complete solitude). That day isn’t here yet and until IT arrives I will vacillate between “good idea” & “bad idea”.
I’m not tempted to quit the trail before I start. No. I might question the shrewdness of my decision but I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions, which are…what? Being cold, hungry, lonely, hurt, destitute? Well, those are part of living, living even in the rat-race I am currently trying futilely to out-run. What are the benefits of thru-hiking, taking a chance? Freedom, interconnectedness with others in the most organic way, immersing myself in nature, finding my limitations, having an epiphany, experiencing the highest of highs and lowest of lows? Yeah. I’ll take those chances. The way I see it right now, changing my course, … I can’t lose.