I wrote this awhile ago. I just felt it was a little personal for me to post, but since my web address will be changing to I though I would just get it over with and post the darn thing. So please take note of the above address.

Saturday November 4, 2018

They say the trail will change you, and it does. It didn’t believe it would change me, but now I do. It took a while for it all to sink in. I’m not the same person I was before trail life. I’ve change in many ways. Now I am always looking for the next big adventure!!

I was told about the depression that would hit me after the trail, but of course until it happens to you you really don’t let it concern you. Plus I was one of those poeple that thought those people didn’t know what they were talking about. It took a while to hit me, but hit me it did! I felt like I just had to much time on my hands. I started to go insane with boredom on my days off of work. I wondered how I was so busy before trail life. I could remember having this long to do list that I couldn’t even finish in a single day. Now I looked forward to going to work just to have something to do.

I was in a rush to finish the trail since I only took 6 months off from work and had given them an exact date when I would return. I finished the trail with only 4 days before I had to go back to work. Things were busy in the beginning with returning home and going back to work. At the time I was only working 3.5 days a week. After being on trail for so long and walking every day those remaining 3.5 days off really became boring so by November after being off trail for only a month I started to look for another job to add another day or two to my current schedule. I didnt put much effort into it. I just looking online and sending applications in when I saw something advertised.

With a few weeks of being off trail I already had my next hike planned with my Aunt Julie, who I hiked Long Trail with 6 months prior to my Appalachian trail thru hike. We hiked the Northville-Placid trail with three other friends. I was just ready to be back out there again and this gave me something to focus on.

Things at home were no longer the same. I didn’t put the effort into meal planning like I use to and really had no desire to cook any more. I just preferred simple meals with very little fuss to them. My wonderful husband, Jim jumped right in and took over planning meals and cooking. Let me tell you I’m really lucky to have him! Plus he is a much better cook than me.

I use to spend so much time on planning meals out for the week then making a grocery shopping list, and even prepping a lot of things, but that is no more! I’m applying the k.i.s.s. principle (keep it simple stupid) to meals now and just letting Jim handle it. I’m not fancy and as far as food goes I’m easy to please.

I also had a to do list which would consume my days off. I had a spiral notebook that always sat on the kitchen counter with a long list of things to do on it. That is now gone. But I must admit that I still make a to do list but it is now on an app on my phone that does not get looked at on a regular basis. I will put some important things on it that I want to make sure gets done at some point, but I don’t look at it several times a day like I use to do. Now that to do list may only get looked at once per week.

I also use to sit down on a regular basis…weekly and go through our finances. I would record all of our expenses in quicken and pay any bills that needed to be paid. I no longer do that. Before leaving for the trail I set up my bills to all be paid once per month to make things easier for Jim while I was away. And of course he didn’t like my meticulous system of tracking where every cent went so it wasn’t keep up as well as I would have liked while I was gone. So when it came time to renew my subscription for quicken and it was it a much more costly price than I had paid in the past I just decided to do away with it. So now once a month I sit down and pay the 5 or 6 bills that need to be paid and I am done with it quickly. Simple.

While nothing amounted to the job applications I put in. I started to read about minimalism and simplify my life. Hence a lot of the above changes. I also went through the entire house and started to get rid of car loads of stuff. Then I was selling it or giving it away for free. It gave me something to do and focus on for months.

As spring rolled around I was ready to be on trail again so I started to look at some of my options. I had some friends that I knew would be on trail and I started to make more hiking plans. I ended up having a great year of shorter hikes with friends. I was able to meet one of my biggest AT supporters, Kara on trail and hike some with her. Somehow I managed to get 3 weeks off from my job and hike half the Colorado Trail with the two girls that I submitted Katahdon with, SHOUTCUT and SOULFLOWER. Then I hiked the Northville-Placid Trial with my Aunt Julie, one of her friends, SHORTCUT and SOULFLOWER! I was even able to squeeze in a couple of days in with CHOCOHOLIC on the AT.

As summer was approaching I noticed that a job I applied for in November was still available so I thought what the heck I would apply again even though I had made all kinds of plans for the summer. Then they called me for an interview. They told me that would like to set up a working interview as well. I explained to them about the 3 weeks I wanted to hike in July, the 2 weeks I was hiking in August, and the week long family vacation I had planned in September and they still wanted to do the working interview!

Now that summer is over and there are no more hikes to go on I am restless again. I started to read about van life. People who live in their vans and travel all the time. It has given me a new focus! So I have been looking into camper vans. Not to live in full time right now, but to travel more in. I will still work, but now on my long weekends I can travel to state and national parks still camp out, which I love, sleep in a comfortable bed, have a shower at the end of the day and drumroll HIKE!

Although there are a lot of flaws the that plan, if there is a will there is a way. Right? I had planned to get rid of my car, that I just bought new in Jan. Which would mean that I would have about a $6000. loss and just make the van my primary vehicle and still have one payment. I am so anxious about having the freedom to travel and stay in parks that I was willing to stomach the $6000 loss. Lesson learned don’t buy brand new cars. But the city I live in does not allow camper van’s to be parked in the driveway. So now the current plan is to have two vehicles and keep the van at a friends place of business so I don’t have to pay for storage.

The next flaw is the cost of the van. New they can range from about $80,000 to well over $100,000. Of course I’m not looking for a new one. And there goes putting money into retirement or as much money. But what if I don’t live that long. Do I enjoy myself now or be bored with my current life? And why do we have to retire? Why do we work so hard now when we are young and have families? Maybe we are so sick and crippled when we are old because we work so hard now! I saw this quote and it makes me just want to go for it.

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

— Randy Komisar