Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Taking The Road Less Traveled.

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I was always under the impression that sharing your goals makes you more likely to accomplish them. By putting your intentions out there into the ether, introducing them to friends and family, you would be subject to increased accountability, however unspoken. Would my loved ones judge me if I backed out of something? Nah. But I would judge me. Once said aloud it becomes a commitment, if even only to myself.

Science, it seems, disagrees with this philosophy. Recent research even suggests that telling others about your goals can actually compromise them.

But not all goals can or should be kept to yourself. If you have kiddos, you may need help with childcare. If you are married you would, of course, want your spouse on board. Sometimes lengthy planning is involved, which would make secrecy improbable (and uncomfortable). If said goal requires preparation and a financial commitment, like, say, going back to school, then of course sharing is essential. Sometimes it does take a village.

Sometimes you simply want the world to know you are finally, irrevocably pursuing your dreams. As is true for me.

After several years of pondering, yearning and dreaming, I have decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail next summer. 

I don't have all the specifics worked out yet. For instance, I haven't decided if I am going to hike all 2650 miles in one fell swoop, or split it into two adventures. But there is no doubt that I'm doing it. (My first instinct is to take the latter approach; starting somewhere near Echo Lake and finishing where the trail ends at the Canadian border—about 1500 miles—leaving the rest of California for another year.)

If there was ever a time for me to hike the PCT, this is it. I'm not committed to a career, husband is (mostly) working from home, and Kiddo is reaching the age of independence. It's now or never.

The impetus behind this decision occurred Memorial Day weekend. Mario and I were at our friends' house discussing our summer plans. He and Kiddo are headed up to Montana for a few weeks, and I will remain at home to continue the job search and hold down the fort. In the midst of our discussion, Mario said You should hike the PCT this summer! and butterflies immediately started fluttering around my belly. (Wait. Could I actually do this?!) After some basic research, I knew two weeks of prep would be pushing it, if not nearly impossible. (Most people take 6-8 months to prepare for the trail and departure/arrival times should be weather-based.) The last thing I need is to die of dehydration because I didn't adequately research available water sources in the Mojave Desert.

The ten or so months ahead will involve researching/testing/buying gear, coordinating schedules, and reading hundreds of pages of blog posts and guide books. I will also be working somewhere (even if it ends up being non-healthcare) to fund my adventure. I'd like to have a good chunk of change in an account so we can auto pay our bills while I'm gone. (Mario will have enough on his hands between work and taking care of Kiddo.) It is estimated that a thru-hike costs $4-8k between gear, food, permits, resupply boxes, accommodations, and unexpected expenses (a broken water filter, ripped tent or injury/infection, for example). Part of the voyage, for me, will be raising funds for it. Four plus months in the wilderness will be a mostly solitary endeavor, and I cherish the idea of earning the dough to purchase the necessary gear with cash (which, as I mentioned, is not cheap).

There are many schools of thought when it comes to approaching the trail. Light vs. ultralight, shipping resupply boxes vs. buying as you go, campfire vs. stove, etc. I'll be taking a hybrid approach. And while I don't plan to turn this space into a blog about hiking the PCT, I will certainly be talking about it here and there. (Perhaps a monthly series?) Because planning this trip is exciting. Testing and researching gear is interesting. Talking about it with Mario and getting his input is fun.  Reassuring Kiddo and having lots of conversations (already) about the safety of the trek and what life will be like without Mom for a few months is important.

The fact is, I don't know who I am outside of motherhood, wifehood, and my prospective career goals. (For the record, this is not to say that I am unhappy. I'm not. I am merely a girl in search of the best version of herself.) I've never had a chance to focus on nothing more than my most basic needs. I have a feeling it will be eye-opening. To navigate this world, as it was for our ancestors, without the influence of others. To put myself first for the first time in my 30+ years. To challenge myself in unimaginable ways. There is no doubt I will return a more self-aware, centered person. Perhaps a person who will have a clear picture of what her future looks like. A better understanding of what exactly it is my heart desires. Perhaps, upon my return, I can stop searching and start living. My best life, I hope.

I will miss my family dearly, of course, but I can't put off self-discovery any longer. For their sake and my mine.

 Here's to following your heart, no matter what.

5 comments:

  1. Wow can't wait to hear all about it. After reading Wild and loving it I am so intrigued by the whole process. You are very brave!

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  2. Oh wow, that sounds absolutely amazing!!! :) I can't wait to hear all about it. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Jen! I can't wait to share! I'm excited!

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  3. Wow wow wow!!! This sounds amazing!!!! I have never heard of the Pacific Crest Trail and now I am dying to do it! In Canada, we have the West Coast Trail which is something like a 5 day hike but known for being really tough (perhaps you could practice on that one). It's probably similar except for length of course.

    Yes, please blog about your preparation for this amazing adventure....

    Natalie
    XX

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  4. Oh My Gosh.....I have so much to say!! having internet problems and everytime I get this huge comment made to you, it boots me off before I can save it. aaaaacccckkkk. trying one more time.

    Firstly.......wooooohoooooo!!!!! you are about to change your life!!! Because once you make this decision and begin the adventure, you will learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible. You'll either like what you learn or you won't...and you'll change it. I know. A few yrs back, my husband gave me the trip of a lifetime. He said....Just go. Do it. Find yourself. Feel the ground under you and take off....so I did. 8 weeks in Italy. Alone. With a backpack, I traveled all across the country, and learned so much about myself by learning about another culture and doing all of it by myself. By the time I got home, I knew I could do anything. Because I had, while traveling, gone way outside my box and accomplished it all. Home became easy peasy because nothing came to me that I couldn't handle. This is very short synopsis of what I would love to tell you but I think you get my drift.
    Secondly, go ahead and invest in your trip now. Either buy your plane tickets or get a lot of the gear you'll need now even if you won't use it till you go. You will less likely back out or chicken out if you've already invested something in it. And once your decision has been made, it will take so much stress out of it. You'll simple then enjoy sitting back and enjoying the anticipation!!!

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