“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” -Jack Kerouac, On The Road
Jack Kerouac, and his cohorts, have been an inspiration to me since I first learned about them in college. The idea of driving with no destination, hopping rail cars, sleeping in the desert or on city streets or on the floor of friends apartments, with no real purpose other than to experience it all, seems thrilling. The bohemian, proto-hippie lifestyle resonated with me and made me shift my perspective of what purpose could be, and what life could mean.
Self-reliance and the ability to make something work out of almost nothing inspired me to try my own, 20th century version of what Jack Kerouac experienced while writing his books. As a bright-eyed college student, it’s one thing to look idealistically at life ahead and dream big. Reality sets in soon after graduating. Through quite a bit of trial and error over the last decade, I am nearly ready to start an incredible adventure. I have traveled solo many times, camped by myself, road tripped, cycle toured, hiked, and backpacked. I have prided myself on keeping my possessions as minimal as possible, so when opportunity arises I can pack up and go.
On to “Why?”
My life experiences up until now have informed my decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, and I feel ready. I have bought new gear and pored over blogs, websites and Facebook groups, to be prepared in a practical sense. I read Pacific Crest Trials, which coached me on mental preparation and really solidifying my “why” of hiking the PCT. I dream of tagging the monument at Campo and taking my first steps on the trail. More importantly, I try to think what the second day will look like, who I will meet, where I will camp, how will I feel. How will I feel when I’m cold or wet or hungry on the 34th day? Or the 100th day? Unfortunately, I can’t prepare for every exact scenario, but I will be able to refer back to why I’m hiking the PCT and do my best to stay and appreciate the present, and be grateful for the privilege to hike such an incredible trail.
I am hiking the trail to reinforce my respect for the nature around me, the people I meet, and the experiences I will have. I want to delve deeply into the various trials and successes I’ve had in my life, to put them into context and pave a path forward. I want to live in the moment and have a life changing experience. These “whys” are just the beginning, my motivation and purpose I hope will evolve as the trail evolves me.
So with that, I’m looking forward to the act of leaving. The trail is certainly rich with possibility. I hope to use this blog as a journal, recounting the real life that happens when hiking 2,650 miles with just a backpack and hope.
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