So… my hike starts in less than two weeks!
In all the craziness of the last weeks of school and waitressing my hiking to-do list seems a bit daunting. There are so many things that need to happen before I leave. And so many pieces that need to be prepared for when I’m gone.
BUT — even as I’m looking ahead to my quickly approaching start date, I wanted to spend a little time reflecting back on my planning so far.
What better way to do that than to share with you a few funny pictures of myself and what I’ve decided to categorize as my “Stages of Planning.” Now these stages could just as easily be called the “Stages of Excitement”, “Stages of Nervousness”, or just “Stages of Overwhelming Emotions.” haha. Either way, they will hopefully give you just a little taste of what’s been running through my mind.
So, without further ado…
Stage #1: Dreamland.
This is the stage I started off in. As Corinne and I first talked about hiking the Appalachian Trail, I was overcome with feelings of adventure and wonder, thinking how blissfully incredible and wonderfully simple it would be to escape to the woods for six months. As implied by the name of this stage — I was constantly day-dreaming about what this trip would look like. And couldn’t help imagining myself as a bit of a hippie during it. The trail seemed too far away to become reality, but I was mesmerized by it.
Stage #2: Tunnel Vision. With a side of hundreds of pins and bookmarks.
After the dreamland stage began to subside, I entered into the “tunnel vision” stage, a stage in which every spare moment was spent reading, pinning, searching, highlighting, bookmarking, and copy/pasting anything about the AT. My Pinterest board exploded. My internet history was full of hiking links. Even my Facebook was overloaded with dozens of new “saved links” to come back to. I was definitely suffering from hiker fever.
Stage #3: Show and Tell.
Up until this stage, I hadn’t really shared much about my dreams and plans with anyone. Finally it was time to start dropping hints and find ways of working hiking or summer plans into every conversation. I couldn’t wait to hear people’s reaction to my hike! And it made me feel pretty cool to have such an adventurous dream!
Stage #4: Down To Business.
As I began to tell more and more people, I was forced into my next stage of planning — getting down to business. You can’t just get excited about the idea of an upcoming adventure. You have to actually do things to make it happen.
This stage occasionally got interrupted by minor “You-don’t-have-time-for-anything-but-work” and “I’ll just get to that tomorrow” stages, but a decent amount of planning still got done.
Stage #5: PANIC. BEWILDERMENT. AND NERVES.
*Cue the emotional overload.
The last few weeks I’ve officially switched to stage #5. It’s a bit of a roller coaster — putting on a cool show for everything (reminding myself everything will work out just as God plans it) and then inwardly FREAKING OUT about all the details I still need to figure out.
Am I going to run out of money? Will I have enough to eat? Wait… have I figured out all my mail drop locations? Where’s my list of friends I can meet along the trail? Do I need to break in another pair of shoes? How much stuff do I have to pack up in my room before I leave? Did I do enough stair workouts? Should I buy more luna bars? What about permits and reservations? Do I have all of those? ….the questions don’t stop.
HOWEVER. This stage also comes with some much needed side stages of “take-a-breath-because-everything-will-work-out” and “look-at-how-many-people-believe-in-you-you-got-this.” I don’t know where I’d be without all of you that have shared, supported, commented, and liked these posts and have encouraged me in person along the way. You are an incredible support system! I am truly blessed.
I don’t know if I’ll get to a sixth stage before I leave, or if I’ll ride this one out till June 13th. But I do know this — the journey so far (and I haven’t even gotten on the trail yet) has been so good. And I’ve already learned a lot about myself.
I can’t wait to see what the next 13 days have in store.
LET’S GET IT.