Life begins again at 35

I used to think my life truly began when I turned 30, but since then I’ve discovered how blind I was to the world around me. I certainly don’t have all the answers now and most definitely never will, but if there’s ever been a time in my life where I’ve harnessed clarity it’s now. Who I want to be and the direction I choose to head in are both in my control. It’s time to leap across the gaps, fill in the blanks, and choose the path I want to follow.

After I turned 30 I decided to hike from Mexico to Canada. I’m still not 100% sure what I was searching for… but I found a lot more than I bargained for on that trail. I’ve spent the last few years reflecting, processing and writing about the experience, and now I’m at a point where I can leave the past behind and move onto a new chapter in my life.

For my 35th birthday I’ve decided to hike the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand. Not because I’m searching for answers or feel like I have something to prove, but because I crave the simplicity and the connection with nature I found while thru-hiking the PCT.

Sure I could pick a shorter trail, but that true connection didn’t strike me until I’d spent at least 2 months living outside. I became in sync with the sun and the moon, began to wonder why we ever need more than what fits in a backpack, and made connections with people along the way that would normally take years to build.

People laugh when I say I don’t like hiking that much, but thru-hiking isn’t just about hiking… it’s about throwing yourself into the complete unknown without your regular comforts to protect you. It’s about pushing your mind and body further than you ever thought possible, and discovering that you’re far more capable than you ever expected to be.

Thru-hiking is like taking a detox from modern society, the 9-5, the noise. Sure you can’t escape life even in the wilderness, but something magical happens when your world slows down to a walking pace. Time slows down, simple pleasures are magnified, and despite the constant pain your body, there’s something organic about having nothing else to do than hike, eat, shit and sleep.

On Saturday I fly to New Zealand, and on Monday I’ll start walking the trail from north to south. I don’t know too much more than that, other than it’s the next path I’ve chosen to follow.

39 thoughts on “Life begins again at 35”

  1. A new adventure just around the corner. How exciting! Enjoy your travels and especially enjoy you hike Muk Muk!

  2. Hey girl, keep trekking! Just back in Canada after hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey. I always enjoy following your exploits every since you took the time to answer my queries a couple of years ago about El Camino.
    Thank you for that.

  3. Yeah Muk! I turned 35 in June and I certainly agree that it is way different from 30. Hell, since 30 I’ve moved, gotten married, and started a career. PCT is in my sights for 2020 or 2021, but who knows what life will throw at me between now and then. I may just have to jump into it feet first and let the chips fall where they may. Can’t wait to follow you on the TA!

    1. Right?!! I know more now to know I don’t know much at all! So good to hear from you Ian and congrats on getting married and starting down a bright new path! Keep the PCT in your sights and it’ll happen when the time is right! Thanks again for following along!

  4. Wonderful! Knew you must do another thru-hike, and the choice of this one doesn’t surprise me. I look forward to following your path through you pictures and words. Cheers, to a new beginning!

    1. Hey Corey! I’ll never forget bumping into you with Bad Seed at White Pass! Thanks again for all you did for us hikers!

  5. This (. . . that true connection didn’t strike me until I’d spent at least 2 months living outside) is one reason I follow blogs and your’s just paid off! I’ve been wanting to do the PCT for years and wondered where the magic kicks in. namaste

  6. Happy 35th Muk Muk! 35 was the best year of my life up until that point… and it continues to get better every year! I just checked your blog today after not having checked it for ages… I’ll be tuning in loads now to follow your TA adventures.

    1. Hey Barb sorry I didn’t get back to you on this!! Thank you so much for the bday wishes and for following along again!! I hope you’re getting out on the trails too and running like the mad woman you are! Much love, Muk

  7. Next year I turn 71 and I shall be on the Te Araroa Trail, so I am looking forward to following your story with interest. May the trail travel well for you.

  8. Happy 35th! I imagine you will miss the the winter, but not the friends that you made in Vancouver. Thanks for your PCT posts, photos and videos that inspired me to tackle the JMT last year. I look forward to following your thru-hike on the Te Araroa..may your feet stay dry and the wind stay at your back.

    1. Thanks Marc, I hope you have another trail in your sights too! I’m sure after the JMT you must be hooked!!

  9. Bon voyage, Rozanne! So nice to help you celebrate the big 3-5 here in Melbs last night. I think I need to do a thru-hike just to work off all that Turkish food! I will be following your journey with interest here and on the social medias!! So envious! Enjoy and take care please!! Mwah xxx

    1. Thanks my girl! So lovely to see you and thanks for coming out!! I’ve been in bed all day after that meal but will hopefully be fully recovered by tomorrow! Much love xxx

  10. Rozanne, I am so happy to hear that! This sounds like an amazing experience, and I am so looking forward to everything you share with us in your usual honest way! I absolutely, 100 % would sign everything you said about needing a lot of time to process the experiences, and the longing to get back into the mindset on a hike.
    The Te Araroa would have been my first choice for another long term hike, since from what I see online the PCT is getting a bit crowded – but right now my body does not even cope very well with day hikes (back and knees). Having your account of the hike is the second best way to experience it!
    Wishing you safe travels to New Zealand, and a whole lot of good times (despite the pain) on the trail!

    1. So good to hear from you Fine! I’m so sorry to hear about your back and knees. I’m sure you’re finding other ways to enjoy the beauty of nature without carrying a heavy load on your back though. I look forward to sharing the highs and lows of the TA with you and thank you so much for continuing to champion this lifestyle! Off to the airport shortly. More soon! 🙂

  11. wow. can feel your peace from had a very sickness from mosrly anxiity and grief… lost my ability to walk… so i missed hearing from you proberty a my computer was hiding in all junk we moved…here i am back (can NOT spell) am using the computer fake keys and hard to use and odd .i am making lots of erros. sounds your new adventure will be amazing….so you will walk north to s outh..YOu Go. girlio, you beautiful being! i love you, from your old friend in nothern califoria….barbie

    1. Barbie!!! My dear friend it’s so good to hear from you!! Thank you for writing despite all what you are going through right now. It makes me so happy to know you’re still following along. All my love and many hugs to you always xxx

    1. Hey thanks!! I just checked out your site and from your ‘who am I’ page you’re absolutely right – you even reminded me about a few aspects of the adventure I’d forgotten about today when the river of liquid trapped inside my blisters got the better of me! Thanks so much for sharing your joy and spirit!!! 🙂

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