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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trail Fever

So I've been bitten by a familiar bug again.

The Appalachian Trail bug. Hmm. That might not actually be the best metaphor because there are a lot of bugs really on the AT.

Five years ago during spring break, I went with Spartanburg's Baptist Collegiate Ministry to the AT (I forget where exactly, somewhere in NC) and was a trail angel, giving away water and granola bars and batteries and the like. It was a terrific experience. We got some hikers to crash with us some of the nights, and we talked with lots of them during the day. It really captured my imagination and enthusiasm for after college.

I graduated May of 2008 and the plan really was to get a dog (my darling Sophie, who I got), get a good job and earn enough moolah, and then do it.

Well, it took three months to get a job, and then it wasn't very high paying, so I knew I wouldn't make 2009.
I got laid off and didn't get a job until a few weeks ago, so I didn't even consider 2010...

But now it's bitten me again.
I really, really want to do it.
And I realized it's possible.

I don't know about my job situation. But if God wills it, anything is possible. My job ends very soon, but if He wants me to go, something will come up. And I realized that I'm willing to sell my stuff to do it. I don't own enough to fund it (thinking about it, I need like $4,000. Now, that's for 6 months of living, so it's really not so bad, but that six months of not working).

Now, nothing is for sure, and planning is not something God encourages me to do. But I have prayed and my thought is I will take steps to pursuing this desire. This might mean God wills a thru-hike for 2011... or it may mean He just wants me to have the experiences I will have as a consequence.

These are the top 5 reasons I am want to attempt a Thru-Hike of the AT in 2011:

Why I'm planning to Thru-Hike 2011
1. To have an adventure with and spend time alone with my beloved God.
2. To meet and befriend some of the most fascinating people on earth.
3. Because of a love of beauty and adventure that is a core part of me and makes me prefer nature walks to manicures and picnics to fine dining, something not everyone around me understands.
4. Because since I visited the AT as a trail angel five years ago, I haven't gotten the idea or desire to thru-hike out of my head.
5. To lose weight.

There's another thing. I've thought about the selfishness of thru-hiking. Oh, if I'm following Christ good will be done for others. But part of the reason the Trail fever erupted recently was because I was lying in bed and thought about losing weight. And I thought about doing the trail again, and I thought about how doing it to lose weight is selfish. And then I thought about how it's sort of selfish in general...

But then I thought about those 5K or 10K or marathon races where people raise money for charity doign it. And I thought about how many, even some of my friends, look at how much I weigh and think I couldn't possibly hike over 2,000 miles of mountains. And I thought how people love to champion the little guy. And I thought how I could totally raise money for a charity.

And I thought, what charity? And after thinking for a few minutes, I realized I would want to support one that supplies clean drinking water to areas where people don't have it. I remembered a video I saw at the Hub-Bub showroom (I think it was a Talk20) about how if America spent just 10% of what we do on Christmas gifts in one year on supplying clean drinking water, everyone in the world would have access to clean drinking water. And I thought about the verse Mark 9:41 "I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward."

And so, I'm not sure specifically which charity, I'll have to do research, but I plan on going that route.

But 100% of the money anyone would give for that will go to that. So it doesn't solve my initial problem of having enough money to pay for my bills, food for Sophie and I, gear, money for when I go into town, and so on.
The only thing I have is a tent.

But it's doable. It's totally doable. I've got a year. I'd like to depart the first week in March next year, and do Georgia to Maine.

With that in mind, I need to get in shape. Well, I know I won't be really 'in shape' by next year, but I can make strides towards it. So I'm going to use this blog to keep track of that. Oh, it won't be like entirely a fitness blog. But it's public and I feel like I'll be more motivated if I can think there's at least one person out there who would notice if I skimp on it. :)

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