Its no secret, I like to travel, and I travel in different ways than most people. I like to not shower for days, my favorite hotel is my tent and my idea of getting to my destination is a 24 hour car ride instead of a 4 hour flight to save a couple bucks. I've spent the past 4 years consumed by a constant urge to go and picked up a lot of my good habits (and also some bad ones) along the way. During that time I've had the opportunity to be a part of some truly amazing communities, make life long friends and see things that few others will ever get the chance to see. I've found a lifestyle that I never knew existed and I've been able to figure out what I want from life (or at least part of it). On top of all that, I've had the chance to teach others what I love to do and show them that they can accomplish almost anything. I also get that not everyone understands the way I live my life, constantly thinking I'm burning through money (camping is free and gas is cheap), thinking I'm crazy for some of the things I do (-32°F isn't that bad as long as its not too gusty), and not taking much time to relax and go on a beach vacation (there's beaches in the woods where no one else goes...).
I think the top two questions I get asked by people who don't get it are:
1. When are you going to hike the Appalachian Trail?
2. Do you think you'll ever climb Mt. Everest?
I internally die of laughter every time I get asked one of these... The AT definitely has some beautiful sections and completing the entire thing is a hell of an accomplishment but I have other goals in mind first. As for Everest, I'm not sure thats something I'll ever do. Yes, its the tallest peak in the world, but climbing the tallest and biggest isn't my goal. I'm also not trying to be a tourist at 8,000m, I want to have earned my right to be there. My goal when I pick a place to travel to, a mountain to climb or a trail to hike is to find somewhere remote, memorable and utterly breathtaking. I want to climb the little peaks that no one else touches, I want to be the first person on a remote section of trail in months, and I want to touch all the little things that everyone forgets exist. My motivation during my traveling is often to escape my life, not just to a different city or state but to a different world, less developed and less complicated.
I won't lie, I've graduated college but I'm dreading the day I have to grow up and do the things everyone expects me to do in life. I got a job, isn't that enough? My goals aren't usually career oriented, their life oriented. I'm focused on making memories, seeing new things and creating friendships that I will always have. Everyone has their own ambitions, and mine involve being a dirtbag, walking for days on end and putting off growing up as long as I can.
Ultimately in the next five years I want to climb 2 of the 7 summits, I want to visit all 50 states (2 away), I want to see the Katmandu Valley with my own eyes and I want to finish the first leg of my triple crown. These are big goals, and they're piled on top of an ever growing list of things outside of traveling that I want to accomplish. I firmly believe that having these goals sets me apart from a lot of others. I've seen too many people get bogged down by life or settle for what comes easy, but I love doing the hard things no matter how much they hurt. I love searching out new journeys, even though they make me daydream and get lost along the way sometime and I think that these things will lead me to some great places.
My goals for the next two years are luckily, pretty simple, I want to be debt free (college ain't cheap), I want to pass my first engineering licensure exam, I would love to get to all fifty states (Hawaii I'm looking at you...), and I'm dead set on completing the Pacific Crest Trail. Luckily I've got an awesome employer and I'm pumped to announce that I intend to complete all of these before 2022. As of three weeks ago, I can say without a doubt, I'll be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail starting in May of 2021! The PCT has been a dream of mine for years and I'm excited that I finally have a concrete opportunity to do it. It will take me close to five months to complete the entire trail and I'm equally excited that my good friend Will Babb will be joining me for the journey. If you want to see what we've planned so far and eventually follow along on our progress, you can do all that right here by going to "The PCT" page.
Its been a long road coming and I'm not fully sure what I've given up and what I've gained to get to this point in my life (my stumbles along they way are countless), but I know I'm happy for now and I'll keep looking for happiness as I continue to explore and learn throughout the rest of my life.