Burlington, VT to San Diego, CA
Deciding to hike the PCT was easy, almost a relief. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a couple years now, since I hiked the John Muir Trail in 2013. Over the past two years, I’ve had constant daydreams about those big, sexy, snow-capped granite domes in the Sierra Nevada. I’ve fantasized endlessly about doing what I love for five consecutive months. I was excited to make the commitment and grateful to have the opportunity to do so. I gave a notice to my employer, talked to my landlord, and booked a flight to San Diego. I did it all with a grin on my face and a pep in my step. And then something very, very unexpected happened.
Anxiety. I freaked the fuck out.
I was still excited, yes, but Mother Culture was doing her best to make me think otherwise. We live in a society that has lots and lots of life goals ready for us before we even get here. As soon as we reach one, another is already set up and waiting for us: college, career, house, babies, retirement, diabetes, Viagra, Florida, lay down, and die. This is America, godammit, and this is how it’s done! So when you decide you don’t want to live your life in that particular order, a lot of people think you’re fucking nuts. Somewhere between the exit interview that I had with my employer and stuffing dehydrated peas and carrots into ziplock bags at two o’clock in the morning, I started to get nervous, really, really nervous. What will I do when I’m done? Where will I work? Where will I live? Am I going to be, like, batshit crazy from living in the mountains for five months? And then I began the painstaking process of trying to liquidate all of the personal belonging that wouldn’t fit in my rusty, old Subaru Forester. Despite my most genuine effort to do this, I failed. My crap ended up being scattered all over Vermont, at different people’s houses. If you happen to be one of these people, THANK YOU! As my departure day drew closer, I began to feel like a small child with big balls, a cocky little shit that strapped themselves into the worlds largest roller coaster and was starting to have second thoughts. As the days passed by, I was inching closer and closer to the top. And when the edge came into sight, It got hard to stay more excited than terrified.
So what did I do? Everything necessary to get where I am right now: on a plane to San Diego, where I’ll be chauffeured to the Mojave Desert in the morning. I’m still on that roller coaster, but I’m at the top now, momentarily motionless and looking down. And from the looks of things, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.