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:
- I would like to better appreciate what I have, the world, and the people that encompass it.
- I want to truly be alone to get to know myself better, away from distraction.
- 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.
- 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.
- True freedom to the point where I am only acting on my own needs.
- 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. 😉
- 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.
- I would like to remind myself the true value of hard work.
- I would like to uncover my limits and true potential.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.