Since my last day working for Flagline Trails in late March (my most recent job), I’ve been in a phase of “in-between.” It began with me driving across the country in my van, followed by a fast and furious few days of serious CDT prep. That’s all the stuff I described generally in my last post. Since then though, I haven’t thought too much about the trail because I was hanging with fam and friends.

Throughout this “in-between,” I’ve noticed something. Have you ever returned home after living in another culture and felt off or maybe been around someone who has? I’ve never lived abroad, but a few times talking with friends after they’ve just come back, they talked about feeling disoriented and/or out of sorts, feeling they don’t fit. I think I experienced this some when returning after a long hike, but not til now had I thought of it regarding the start of a long hike..

More and more I feel as though I’m experiencing this, but in reverse. Instead of returning to my cultural “normal,” I’m leaving it and whether actuality or not, I’ve been feeling a sort of gap forming between myself and people around me. It’s like the idea of thru-hiking and what it encompasses is so foreign to some that they struggle to connect with me. It goes both ways though. I struggle to relate to them in the everyday life things. It’s as though I’m becoming distanced from them and becoming closer to those in the trail community.

I don’t mean to portray this as a bad thing on one side or the other. Rather, it’s just the reality I’m experiencing and one of the sacrifices of living this lifestyle. Understanding this accentuates my desire to keep this blog going. I feel connected to those that are interested enough to follow along and in doing so, I think y’all get a glimpse of the experience. It’s a way for me to try and bridge that gap.

Yesterday, I began my travels to the CDT Southern Terminus. A process that when completed will take 2 flights, 2 bus rides, a van trip, a short backpack trompsing through the University of Arizona campus, a jaunt on a train, and lastly a shuttle ride over dirt roads that’s expected to take 3-hours. Fun stuff.

On the plane, I found myself looking out of my tiny window at the horizon, into the distance, imagining myself on trail doing the same thing. It’s starting to feel real. Once on the ground, I donned my backpack and did some familiar hiking around town to find supplies. I couldn’t help smile as I felt myself falling back into this thru-hiking world.

As I get closer to the trail and various aspects of this lifestyle come back to me, I feel reassurance and comfort in making the decision to do this. All the lovely things I’ve been telling myself about thru-hiking, the stuff I’ve been writing about on here about how great it is… I’m recalling them and it feels true and right. Im sure when 10 miles in and sweating with blisters and a rash developing on my back, I’ll think differently, but for now I’m feeling groovy! I’m pumped. Only a few days now 😎

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