Four years ago my husband and I watched a documentary on the Appalachian Trail and fell in love. Both of us loved the outdoors and were fairly adventurous at heart, if not in action. We started planning. We said “We’re going to do this, lets hike the Appalachian Trail.” He was in the Army Reserves with three years left on his contract and was going to be starting school in just a few months. We talked about how amazing it would be to hike the A.T. with our lab Maggie, who absolutely loved the outdoors and hiking in particular. We talked about our future and how we didn’t know where it was leading but that it would most likely not be in Richmond, which is where we were living. We discussed the possibility of him going active duty, and discussed how I wanted to move around to different cities and live in different places around the United States, and the World. After a couple of months of research we had a plan. In 2 1/2 years his contract would be up, he would be graduating and we would be free to do what we pleased. We would start our hike in March and hike north to Maine (though I really wanted to start in Maine and hike south), when we were finished we would pick a city and move there to start the next chapter in our lives. Then he decided to change his major and with this change, we found out later, he would no longer be able to graduate in December due to the structure of the classes. Then we found out, through more research, that Maggie wouldn’t be able to do the whole hike with us. Due to restrictions on some parts of the trail we would have to kennel her, or have someone meet us and foster her for the time it would take for us to get through those parts of the trail. Also during this time my husband decided that he was going to stay in the Army as a Reservist for another contract. The rumor at the time was that they would be deploying in late 2014/early 2015 and with that plans of doing a thru-hike were cancelled. Later we would realize that we wanted different things out of life, wanted to go in different directions, and after much discussion decided to go our separate ways. I have spent the last 9 months since our separation working on myself, and have come a long way. Through all of the work I have done thoughts of hiking the A.T. were nowhere around, I was working on getting my life together, gaining my financial freedom, having a relationship with myself so that I could be the best me I could be for all of the people in my life. Earlier this month I was doing something (who knows what it was, I certainly can’t remember) when out of nowhere the thought hit me “this is the year you planned to hike the A.T.” “Holy shit,” I thought, “this is it. This is the year, I can actually do it.” So started my enthusiastic planning of my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I have a lot to do, a lot to gather, a lot to settle, but I’m determined to start my hike this year. Since this is on my terms I am going to be hiking South, the way I originally wanted. The passes through Mt Katahdin, my starting point, are typically impassable until mid May, early June, so my hike is scheduled to start the last week of May. This may change due to weather conditions but for now my start date is scheduled for May 28th, the day of the New Moon. This is going to be an extraordinary journey, one that will forever change me, and I can’t wait to get started. It’s going to be long, amazing, grueling, beautiful, horrible, peaceful, scary, lonely, and the most incredible experience of my life. I plan on chronicling the whole thing through pictures, and after thinking about it I realized that I need to chronicle the whole journey, not just the hike. So here it is, the journey to the journey of a lifetime. Hopefully the first of many journeys of a lifetime. I will post ramblings and rantings and progress. I will post pictures and ask advice. I will talk about nothing and everything. And in five months time I will post my send off. Welcome to Southbound to Georgia!