It’s funny how fast you can get swept away by your daily activities. Before I left for the trail I worked a lot. It was a day in and day out strugglefest. As an automotive technician working for a major dealer you are always fighting the clock. You learn how valuable your time really is. Time is everything! How long does it take for you to get your parts? How long does it take to get your tools out? Why isn’t anyone answering their phones? The customer is upset that their car isn’t ready. I found that being organized and efficient are keys to being successful. Sometimes things didn’t go as planned, something breaks and now you’re out a day. That was my day. A constant relay race between cars, my bay and the parts department . The worst was that I couldn’t turn it off after I left. I’ve even been told that I would hold my arms up sometimes in my sleep, as if I was working. That’s crazy, I know.
The Appalachian Trail was a complete game changer for me. I was no longer running frantically. I could finally slow down for once and take my time. I found my comfy hiking pace was around 2.5 mph. It was great! I didn’t get winded, my legs felt good and it was just fast enough to take in my surroundings. This was a huge change from what I had known from the last 8 years of wrenching.
From the time I got up until the time I stopped for camp I had one goal, walk (x) amount of miles. Those miles were determined by how much food I had, how close the next town was or things like a milkshake! I knew exactly what I was doing each day. If I stopped and took a long break for lunch then I knew I’d have to make up some time to get where I wanted to be and I was fine with that. I set small goals for myself each day and each week. I couldn’t just think of the big picture, pull out a my map of the AT and see that I’m only in Franklin, NC. No, instead I had to look at it for the accomplishment that it was. I had walked 100 miles! That was a huge goal! I couldn’t process the fact that I still had 2000 plus miles to go. What I could process was the fact that my two feet carried me 100 miles and I’d look forward to the next 100 miles and next state border and next trail town and next brewery.
Now that I’m finished with the trail, I’m running full speed again. I took a job working retail during the Christmas season as well as doing video work on my off days. I’ve never worked in retail before. It’s crazy! But I went into this knowing that I have to keep the small goals in front of me. Work hard, have fun, and live day by day like I did on the trail. I’m surviving the chaos. It’s not so bad. If being surround by a pile of returns that never seems to get any smaller is what it takes for me to hike for 6 more months then it’s completely worth it. The best part is I can turn it off when I’m home and I don’t have to think about it. That’s a blessing in itself.
For this new year I want to encourage you to set small goals for yourself. Don’t set your sights on the big picture like “I want to lose 30lbs.” Instead set your goals at getting off the couch and going for a run or a hike this week. Small steps will get you where you want to be, it did for me and for the rest of the folks I hike with.
Happy New Year!
If you’re in the Lynchburg, Va area this Friday or the next month, you should check out “Mile 806” at Riverviews Artspace. It’s two guys that I met on the trail that took headshots of the hikers that passed by just before Cold Mountain in the pouring rain. They wanted to capture the true essence of thru-hiking. They definitely did and it would be great to show them some support in their projects! I’ll be there Friday night for the opening. Hope to see you there!
Here’s to powering through 2017!