I thought about naming this blog “The Final Chapter” but that just didn’t feel right… I completed hiking the Appalachian Trail 7 months ago as of today. The reason I never did a final blog after I had finished was because I knew my journey was not complete… in many different ways.
On the Appalachian Trail I walked 2,175 miles through 14 states over the course of 6 months. At many times I felt on top of the world… At one time I felt as if it might be all over for me. I truly witnessed the country and culture slowly changing as I walked the trail. Being on top of Mt. Katahdin, the final mountain and the end of the journey, is not something I will even begin to try confining into words… I’m speechless.
I made lifelong friends. At times we were with each other 24/7… in the literal since of the phrase. That can be overwhelming at points but it is all part of the good/bad bonding experience. It’s good to have someone there to pick you up when you are really down. It’s even better to do the same for them at some point.
The kindness of strangers was a remarkable discovery on the trail. From getting rides into towns to people treating us like family by offering their homes, food, and trust. These people trusted us, we trusted them, and sometimes we had only known each other for 5 minutes. That still blows my mind. This country and these people are truly amazing.
I tell people that the main lesson I learned on the trail was resourcefulness. You really don’t need much to be happy… a little, but not near as much as I previously thought.
Speaking of happiness, I would like to delve deeper into that concept. I met an older man by the name of Britt in Lincoln, NH. He was a south bounder on the AT. He was from Birmingham, Alabama so we had a great deal to talk about (missing sweet tea). He was an author that had written many books. Britt asked me what I planned on doing when I got back. I responded by saying I was not sure and that one of the reasons I was on the trail was to make that decision. He then asked me what made me happiest… I said playing music in front of people. Then he said this…
“I have been an author for 27 years…All I have ever wanted was to get one of my published books on Amazon.com… I finally accomplished that 2 years ago… I have never been happier knowing that I accomplished one of the biggest goals in my life by making a living out of doing something that I love.” I asked him what I should do. He said “If you have figured out how to make enough money to get by doing what you love the most, then you have made a revelation that the majority of the people in this world will never realize… Don’t be afraid to give it your best shot…”
And so the journey continued. I kick started my music career as soon as I got home and was playing shows by the end of that week. I would like to give a big thanks to all the extremely talented and dedicated members of my bands including John, Matt, Zack, Nick, Cooper, Robin, and Hopper. You guys have made it possible for me to pursue what I love. Also, huge thanks to our fans and friends that support us. Finally, I definitely know I couldn’t do this without my family. Thanks Mom, Dad, and Sarah.
Through my music career I have been inspired to attempt another adventure. Starting this July 1st, I will attempt to ride a bicycle from Seattle, Washington to Key West, Florida. It will be over 4,000 miles. It will most likely take over 4 months. 3 friends will be joining me: Strider, Michigan, and Matt. Strider and Michigan completed the Appalachian Trail with me. Matt is in two bands with me and is a good friend from Florence. I have no idea what to except. Will this be like the AT? I don’t have a clue… and I like that.
I will be doing all sorts of things to keep people up to date on this next adventure including GPS tracking updated every 10 min, as many pictures as I can snap, and blogs as much as possible. I had an overwhelming response with these blogs while I was on the trail so I look forward to doing this for the next adventure as well.
Until then… Do what you love!