Technically, we are in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and not at all on the Appalachian Trail. But in all ways except geographically, I definitely feel like we’ve started this thing. The time in Corvallis between quitting our jobs and driving away went quickly. It never felt like a vacation, even when we were tramping through the redwoods. Moving across the continent is rough. I spent nearly a week saying goodbye to places and people, and that takes a toll emotionally. It was weird to put things into boxes we don’t intend to unpack any time soon. And it was nerve-wracking to pull a trailer 2,555 miles, over mountains and everything. But we dodged all crazy weather and only had the slightest worrying moment on snow in my grandma’s driveway (in Texas!). The timing also worked out miraculously well that we were able to swing through Albuquerque at the same time as a large portion of Eric’s family and meet our week-old nephew. And then all of a sudden here we were, everything unpacked, the trailer returned, our “apartment” set up in my childhood room, and less than a month until we go.
I’m not sure how far along my brain is in really processing all of this, but it isn’t very far. I think it’s only just accepted and realized that I’m not working anymore. It hasn’t digested that our apartment is occupied by someone else now, that we’ve hugged all our friends goodbye and left them on another coast, that incredibly soon we’re going to start a hike, as we’ve done hundreds of times, but that this one won’t end for five months. It hasn’t even really gotten the fact that I’m at home, where I’ve been dying to be for years and years. That I’m living here for a little while, that this isn’t a Christmas vacation. And Eric is here with me. Living with me, in fact, in the room where I wrote long high school journal entries about how I’d never get a boyfriend.
So, we are feeling underway. And handling it well, I’d say, too. With the complication of the cross country move over, things are shifting now toward simplicity. Order the remaining miscellaneous gear. Cook and dehydrate a bunch of food. Strengthen some muscles.
And then go hike.