With a little over 30 days before I begin my Appalachian Trail thru hike, there are a few burning questions that everyone wants to know- 1. Am I Crazy? 2.Why am I doing this? 3.Will I poop in the woods?
The short version- Probably. Why not? Yes.
As a tried and true socially awkward introvert, I’ve been responding with the short version above and realizing that there is a chance that you may be looking for a little more info on question number 2. If that’s correct, read on my friend.
Why Am I Thru Hiking?
- I am fundraising for Kay’s Kisses. This project is my dream. It started as a little thought seed planted over a year ago. That seed has been rolling around up in my head all this time and the little sprouts are finally growing. I want to help victims of domestic violence. I want to encourage literacy. I want to do SOMETHING. This is my way of doing something, of hopefully making a difference.
- I love being outside. Can’t get enough of it. I love mountains. I feel alive and exhilarated when I’m surrounded by natural beauty and breaking a sweat. I’ve loved hiking since taking Backpacking 101 in college (And yes, that is a real thing!) but being an adult has gotten in the way and I haven’t been out nearly as much as I would have liked. Time to make up for that!
- I already told you, I’m a socially awkward introvert. I love my friends and family, and I truly enjoy my time with them and care about everyone very deeply… BUT- I charge my batteries when I am alone. I also have a lot of perfectionist tendencies and an endless To-Do list. 5 months by myself- no Facebook, no email, no obligations, and a To-Do list with only item= 1.WALK… sounds like true perfection for an INTJ!
- I overly plan for EVERYTHING (including this trip…); I run through 5 scenarios for every situation and can’t possible make a single decision until I have read a minimum of 3 books on the topic and at least one opposing view. I recently heard the term “Analysis Paralysis” which is an incredibly accurate description. As much as being incapable of planning out every detail on the trail terrifies me, I am also looking forward to the spontaneity of the trail. It’s actually completely impossible to plan for every situation and every weather scenario and that’s pretty exciting! The trail will teach me.
- I love reading. Those days when the weather prevents me from hiking will be spent absorbing tons and tons of words without feeling guilty that I should be checking things off that darn To-Do list.
- I’ll definitely be doing some true walk-a-bout style soul-searching. I haven’t quite found my ‘fit’ in life, and there is a huge glowing knot in my belly that screams at me that there is something out there that I am truly meant to do. I think this journey is a big part of it. I know that sounds like silly hippy stuff, but its my truth.
- I thrive on challenge. Tell me it’s hard, tell me what percentage of people fail and I say “Sounds awesome, count me in!”. And if you are a numbers person, here you go: less than 25% of people who set out to thru-hike the AT each year will finish. This hike will be an outrageous challenge both mentally and physically- and that thrills me. There is an extremely good chance I don’t make it to Katahdin. So what if I don’t? I am pretty stubborn so I do have that going for me- but I’m also giving myself room to “fail”. I’ve really enjoyed venturing into triathlon and endurance races, and I see this hike as a really big endurance race. I’m fueling my mind and body like I would a triathlon. It’s gonna be hard, I’m gonna hear negative self talk at some point, I might even be DFL. No problem. So why do I say I am giving myself room to FAIL?? I have a tendency to bulldoze my way through things that bring me no enjoyment simply because of that nagging obligation to finish everything I start. If I get out there and find myself hating every moment; If I am in extreme pain; If I am violently ill- maybe I quit. Maybe I don’t. Either way, I can’t wait to start!
**Readers- Tell me what you think! Will I make it to Katahdin? Why or Why not? Tell me below- all opinions welcomed!