One of the first books I read when I started getting interested in a thru-hike of the AT was Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis. It was exactly what I was looking for at the time. I had already started reading forums and got advice on every piece of gear I could think of. That book was the first I’d read about the psychological side of things — getting your mind right before, during, and after. He states a lot of the obvious but there were definitely some ideas in there that I hadn’t even thought to think of. One of those ideas was telling damn near everyone what you plan to do. There is a certain motivation that comes with letting people in on your crazy idea; Now you gotta follow through with it! It kind of makes it official, ya know? If I didn’t do it, or even try, then when people would ask how my hike was, I would have to explain why I quit. The more people who knew, the more times I would have to rub salt in that wound. I plan on saving myself the trouble and using that as motivation to finish. The list of people I will tell amazing stories to in the future now includes: most of my family, anyone on my Facebook, my hairdresser, my dentist, my Ob/Gyn (we talked about Diva Cups! and IUDs), and …. now this is the official part …. MY JOB! Teehee!
I respectfully declined a sort-of promotion and then I had to tell people why. The reason is because I won’t be around for it. I haven’t put in my notice so it’s not official official but pretty much everyone knows and I’ve verbally told them my last day is November 27th. It’s a little unreal. I’m quitting my job, spending over a year at home with my family, and then I’m off to hike the AT. I still can’t believe that I am lucky enough to be in a position that something like that is even possible. Wow. Seriously.
There is, also, a very real possibility that the year off of everything is a terrible idea. I will talk myself out of it. There will be a million reasons why I shouldn’t go. I’m scared but I’m not. I don’t know the word I’m looking for but it’s something like being anxious … but more subtle? I feel like if I don’t make all the right decisions at all the right times, then all my plans will come crashing down. There is a part of me that thinks that I should just go next year. Do it now while it is fresh in my mind and I’m still soooooo excited about it. However, I think I’m making the best decision I can for myself. If I took off in March, I would quit within a week. I would miss my cats, my son, and my husband. The weight of missing them would be more than I could carry, heavier than any backpack. I’m not saying I won’t miss them if I leave in 2015 instead of 2014 but I honestly believe that spending that time at home first will really help lighten the load….
Plus, after a year of being a housewife, we’ll all probably be sick of each other and I’ll be happy to go!
I don’t know if taking a year off is the right move but I do know that quitting my job now is a solid plan. I work unreliable hours. I have a set schedule but the dying are not courteous enough to coordinate with one another on how and where and when they die. It is not unusual for me to get off work an hour or two late. Then there’s the silly notion that I may need all my joints and muscles in decent working condition to start my hike with. Four years of ignoring every back safety training video that’s ever been made has done cruel things to my wrist, my knee, and my back. Let’s face it… it’s damn near impossible to pull a 400 lb person from a tiny trailer with rotting floorboards without twisting… without bending at the waist… without holding the weight away from your core… all while trying to avoid bodily fluids that aren’t yours. They simply don’t make a freakin’ video for that. So you do what you can and it takes its toll. I’m ready to put my body back together so that I can let the AT rip it to shreds.
Did I mention I’m quitting my job to hike the Appalachian Trail? I believe the word I’m looking for is ‘giddy’. :)
In lieu of camping/hiking photos, here is a series of photos I plan on making into coasters. Goodnight!