It’s all happening so fast.
Not 2 weeks ago, I had only the vaguest notion of completing a section of the PCT at some point this summer; sometime after the wedding I didn’t want to miss, before the other wedding I didn’t want to miss, and definitely not at any point which might interrupt school, or during Pickathon, or during my family’s vacation in NH. No, it would have to be some other time.
I had already been planning to do the entire trail in 2015 after I was done with school, so it hadn’t even crossed my mind to do the whole thing this year.
All of that changed as a big announcement was made that shook my world up quite a bit (it’s still shaking).
The place I’ve worked for nearly 4 years is closing it’s doors for good. The place I’ve loved, with the people I’ve loved, and the job I’ve loved. It is all going away.
At first I reacted emotionally; sad, mad, and all those normal stages of grief (it felt like I was being evicted from a relationship I wasn’t ready to let go of). But then I started thinking of how fun my summer would be if I didn’t have to work and went hiking a bunch. It was bittersweet really, because I’m going to miss that place, and more so the people. I cried when I found out, and now, as my friend Carly puts it, “It sounds like the Bowl closing is the best thing that ever happened on planet Jess.”
Because then I agreed to go out on a date with one of my customers. Completely forbidden behavior in my own book of rules (yes, that rule was not adhered to in the past, but there is a reason the rule existed).
Now, with the place closing, why worry? I won’t have to see them after May 18 anyway…and this guy, well, he’s hiked the PCT, and that was just about the most intriguing attribute anyone could have at this point (and I’d been pretty intrigued by him for a while anyway). So, I threw the rule out the window and met up with him at a bar, where we both ordered Manhattans, and a life changing conversation ensued.
I won’t bore you with the details, but he gradually chiseled away at my excuses until I was sitting there dumbfounded that I was even considering dropping everything to do this hike. “What a crazy idea,” I kept thinking. And yet, I couldn’t think of anything more compelling.
The idea thrilled and terrified me. My head was spinning. We got drunk, sang karaoke, bowled, danced and had a great time as this sugar plum fairy of an idea did pirouettes in my mind. I couldn’t let it go.
The next morning I woke up, and I just knew. I knew I was going to do it, and it was the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had. I was swept with a wave of elation, excitement, fear, passion and even relief. It suddenly felt like my destiny.
I made a few phone calls, sent a few emails, and looked at a few logistics before realizing I was seeing nothing but green lights. “Go,” is all anyone said when I brought it up.
The support has been amazing already. I have some pretty doggone fabulous people in my life, and I love you all. I can’t wait for you to be a part of my journey. Even if you’re just sitting there in your underwear reading my blog, your support means everything. Knowing there are people out there rooting for me is all I need to keep taking those steps down the old dusty (that, and the promise of a cheeseburger in the next trail town).
It feels crazy and right at the same time, and I’m quite simply over the moon.
“Things have a way of working themselves out.” -Will