I am tired of explaining to people my plans for this year. They ask me what I am doing or someone mentions my intentions for this year and a full load of questions gets dropped on me.
-Why would you want to hike for 5 months?
-So you’re just not going to work for 5-6 months?
-How are you going to support yourself?
-Is this a good idea?
-Have you really thought about this?
-Are you like trying to “find yourself or something?”
As the date draws nearer I find these questions happening more and more often. However today I got a new piece from an individual. This person said.. “oh I knew two people that tried to do that a couple years ago. They didn’t even get close. I bet you won’t make it.” At first this angered me, but as my filter stopped my initial thoughts from turning into statements I began to think. I don’t care what this person thinks. Im not trying to prove anything. This isn’t about me. Sure only 1 in 5 that attempt a thru hike of the AT succeed. These are just stats and I don’t care about them. The absolute only thing that will stop me from reaching Mt. Katahdin next year is a serious injury that would prevent me from moving north any longer.
I would like to take a moment and answer these questions:
Q: Why would you want to hike for 5 months?
A: I don’t. I want to live outrageously for 5 months. I want to go do something that makes others confused as to why I would choose to do such a thing. I want a revolution in my mind and body. I don’t want to find myself. I’ve already done that. I want to find glory. To see Life in ways most never will. Through the lens of irrationality. Away from the nonsense of societal common sense. Tell your grandchildren about your 100,000 dollar salary, I’ll tell mine stories that make their human spirit crave new experiences and new relationships and when I die those stories will be passed on while your wealth is wasted away by your decedents. No one of significance has ever lived a safe life within the boundaries of their culture.
Q: So what, your just not going to work for 5-6 months?
A: I’ll be working harder than most Americans every single day. Only difference is I wont be paid, rather I’ll raise payments for others.
Q: How are you going to support yourself?
A: I’ve saved money.
Q: Is this a good idea?
A: For some no. For me, there couldn’t be a better one. My entire life I have had a backpack on my back. In school, in Church, at events. The first message I preached I wore a backpack. Playing piano at gigs or church, I wore a backpack. I’ve worn a backpack for years and never understood why until a couple years back. To go places, to be constantly on the move, to see a different and changing sunset every night, to be nomadic, to be free. Settling down. The word itself hurts my ears. Do I plan on doing it one day? Im still not sure. Probably. Having kids and a wife sounds to amazing to pass up. But as of right now. Well, I’m going hiking.
Q: Have you really thought about this?
A: Everyday for the past year. I’m tired of thinking about it.
Q: Are you like trying to find yourself or something?
A: No. Two years ago I went to Israel to study abroad for 5 weeks. That is where I “found myself.” Standing in a hole in the ground in what was once, the Head Priest of the Pharisees, Caiaphas’s house. I sat in the same place Jesus sat awaiting his brutal murder and had one of the greatest epiphany’s of my life. So no I’m not trying to find myself. However if one needs to do so, the trail is a great option.
Two days ago I went to watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I went at 9:45 by myself. In the beginning he constantly daydreamed. Eventually he gave in and began to truly live. His daydreaming stopped.
My entire life I’ve daydreamed. I’d sit at my desk in elementary school, middle school, high school and even the first two years of college, and dream of beauty, of adventure, of great places, of open waters, of enormous snow peaked mountains, of vast dry deserts. I would be lost in my mind with no clue what the teacher was rambling on about. I felt like a shaken soda bottle waiting to explode. I was terribly ready for something new. Finally in 2011 I decided to leave Charleston, SC and my daydreaming ceased.
I have since then done amazing things. Seen vast deserts, swam in the Dead Sea, climbed Masada, felt the wrath of the Himalayas, ran through the Ecuadorian Jungle, hiked in the greatest canyon in the world, seen the Rocky mountains, received my diploma in something I actually enjoy, and have lived in a new city where I initially new only one person. I also have hiked 280 miles of the Appalachian trail, and 120 on the Florida trail. All this from 2011-now and I have no intention of slowing down.
My heart beats for outrage. The outrage caused by dreams that throw this country into shock.
My heart beats for irrational ideas. Ideas that cause this countries regular to conclude insanity for the holder said idea.
My heart beats for the underdog. The underdog who receives constant criticism of their dream.
My heart beats for the person reading this. That you would stop dreaming and start doing.