I’m celebrating my last day at home with plenty of food and a hot bath. Tomorrow I will fly to San Diego where I’ll buy my remaining gear and food. On April 9th, bright and early, I’ll start my first day on the trail.
People have been asking me if I’m excited yet, and my honest answer is always no. Not really, anyway. I’m feeling a lot of things, but excitement isn’t really the dominant emotion. There’s a lot to think about while I’m still at home. I hope that once I’m out there I’ll feel differently. To counter my fears and concerns about this hike, here is a list of the things I am most looking forward to:
1. The sky
I love space. I grew up by an observatory, and I loved stargazing and memorizing the constellations. I’ll have some of the best night sky views of my life, miles from civilization. I’m also looking forward to watching sunrises. I’ve only done this a few times in my life, and I’ve always felt like there was something special waking up to nature’s alarm clock. Plus this tends to be the time of day when animals are most active, which brings me to…
2. The animals
I love animals (at least when they aren’t trying to bite, sting, or eat me). I understand that nature is brutal, but it’s also part of being human. I think it’s good to be reminded of this by seeing the creatures we share the planet with in their natural habitats.
3. The food
I’m sure I’ll spend a lot of time on-trail thinking about food, the love of my life. It’ll make it that much better the next time I have a big juicy burger in town. In the meantime, I’ll be filling a my huge daily caloric quota with all kinds of delicious, unhealthy treats.
4. The simplicity
Wake up. Eat. Pack up. Eat, walk, eat, walk, eat, set up camp… etc. With some napping and planning mixed in there. No deadlines, no personal conflicts, no BS.
5. The people
I love being alone, but I also love being around likeminded people. There will be plenty of opportunities to meet people on the trail. Having said that, I’ve always been kind of an introvert, so if I want to walk alone, it’s easy enough to do.
So, with that said, I really don’t know exactly what to expect. I’m nervous and a little afraid, though I’m not sure of what exactly. The unknown, I guess. I’ve traveled a lot – more than most people my age that I know. But this is so far beyond the scope of anything that I’ve done before. I feel guilty for “abandoning” my life of normalcy, and for the people and responsibilities that I’m leaving behind.
But there is a reason I took this risk and decided to do this. I just have to remind myself every day until that voice overpowers the one constantly telling me that I’ve made a terrible decision. But I’m comforted knowing that once I am standing in the dirt, with my back to the Mexican border, my only option will be to move forward – to keep walking and let my greatest trouble be the weight on my back.