“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” -Henry David Thoreau
Do you have a dream or desire that you’ve buried in your heart? Perhaps it has been there for years or decades but you do not think it is pragmatic to pursue. Yet you keep the dream and pull it out every now and then in a moment of whimsy and think, “Maybe someday.” Can you relate to this?
In 1998 I read a book called Walking The Appalachian Trail by Larry Luxenberg. This was a wonderful book written by a man on his second thru hike of the Appalachian Trial. Shortly after that I read Bill Brysons’, A Walk In The Woods. I found myself with wanderlust; dreaming of being outdoors and enjoy nature and the challenges it provides.
Around that time a friend became interested in backpacking so we went to REI, bought some gear and went on a few overnight trips. Then my backpack and all the equipment sat in my closet. I couldn’t let the equipment go; I still dreamed of hiking the AT one day. I went through a home foreclosure and homelessness yet I couldn’t get myself to part with the equipment (I kept it stored in a small storage shed while homeless).
Eventually I got back on my feet, started a business and wrote a book about my experiences. I quit drinking alcohol, started playing in a band and life was grand. Over time the band split and I found myself playing less and less music. Each week became the same-work in my cleaning business on weekends and sell stuff on Amazon and Ebay during the week. My taxes fell behind and I started to feel trapped. I didn’t want to build my janitorial business because I wasn’t passionate about it. Good paying music gigs became a bit tougher to find, in part due to changing musical tastes and the economic downturn of 2008, which some of the clubs never recovered from.
My life was a bit too normal and boring for me. Some of the businesses I started didn’t pan out to be as profitable as I had hoped. I doubted my ability to ever be able to move up in the world financially. I began to lose hope. Then I remembered my long lost dream of taking a long walk in the woods. A grand adventure.
While talking with a fellow musician who just released an new cd, I suggested that artists need some type of gimmick to get noticed. Like Boxcar Willie, who dressed up as a locomotive engineer and sang old school country songs in the 80’s. I suggested that by doing something big, like walking the AT with his guitar, he could build up a following and maybe that would help sell cd’s.
Then it hit me: I need to walk the AT! I’m 49 years old and life is passing me by. If I continue doing what I’m doing, I could be stuck until the day I day with no adventure, no real life. And for the hell of it, I could bring a guitar and maybe write a few new songs and put them out there. Most of all, however, I wanted to live an adventure I had read about and thought about for 18 years, before I am too old to do so.
So I figured I’d need time to pay off taxes and save some cash for the trip. I now have 14 months to prepare which should leave me plenty of time to save up and get into shape. Also, this will give me something to look forward to. Something to anticipate. And anticipation can be a sweet desert.
My blog will be about my training for the trip and the adventures to come. I can’t wait to share it with you.
What big adventure have you been putting off?