SIt’s been a long time since I last posted. There a lot of reasons for that, chief among them my term paper (which I will eventually publish here) titled “Appalachian Odyssey: From the Dakotas to Katadhin – How American Frontier Culture Shaped the Appalachian Trail” the second reason, is I backslid into a rut where for more than a moment I had really given up on my 2016 NOBO attempt.
There were three huge contributing factors to this backslide, the first I’ve already touched on: Academic burnout, I’m not really taking the most difficult classes, but for the first time in a long time I am actually on campus and having to attend regularly scheduled classes instead of posting my homework from a tent in Jalalabad. This was a hard transition to make, one that not everyone around me understands, but never-the-less I have persevered.
The second was a financial question. I have had money set aside for quite some time for this trip, but money is currently getting scarce and it looked for a moment that I was going to have to dip into my AT money to get by, however magical trail fairies must have flown inside the Veteran Affairs building in Buffalo, because I magically received some money that was owed to me saving my trail funds to be used another day, at the same time I was being tempted by a pretty sweet job that eventually (thank god) fell through. Similarly I have some temporary work setup from mid-January to mid-February, this will keep the flow of money coming in until my new adjusted start date of:
FEBRUARY 29th, 2016
While I will be waiting until after the Christmas holiday to buy tickets and make reservations, but by adjusting my start date I tackle the money issue by reducing the amount of time I have to support myself before my hike starts and I also deal with the last and in my opinion most important issue.
I love my girlfriend to death, but I also feel bad that I basically just got back from a nine month deployment and I am already looking to disappear for 100-110 days (My estimated hike time, it may vary but that’s my goal right now). She works as a teacher and I would like some time with her in the summer so pushing the day back will have me home earlier to spend time with her before she goes back to working. I also feel bad that we have yet to get a place together because my life is so jumbled and I have this wacky dream of walking way too far for way too long.
We recently started roller-skating (Which on a side note is a great leg workout, we go three times a week and often I can feel my legs sore going up stairs) together on the regular, and I am planning on playing Roller Derby now that Rugby is over, I’ve loved the time together and leaving that is going to be very difficult for me, though there’s nothing to say we can’t continue when I return. I think in the end she’ll support me in my trek because of the changes I’ve made to my plan and because she has seen my passion for the Trail being the Editor in Chief of my Term Paper.
Sitting in the office of my military unit today our admin person asked me ‘You gotta make a choice on this trip, it’s affecting our ability to get you into courses and we need to give you the appropriate months off. Let me know ASAP’ It was at that moment that my backslide ended, I have been shopping around my resume and continuing to live my life as if a trip on the Trail wasn’t right around the corner, the money is there, the opening in my schedule is there, if I just adjust some things this experience can really slide seamlessly into my life as long as I just go for it. I haven’t given them my final answer yet, but I sat down at my desk and promptly pre-ordered my 2016 AWOL Guide.
I think this means my backslide is over and I’ve started to put some good planning thought into my hike, also my backslide has really allowed me to come to terms with my nerves over my hike, I am nervous and it’s probably good I’m nervous, which is something I haven’t really acknowledged before. I’ve also started to accept the reality that I can’t be afraid to fail, as statistically most thru attempts do end in ‘failure’, but that’s not a reason not to start.
(Afterward: I graduate from school on December 18th, 2015. Hopefully after this point I will have enough time to do a gear breakdown to post here and on Appalachian Trials. After this date the frequency of my posts should increase, I’m looking to test my sleep setup in the frigid Massachusetts winter as well, section will also be added to the site for my Term paper and GPS tracking dongle
I've been seeing more traffic here and on the Facebook page, I hope folks out there are still reading)