A long walk in the summer

Appalachian Trail 2017 – Harper Ferry, WVA to Springer Mountain, GA – June to mid Aug – 1023 miles long

At least that’s my plan. The only barrier I can foresee is my current divorce going sideways.

Basically I have decided to do something big this summer when I’m off from work (I love the summer off work with contracted pays during this time off!) as a way to try to bring back some passion and initiative in my life. I’ve had been chatting with a friend from my college days and she have been pretty inspirational with her travels and self improvements. So I had originally decided to do a trip to Mexico this summer as a way to take back control of my life once the divorce have been completed. I had a trip to the Appalachian Trail set as a backup.

However, I’ve eventually came to the realization that the Appalachian Trail trip may be the best choice at this point. I have a photography degree. One of my dream is to snap photos of landscapes and wildlife. So during my marriage, the Appalachian Trail was eventually morphed into a kind of ‘business’ trip with me bringing my bulky and heavy DSLR with the expectation to snap enough photos and have enough time after the hike to try to sell some of these photos.

I eventually realized that this may have been the worst thing that could possibly happen regarding my interest in photography and hiking. I just do not like selling in general. And this focus on making a business ruined my interest in photography and hiking at the time.

For those of you who knows both of us, please don’t let this mess with your friendship with her. Our issues are more along the line of the facts that our approaches to various things being much more contradictory than we originally expected. But this really have no bearing on the friendship between her and you. I am only merely explaining the reasoning behind the hike and it happens to be rooted in my relationship with her.

I’ve realized that I love photography only as a byproduct of my original passion, travels. Not as a business. I would love to make money from my pictures but I am not going to dedicate a majority of my effort and time on something that I do not have a passion for, which is making money. Frankly, this is where I diverge significantly from my soon to be ex wife, we have a very different approach to finances (low expenses vs high income, not going to expand too much on this matter since it’s between the two of us).

So I will have a camera with me on the hike, but only a pocket camera. Frankly out of the few attempts of me selling my photos, my most profitable photo was snapped by a friend’s slightly damaged pocket camera (the lens fogged up in the snow JUST right to make the picture looks really great). And that was only as a result of me enjoying the hike thru the snows at the time. But my hike will not be centered around the photography itself anymore.

I had the dream to hike the Appalachian Trail for more than a decade, well before I even started dating my wife. I think it might have originally been sparked when I lived in Colorado Springs, CO and just loved seeing the golden sunrise reflecting off the Pike Peak Mountain everyday. I was lucky to have an apartment at the time with a balcony that allowed me a very clear view of the mountain. I think I had a passion for nature well before then but I cannot remember if I had any desire to do any long hikes (other than just simply enjoying running the trails around the Newport News Park in VA whenever my family took me there).

I will be taking control back and just enjoy the hike as a truly personal challenge. I’ve grown up with a bad habit of taking on projects that I’ve never completed. I like to think that I’ve simply never really gotten into anything that I’ve truly wanted to do with my life. Right now, I’m discovering that it’s the outdoor with a side of ridiculously simple lifestyle.

Hell, I attempted colleges two times for a degree in Computer Science. I love technology but I’m finding it to be a bit of a crutch for me when I’m struggling to develops relationships. I basically escapes into playing video games, reading fan fictions, and more. I am afraid of becoming a homebody hermit, only going out for jobs and the bare necessity. So I’m currently trying to force myself out of my comfort bubble to try to be more comfortable around new social environment.

So right now I’m basically getting rid of nearly every single items that is not absolutely essential to my desired lifestyle. I’m trying to limit my videogaming to a single handheld console rather than also using my laptop and phone. I’m trying to encourage myself to read real novels rather than fan fictions. I’ve already significantly reduced my possessions in general. I’m down to four pairs of pant, one of which is to be used for the rare formal events. I only have three pairs of daily socks (Smartwools) and two pairs of thick wool socks for the middle of heavy winter. I’ve discovered a particular shirt that I’m really liking and will be reducing my wardrobe down with. So I will only have two or three shirts that’s well designed for multiday usage without getting dirty or stinky. I have finally managed to reduce the amount of files and papers down to a single filing box, with opportunity still to reduce it by half at the least. My bed is a basic mat on the floor. My life have already changed significantly. And I am feeling so much better for it.

I am honestly looking forward to the hike so I can learn to live with a single backpack for at least two months and half. I’m currently already down to a single box of possessions except for my certain items; my bike, it’s accessory, outdoor items such as my backpack and my van). I will describe the actual plan for the hike and other stuff in another post later on.

P.S. I’ve drank a few beers so please let me know if there is anything that seems to be missing any details or if I just do not make sense. Thank you very much for reading this article.

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