It sounds a little crazy when I actually type those words.
But really, ever since I began to learn more about the trail and what everyday life is like on a long distance hike, it was like a switch was flipped in me. Hiking the PCT started to sound less like a crazy pipe dream, and more like something I was actually capable of. And every thru hiker I've ever heard from has said that they have no regrets about embarking on this journey.
It's hard to perfectly articulate why this fire has been lit inside me, but here are a few things I can pinpoint.
I feel close to God by enjoying his creation, and I've always loved being outside. Spending days surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery the US has to offer sounds amazing. I was born in the Pacific Northwest, but I was only 4 when our family moved away. I still feel a deep connection though to that region and I want to explore it!
I am a big believer in living outside your comfort zone, and this is going to challenge me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I don't think I've ever had a dream I've wanted as badly as this one, and honestly that scares me. And you know what, I might not make it. But dang it, I at least have to try.
Going along with that last one, I don't want to live wondering "what if I'd just been brave enough to try that?" No regrets. I want stories to tell my grandkids one day about the crazy things that happened on this adventure. And what better way to enjoy this season of my life where I'm young, healthy, and single?
I have a lot of questions about what's next in my life - a lot of things I'm passionate about, doubts about staying in my current field, dreams about how I can make the most of the time I have left on Earth. I can't think of a better time to process some of that, and whether or not I find clear answers, I think the trail will be therapeutic. We live these crazy busy, constantly connected lives, and I crave the simplicity of trail life. Eat, hike, sleep, repeat.
I've spent time in prayer asking God if this is just some super selfish millennial crisis that I'm having (because sometimes I worry it is), but He's so sweetly reminded me that He made me with a love for adventure, a heart to connect with others, and His word reminds me that life is not about abounding possessions or success in the eyes of others. I am not afraid to live counter-culturally. I already know I don't want the American Dream. I'm excited to meet new people, learn from them, share experiences and my story/the hope that I have found in Christ.
I am overall a pretty content person - I'm happy with who God has made me, and I truly believe that following Him is my greatest adventure. My existence and worth are not hanging on whether or not I succeed or fail to complete this task, but when I hike, I feel God's pleasure. I don't plan on being a nomad for the rest of my days - I really do think putting down roots and investing in your community is one of the best and most worthwhile things someone can do. But first and foremost, I want to listen to the Lord's leading in my life, step by step. And that's why I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
"Get busy living, or get busy dying." - Shawshank Redemption