True story, I’m not a planner. I don’t plan things months and years in advance. If I want to go on vacation in the summer the most I might do is make reservations at my hotel now to ensure to I have a place to stay, and request off from work just so I know I can leave. I might find out a band I want to see is coming to town in a few months so I go ahead and buy the tickets right then. However that is more because I am likely forget they are going to be here than me planning to go.
I’m spontaneous. I see something I want to do and I do it, or if I don’t I forget I want to do it until the next time it comes up and I do it then instead. I like living life as it happens, of having adventures and being, well, spontaneous. Logistics has never been a strong suit of mine. I have a hard time saving money, not because I can’t, but because there is always something to do and see and experience. I can’t say I’ve gone on all of these great adventures around the world and seen these incredible places (mostly because you have to plan and save for them), but I’ve had fun with my life so far. I’ve seen the Cirque du Soleil four times. I’ve driven across the country as a child five times and as an adult twice. I’ve vacationed all over the southern east coast. I’ve been to concerts, seen shows and been to races as a VIP. I’ve been to a gazillion professional sports games. I’ve camped on the beach in four different states, and I’ve camped in the woods in at least five different states. I’ve never planned any of it outside of deciding where I was going and when. I can’t do that with this trip.
The most spontaneous I feel like I can be, with having never done a trip of this magnitude before, is deciding in January that I am starting my hike the end of May. I have been speaking with the people at my local REI and at my Blue Ridge Mountain Sports stores (though the BRMS is no longer local and that is really annoying) to find out what they have available and what they recommend. I have been doing research online. I am reading books (a constant state for me, though usually it’s a different subject). I am going slowly insane. I hope that once I have done something like this, the next time I plan an adventure of this sort it will just be a matter of checking that I have what I need and then taking off. That’s what I’m good at. Trying to figure out what towns will be best as resupply points, what gear has the best trail rating yet least amount of weight, how many miles my boots can handle, what kind of food is best, what my average per day should be, do I want/need a SPOT tracker or would my phone be sufficient, how many pairs of pants will I need, what kind of pants will I need, should I go synthetic or wool, do I want a down sleeping bag or should I go synthetic. On and on and on and on and…..you get the point.
It’s annoying, it goes against my nature, it should be made illegal to have to do this kind of planning. And yet I know it is all vital to my trip. I know that torturing myself with this now will help ensure the success of my hike. I also don’t know what I’m missing. There are so many things that I need to be sure I have that I feel as though there is something vital to my survival and success that I am leaving out. Water system. Check. Sleep system. Check. Food/cooking. Check. Safety and security. Check, sorta. Camera. Check. Pack. Check. Clothes. Kinda Check. I know I need them, but damnit which ones do I want. Fire. Check. Where I’m starting. Check. There’s more but I still feel as though I’m missing something key. This is why I don’t plan things. I drive myself crazy. I feel like because I have decided to do this I need to hurry up and get everything together and figured out right this minute because thats what I usually have to do. But then I remember I still have 4 months until I leave and I have time. But then that isn’t that much time so I need to make sure everything is together. It’s 4 months but, I mean, its really only 14 1/2 weeks. That’s only 100 days. Do I have time to get everything done?
Here I am still talking about the trip itself. What about stuff here at home? Ok I have to get my car registered, but really I only need it for a couple of months because I’m not going to be driving it for six months after that. Maybe I can borrow dads truck for the next couple of months and just garage my car. But then he’ll probably need it for wood and it will cost more in gas, so does that really make sense in the long run? How much school do I have left, can I get it all done before I leave or should I work on as much as I can now and leave the rest for when I get back. What debts am I paying off? What can I get paid off by the time I leave and what will continue to be paid while I’m gone. OK so how much will that be and what do I need to ensure is in the bank so that my bills are taken care of while I’m gone. What do I pay for that I won’t need when I’m on the A.T.? Well Netflix can go, obviously. Do I want to keep audible? Will I download books to listen to while I’m hiking? Shit! I knew I was forgetting something. Solar charger for my electronics. Add that to the list. But which one do I want, and really is it that important? Would carrying spare batteries that I recharge at resupply points be more efficient/lighter/smarter?
Wait a minute. Back up. Did the words “in the long run” really come out of my mouth? I don’t understand how deciding to leave everything behind for six months and hike in the woods is turning me into a more responsible adult then college, corporate jobs, and marriage was able to. My head hurts. Sigh. Back to planning. I only have 90 days after all.