Sunday, January 7, 2018
How the Appalachian Trail changed my life
After spending six months in the woods away from society this is what happened to me:
I realized that I didn’t need very much to survive.
Water, food and a simple shelter and I could be happy forever. I came back to a house full of stuff I didn’t need, a job so I could the pay bills I didn’t want, friends who just wanted to go shopping and stores that overwhelmed me. All these things made me pine after the simple life on the trail and helped force me to make the necessary changes in my life to reflect who I am now rather than the person I used to be.
I finished the trail feeling stronger (both physically and mentally), more competent and ready to take on anything.
Knowing I had overcome the many challenges on the trail made it easy for me to feel confident and in control of any situation off trail. This really helped when I was drastically changing my living arrangements, job and the people I hung out with post trail.
I like myself more, know myself better and can communicate my thoughts and feeling much more effectively than before I thruhiked.
Even though the Appalachian Trail is a very social trail and I saw people everyday, it was the first time I had ever been alone with myself for any length of time. The solitude allowed to to face my fears and think through any thoughts I had uninterrupted. It enabled me to reset my personal boundaries and the boundaries I had with other people.
I am more focused.
Whether it is from accomplishing a decade old goal as big as a thruhike or just from eliminating all of the crap and simplifying my life when I got back from the trail, I find it easy to focus on both day to day goals as well as work towards long term goals. Since the Appalachian trail we have converted a short bus into an RV, moved into it, traveled across the country and I am currently training for a Pacific Crest Trail Hike later this year. If someone told me a decade ago that I would do all of this, I probably would have laughed in disbelief.
I am more genuine and want to give back to the community around me.
I was always honest and helpful to people before hiking but most of the time I did things out of obligation or because that’s what society expected me to do not because it was what I wanted to do. Being away from my culture and society gave me a chance to sort out what I want instead of what everyone else around me wants. At the same time I received so many acts of kindness that I truly didn’t deserve. Complete strangers helped me for no other reason than that they saw a need and wanted to help. I am eternally grateful to those people and want to give back to those around me. Not just as a way of paying it forward but as a way to help others and inspire them to go after their goals and live out their dreams. If I can live out my dreams in this crazy world we live in than so can you!