“You have to regard yourself as a cloud, in the flesh, because you see clouds never make mistakes… Did you ever see a cloud that was misshapen? Did you ever see a badly designed wave? Heh, no they always do the right thing.
But if you will treat yourself for awhile as a cloud, a wave, and realize that you can’t make a mistake, whatever you do. Because even if you do something that seems to be totally disastrous, it all come out in the wash somehow or other.
Then through this capacity you will develop a kind of confidence, and through confidence you will be able to trust your own intuition.
But this is the middle way of knowing it has nothing to do with your decision to do this or not, whether you decide that you can’t make a mistake or don’t decide it – it is true anyway – that you are like cloud and water.
And through that realisation without overcompensating in the other direction, you will come to the point where you begin to be on good terms with your own being and to be able to trust your own brain.”
— Alan Watts
“It means, though, that fundamentally deep, deep, deep down within you, you will be able to be human, in the pains, difficulties and struggles that naturally go with human existence. But to have no hang-ups, that is to say, to be able to drift like a cloud and flow like water, seeing that all life is a magnificent illusion, a playing of energy, and that there is absolutely nothing, fundamentally, to be afraid of.” — Alan Watts
The amount of preparation that’s gone into this adventure is really beginning to hit me. For a good 8 months, it’s been all I breathe and think about. My friends and family must be sick of hearing about the Appalachian Trail at this point, but it’s become my entire life. Just as someone who is getting married, having a baby, going to college, buying a house – you name it – it just consumes you.
A lot has built up to this moment. I’m reflecting on it daily.
Would I be here – at this very moment – if it weren’t for all the events that transpired within the last year? Nope. That’s the silver lining.
I have a love/hate relationship with the internet, blogging, social media, etc. It’s great for certain things – like your GPS – but can end up taking over your life without realising it.
As a teenager, of course I had that time period of being submerged in the vastness that is the World Wide Web. Now, it’s the opposite. I can’t be bothered to even sit at my desk to edit my photography; I end up just wanting to go back out and do something.
My blog posts – and by no means am I a blogger – will be sparse as I prep for my trip.
But I’ll try to update as I can. The best thoughts I want to jot down for this site end up being when I don’t have the time or access to my phone or even paper.
Most of my gear has been packed and repacked. Lots of trips out with the pack fully loaded as I do short hikes in my local parks.
It’s getting closer.
“Follow your heart, little child of the West Wind.
Follow the voice that’s calling you home.”
“Brothers Under The Sun” • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
For some it’s hard to drop everything and just go. Getting rid of items you don’t need, wasting money and time to travel to a job you hate, just to get by with paying the bills so you can continue a cycle that’s becoming an undiagnosed disease. Next thing you know, you’re wondering why you keep torturing yourself in this way.
I’ve been there – and frankly – almost everyone has at some point in their life. Whether it was a few weeks, months, or even years. Why waste your life in such a way? That’s what I always repeated in my head.
You’ve gotta get out of here, Amber. You need to leave. Go – get in the Jeep – it’ll all sort itself out.
The things I collected ten years ago do not necessarily mean as much to me as they did back then. Do I regret those purchases or items? No way, it was ten years ago! I still cherish what joy they’ve brought me over the years. Maybe some things were sold, some stayed.
It’s funny how I look at my Lord of the Rings sword that’s worth $1,000 and think about all the backpacking gear I could buy, the new DSLR I could purchase, the adventure mobile I could build, the countries I could travel to… I doubt I’ll ever sell it though. It’s the sword of the freakin’ Witch King.Very rare and absolutely kick ass! My film memorabilia collection is quite nice, but takes up so much space and most ends up in storage on a rotational display schedule.
In the end, I can’t fit all those in an Airstream, Tiny House, or military truck. B o l l o c k s .
Most of the time I just want to get rid of everything I own and only have the essentials in life. I love that idea, that lifestyle, and it is something I am striving for everyday. I look at old possessions and say to myself, “It’s been sitting in this box since I moved back from travelling. Time to go.”
The things you own end up owning you” — Tyler Durden, Fight Club
For some of my nicer items, my parents are amazing enough to store them when I am away at their house. They don’t want me to regret selling that sword or Titanic poster Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet stood in front of at the Las Vegas premiere. I just wish they’d all fit into my future home.
For the not-so-important, I’ve been giving myself a timeline just like I do with clothing. If it stays on the rack for more than three months/that specific season, it goes. I have a lot of items stored at my Grandmother’s that are in the process of finding new homes. They should be used instead of sitting collecting dust.
Not only does this allow you more physical space, but mental space. You’re decluttering your mind of unnecessaries. That’s one way, at least for me, to keep trekking along to my goal of living small. I want a mobile unit I travel the world in.
I don’t want a steady job, a stationary house, kids, marriage; none of that interests me.
I see my friends beginning those lives, and I am so happy for them! My lifestyle and desires are very unconventional, even in 2017. I’m that crazy kid in a group of friends who seems to be about ten years behind with life. It’s not that I am behind; I’m just parallel on a very rocky path zigzagging up Everest.
Start to let go of things, even if it’s just a few small items. Then it’ll be large items, multiple times, bags of things, people, places, towns…
Whatever it is that gives you happiness, keep it. If it’s only weighing you down, it needs to be kicked to the curb. Once you begin to let go more and more, the world will open itself up with opportunities and signs that you are on the right path.
I’ve had moments within the past few months that have given me signs I’m going the right direction. One, recently, involved my AT trail partner and I during one of our meetings where we catch up on what gear we have, what permits we need, drop boxes…
Will was at the store getting food to eat and pulled some change out of his pocket. One of the shiny quarters stuck out to him being so fresh and clean, so he held onto it.
As he told me the story, he explained that – internally – he joked with himself that wherever the location on that quarter was, he would visit it after the Appalachian Trail.
Turns out the location on the back of this quarter is Harper’s Ferry, a major trail stop on the AT for thruhikers.
He ended up having two of these quarters, and gave one to me. It will be going along on my journey as a reminder that I am on the right path for who I am and who I am becoming; not for other’s versions of who they think I should be in society.
Nothing ever stops evolving. We are not the same people we were ten years ago or even one year ago. We do not live in the same world it was ten years ago or even a few months ago. Nothing will stop evolving, and you must be fluid to survive this life. I’m learning every day about how to go about this life, what and how I want to achieve my goals.
I’ve always been set on what I wanted: it always ended with world travel. I’ve done many countries in the past, but this year begins an entirely new way of experiencing this Earth.
It’s finally here; January 1st, 2017. A year many have wanted to arrive as soon as possible.
2016 had its moments of highs and lows in the public eye. Much sadness that hit so many, so close.
But how long can we dwell on sadness? Negativity is a black hole, poisoning your psyche as you go about your daily life.
I know it all too well. Depression and Anxiety love to become that friend you cannot rid yourself of.
But who am I to talk? Most either understand the struggle or say to “toughen up, it can’t be that bad”. Some don’t recognise the true seriousness of mental illnesses, but with each year our society strives to support and inform.
So why open this new journal and have my first post focus on Depression and Anxiety Disorder? Well, because it’s what has brought me to this very moment in time – where you realise that major life changes must be achieved to further better yourself. Major changes you’ve only dreamt of, but now will act upon.
I am not my Anxiety. I am not my Depression. It is just a chemical imbalance I inherited from my family’s genetics. Scientifically, it is a part of my biological makeup. Multiple medications over the years have helped me wake up from a life I was not living just a few years back.
Medication only does so much for individuals; we all react differently. My true medication though, where I find the most peace and open mindedness, is in Mother Nature.
Hiking fights the dark vibes that creep into perfect and happy days. No one wants to feel an emptiness and sadness for an unknown reason. It’s terribly frustrating! So you must find, for whatever you love to do, that catalyst that changes your mind’s process.
That’s what this journal is all about. Facing what has kept me falling behind, accepting what I must deal with, how to better myself, and finding serenity on the Appalachian Trail.
A goal of mine for 2017 is to open up. Open up so much I’ve kept inside from the sheer thought of it being considered a weakness rather than a strength. I feel this journal will do some good, especially as it will compliment my thruhike this year.
Yes, this 2017 season I am thruhiking the Appalachian Trail. 2200 miles, beginning at Springer Mountain, Georgia all the way up to Mount Katahdin, Maine. This journey will take around 4-6 months, pushing myself to the extreme because adventure is what is in my blood.
I am Adventure.
I am Nature.
I am prepared to Evolve.