Four weeks before I start!

It’s the first day of a five day break from work after having worked five days in the last seven at, what I can legitimately refer to as, the asylum. It’s been crazy; the manager disappeared and will not be replaced, the staffing is so short that we can’t fill a week’s schedule without holes and godforebid someone call out sick. All I can say is; with all this sh*t, IAMSOGLADIAMLEAVING!!!

I haven’t decided on a final day or even when I will give my resignation (depends on if I get paid my overtime and a few other concerns). I have reserved my  two night stay at a hostel, the TeaHorse, in W. Virginia before I start my northbound section of the AT from Harpers Ferry to Maine. Then I will flip back to HF and go south to GA, *known as a Flip-Flop thru-hike, it’s on the ATC website >>. I’ve registered my hike with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (and received my ‘bagtag’ to hang from my pack!!). I have my new backpack, Merrill shoes, a new down lightweight coat, my AWOL AT Guide and various other items that I’ve been slowly purchasing to add to what I already have for backpacking. I’ve made arrangements (he has the use of my car while I’m gone) for my son to take my two “fur-babies”, I’ve pre-paid their groomer and the vet for any and all necessary appointments, I’ve already pre-registered my car, I have my car inspection appointment next week and I will have to renew my driver’s license as well before I leave (April 21), dental and doctor appointments. I’ve made arrangements for the ‘family plan’ phone bill, mortgage, property taxes and utilities to be paid.

I have a few remaining items that I want/need to purchase for my ‘trip’ before I go and, if there is anything that I want or want to exchange once I’ve started, I can do that along the way and my bus/Amtrak tickets also. I’ve been in contact with several women hikers (from a woman’s hiking group on FaceBook) who will be doing the same section around the same time. We will possibly cross-paths at some point.

This is such a BIG DEAL!! I am literally LEAVING my life to go live in the woods for half a year! I can’t even imagine…well, I’ve been imagining from all the books, blogs, posts I read what it’s like but, who can know until YOU do it? I am so overdue to decompress; my body has been revolting against me and with good reason. My joints are so achey and I have this weird throbbing/stabbing pain that runs along my arms and legs sometimes and not to mention the FAT that has taken up residence under my skin like a blown-in insulation layer. That will be history soon 🙂

I know I will feel much worse once starting this thru-hike before I start feeling better…correction, I will be feeling physically worse but mentally? – FREEDOM! Any time, any day that is ‘hard’, I will just remind myself of what I left behind (not my family) – the daily grind of work to pay bills; the endless, soul-sucking cycle. I will remind myself; If you leave the trail and go home, what you have to look forward to -besides being a quitter- is job hunting and returning to what you desperately escaped from in the first place.    

*Do YOU want THAT?!

HELL NO!

Then “embrace the suck”! (Zach Davis; Appalachian Trials) Take every step, every uncomfortable night’s sleep, every miserable blister and fold it into a FREEDOM omelet with all the sunrises, sunsets, fresh air, birdsong, babbling-brook, S-I-L-E-N-C-E except the sound of the wind in the trees, the timelessness of being without having to be anywhere or anyone for SIX MONTHS. Gosh, how hard can it be? What’s to fear?

I’m really doing this. This is really happening. I am so …. relieved. It feels like there is an end to this life and a new beginning to, hopefully, something better.

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