After being home for almost two months I am finally starting to understand how the trail has changed me. What I really took away from it and how I can integrate it into my life post trail. I feel as if I can divide my life into two separate compartments now. Pre trail life and post trail life. The actual hike somehow seems too dream-like of an experience to be compartmentalized. Anyways, here’s a few things I learned…
How to Be a Badass Outdoorsy Woman
Yep. You heard me. (Okay, so maybe I still sleep with a nightlight, but I thought I would throw in the badass part anyways). Hiking the Appalachian trail is akin to some rite of passage in the outdoorsy world. Suddenly everyone seems to think I know what I’m doing out in the rugged wilderness. (Can you believe that?!). Well, they’re actually right. Learning survival skills is inevitable after spending almost 5 months in the woods. I could walk with confidence out into nature and never return if I really wanted. But then I remember that there aren’t any natural springs that spout beer in the woods…
“Can you remember who you are before the world told you who you should be?” -Danielle Patton This quote is perfect. The trail was a way for me to step outside of society’s role playing games. Believe me when I say no one gave a f*ck out in the woods. The trees never judged me and the hikers judged me even less. I was free. Finally, my personal growth could be as expansive as the sky; I discovered that I’m more powerful, driven and passionate than I ever imagined. Somewhere along the line a fire awoke inside of me. I would’ve of slayed a dragon, vanquished Voldemort, and stone hopped through molten lava if they were in my way. Nothing could have stopped me from finishing the trail. Now I know that type of drive exists in me, I long to find it again…I will find it again.
Not a single day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars for everything I have. Certainly I have a new appreciation for the “elaborate shelter” of a house I’m currently living in. However, the gratitude goes much deeper than constant access to material goods that keep me warm and well-fed. I am most thankful to be ALIVE. Every day is a gift. That may have been the cheesiest most cliché thing I have written. BUT IT’S TRUE. I had my first realization of this when I almost got struck by lightning on top of a mountain. I flung my trekking poles over my head and peed my pants. Literally. I ran across that bare faced mountain top praying I would live to see another day. That was the first of many experiences that awoke me to the fragile nature of existence. Life in the wilderness left me feeling exposed and vulnerable; a constant reminder of mortality. Long after the trail, these feelings still linger….#YOLO; Had to throw that in there just to end on a lighter note lolzies. Yes, I just said lolzies.
I learned a lot more than I could ever put into words on a blog post. These were just a few highlights…Hope you enjoyed. If anyone has ANY questions about the trail I would be more than happy to answer them. I hope to write some informational blog posts about the trail in the future. So keep your eye out! =)
Oh and you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org