Almost two months to the day since I got off trail and said I'd be posting regularly until I got back on. I haven't written a word since. I'll be back to the AT next week.
We plan our lives. We make choices, often sure of what the outcome will be. If you're OCD like me, you know exactly what your plan is 15 minutes after you've made a choice.
But, sometimes life throws the metaphorical curveball. Sometimes, life, like the playground bully, takes your plan and stomps up and down on it, laughing in your face.
What you have to remember is, "all journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." To unlock this secret, though, you have to commit to the journey without assuming you know the destination.
I find myself in this situation. I've hiked 300 miles. In joining Pete, at Harper's Ferry, I'll have skipped around 800 miles. I am now and will remain forever a section hiker. I'm not ever going to thru-hike the AT. I'd like to go back and home the missed sections, but I'll never be a they-hiker.
To many people's eyes, (and sometimes in my own) I have failed. I took a year off my job (which I may not be able to get back). I am poorer than I've ever been. I have $1000 to survive on until August when I, hopefully, go back to work.
Did I do it all for nothing?
I guess it depends on how you measure success:
Yes, if I measure by completion if the original goal, completing the whole trail, I failed.
But, really what's the value of hiking over 2000 miles. None, on its own, except perhaps health.
The value is not in walking every step but in learning something while doing it. This I've done.
Hiking was harder for me than I ever thought. I cried more than I thought I would. It's been colder, longer, and more mentally taxing than I imagined. It's also been more wonderful.
It's been harder on my relationship with Pete than I ever thought possible. But, It's taught us how to communicate through major conflicts.
This journey has taken me to places far from where I ever thought I'd go, but surprisingly, it's also taken me back to where I was to begin with.
The biggest shock is that the same place could look so different.
*Quote by Martin Buber