Why? Purpose?

Why the Appalachian Trail?

Why choose to embark on such a long adventure as a future thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail (AT) and what do I hope to accomplish by doing so?

In general, the reason I am hiking the AT is for growth.  As I have mentioned on the home page of this site, my travels on the Appalachian Trail will be a personal journey for I wish not only to make it to my destination, but as the person I wish to grow into when I reach that destination.  What do I want to be?  I realize I can be vague, but simply, I would like to at least get to the point where I am respecting my mind, body, and emotions.

To give a little background information, I am 24 and realized I am very much not at all happy with the job I had put so much effort into to get.  Over the past year or so I have also realized I am not on the path of the person I want or even wanted to be, living the way I thought I was supposed to live.  At first I did not know what to do, but with the help of the Internet (YouTube), several self-help books, and my close friends, I never have grown so fast in my life as I did in the past year.  In a sense, I have opened my eyes, seeing the world for the first time in a different lens.  As the reader, you are probably wondering, what was the wake up call?  Arguably, there are several answers to that question and was likely due to a combination of events.  For what seemed like the first time in my life,  I wanted to become a better human and sought out advice as much as I could.  The best answer to the question is that I finally made some friends that were straight with me and I stopped lying to myself.

Just before I get into the specifics, I would like to clarify that I am aware there are other ways to accomplish my goals, maybe even in shorter time periods.

The following reasons are in no specific order:

  1. I would like to better appreciate what I have, the world, and the people that encompass it.
  2. I want to truly be alone to get to know myself better, away from distraction.
  3. To learn what truly matters in the world.  I know, sounds cliche, but it is honestly something I hope to uncover on my thru-hike.
  4. I would like to prove to myself that I can do this.  This hike will not only be physically tasking, but mentally and emotionally as well, which are currently not my strong suits.
  5. True freedom to the point where I am only acting on my own needs.
  6. Not that I am not meeting interesting people in my life currently, but I would like to meet new people.  The type of people who also enjoy hiking, which I get the feeling there will be a lot of. 😉
  7. I would like to learn to take better care of myself and this will be the place where I will have to if I want to make progress.
  8. I would like to remind myself the true value of hard work.
  9. I would like to uncover my limits and true potential.
  10. I would like to live life to the fullest.  One of my favorite songs, “Feel it” by Passafire has these lyrics that stood out to me: “My life, oh my sweet life is an open book, is an open book.  So I ask myself…When it comes to the end, does anyone want to read it again?  Or throw it back upon the shelf?  This is the story of yourself.”
  11. I do not want to continue to be that guy that has an idea, but never gets around to executing it.  This will be the first of the many ideas I wish to execute in my life.
  12. I would like to experience the full beauty of the Appalachian Trail.  I very much enjoy hiking and  vacations and weekends growing up involved hiking, so when I am out on the trail I feel nostalgic and very much energized.

If you are going to be a thru-hiker of the AT, I recommend carrying your list of reasons for when you are mentally in a bad place on the trail.  Maybe even make a prep-talk for yourself that you can record and watch later on the trail.