I have been off the trail now longer than I was on it. I hiked for 252 days and I can’t say that I am completely back to normal. I don’t think I will ever return to what I was before spending the majority of a year in nature and facing countless challenges my 20-year-old self would never have imagined. It has not been a transition but an accepting of the new person that I am.
How am I different?
Patience. I have more patience and accept the things I cannot change in a way that I would never have imagined. There are so many obstacles both on the trail and off that can impact a mood and I have worked to fix and work through what I can control and let the rest go. I can’t control a resupply package showing up on time as I can’t control bad traffic.
What am I doing now?
I am working full time in the real world and would now consider myself now an aspiring ultra-marathon runner. I need big challenges, to be physically humbled, and to chase giant goals. At this point in time, my sights are set on races that will someday exceed the most miles I have hiked in a day (52). Another reason the world of ultra-running is appealing is the trails most races follow. There is no way my life can ever be complete without the wilderness continuing to be a large part of it.
Where is the book?
The book is written and I would say I am at the end of the second draft. This process has been much slower than I thought it would be. It is not because of the amount of effort, work, or determination it requires to write a 400-page book (yes, it’s over 400), but because of the emotional toll, reliving such incredible experiences from behind a computer takes. Some days it is exceedingly difficult to walk down memory lane through the most exciting time of my life and I cannot bring myself to move to the keyboard. It is in these moments I have found running. Nostalgia is a strange thing. In the moment there are challenges, obstacles, and even failures, but after it is over, it seems the greatest moments rise to the top and shape the times of our lives in a beautiful and unforgettable way. I will not stop the process, but sometimes it is a much more difficult task than surviving a negative 15-degree night in a blizzard. I look forward to sharing the book with all of you soon.
I have some unique shorter endeavor I am planning for late in the summer that I can’t wait to share, but until then I will continue to be Free Outside.