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.