The day has finally come. I am no longer a contributing member of society. As of 3:45 today, I am unemployed. I guess I can just add that to the whirlwind of changes recently. Who would have thought that dropping off the face of the earth for 5 months would be so demanding??? Last week I moved out of my apartment and was at the mercy of the folks who lended me their spare rooms and couches. I also had a surprise going away party! My dear friend Nicole came in to town from Richmond and took my amazing dog, Jack. Lots of changes lately!
Joe and I packed up the truck and headed out for Knoxville. We’ll be staying there visiting his brother-in-law tonight. Tomorrow morning wed will make the trek to Florida! He flies back to Nashville on Monday. Another step of faith….
From Florida I will tie up all the loose ends. And in about a week I will be out of here! I’m not sure how I’m feeling about it. Sometimes I wonder “what in the world am I doing?” Am I that afraid to stay in one place to allow myself to settle down? I have signifcant experience working the mental health field and I’m fully aware that that can be some type of diagnosis. Regardless, I realized very early on that my life is not meant to be conventional.
By the way, this post is brought to you by my handy dandy cell phone. Figured I should get used to writing on this thing. Don’t worry Mom, I’m not driving 🙂
They say “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I’m not sure who “they” are but I don’t think they have ever decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. Or maybe that quote doesn’t apply because the journey is more than a thousand miles. Anyhow, my journey began about two years ago without even taking a physical step. I guess we can call my decision to hike the trail a “metaphorical step.” My metaphorical step began nearly two years ago. Since then, I’ve been preparing (sometimes nots so much) and saving money (again, sometimes not so much) for this actual journey.
My first physical step on this journey is nearly a month away. In four weeks I will be on my way to the beginning of the next 5 months of my life (that is, if we actually stay on track). Three weeks until my last day of work. Wow. At this point, I’m feeling more overwhelmed than anything. As I write this I am making mental lists of the many things I still need to do. Instead, I’ve decided to update my blog.
Within the last several weeks, especially since putting my notice in at work, I’ve gotten several questions and strange looks when I mention my decision to hike. Here’s my FAQ’s:
Why are you doing this?
In 2007 I began working at Camp. This was the first time I had ever had the opportunity to experience camping without being in a motor home. Living outdoors and going on canoe or hiking trips for several weeks at a time, for some reason, allowed me to feel free. It was while on a section of the A.T. while hiking with one of the therapy groups that I had just finished the summit of one of the mountains. Two of the boys and I climbed a fire tower and found ourselves standing in the clouds. It was at that point I decided to add this to my bucket list.
I’m 27 and have no children or a husband. I don’t know if this is what my life will always be like. I’m also in Grad school right now. Come next Spring, I will be doing my internship. The Spring after that, I will be finished with school and will be giving Sally Mae my arm, leg, and first-born child. No way will I be able to do this while I’m paying student loans.
Are you doing this by yourself?
Of course not. I’m not that gutsy. I’m hiking with Ryan, a very good friend of mine. Ryan and I first met at Camp. He was my program director. I ended up moving to another camp on the other side of the state but Ryan and I kept in touch. At one point we were talking about our bucket lists and realized this was both something we wanted to do. And then, BAM! Here we are. Two years later.
Are you and Ryan going to end up dating?
Absolutely not. Not a chance. There is a better chance that we will end up killing each other over the next 5 months. If you need to ask this question, there are some pretty important facts that you’re missing.
What are you doing about food?
Several people have asked me this but more along the lines of “Are you going to hunt and kill all of your food, or just some of it?” No way could I do that without crying for the little animal. We have created an itinerary (which we will most likely not follow) and have designated folks who will meet us with packages that we have pre-packed with about 4 days worth of food. We also plan to do our own re-supplies by going into town. But I’m walking on a budget so will not be doing that as often as I probably would like to do.
Where are you going to sleep?
I’m walking in the woods. Therefore, I will be sleeping in the woods. Unless we decide to walk into a town and find a hotel or hostel. Or if we meet some very nice folks who let us stay at their place.
What are you going to do when you are done?
Well, I’m not exactly sure. I hate to put limits on myself and this experience. What I can say is that, at this given point, I plan on coming back to Nashville and picking up my life where I left off. I have a stable job that I’m leaving but the mental health/social services field has an incredibly high turn over rate. The chances of me being able to come back to the organization are pretty high.
Are you crazy?