I’ve always been one to make impulsive and spontaneous decisions, especially when shit hits the fan. Escapism is something I’m good at — it has lead me to some great things and sometimes a few too many drinks.
Shit lead me to study abroad in Italy for a year and adopt a cat. Shit has lead me to make impulsive 3 hours drives to visit my best friend in Wyoming for 2 hours (and drive back). Shit has lead me to go on long hikes alone. Shit has made me take spontaneous trips across the U.S. to visit close friends. Shit has made me drive home for the night to see my parents. Shit has made me fall in love and back out. Shit has made me drink so I can fall asleep, but shit has also helped me be motivated to create emotion filled art.
This past school year, I wasn’t accepted into the BFA program at CU Boulder. It isn’t all that different from the degree I’m currently getting, it is just more catered to the arts and would allow me to get into grad school easier. Overall, not a big deal but still kind of shit. I’ll still get my degree and if I want to pursue art, I‘ll persevere without it. But at the time of my rejection, it felt like the end of the world. The escapist in me kicked in and I decided I would hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
I called my dad the day I started doing research. The conversation went something like this:
“Dad, I figured out what I’m going to do after I graduate.”
“Oh good, you are finally realizing you’ll be financially independent and need to make money.”
“-well no–I’m going on a hike.”
I could hear his eyes roll over the phone.
I don’t think he really believed me. I don’t think I really believed me. But I’m a strong believer in putting things out into the universe and by merely saying something, it can make it happen.
So I applied for a permit and started telling people. My immediate family, close friends, my boss, my regulars at my job, random tinder dates, and in a short amount of time I had told enough people that I was going to be held accountable for what I said.
A few weeks later I received an email that my permit application was approved! I now have an official start date, but it was still five months away. I closed my eyes, took a quick nap – now my start date is eight weeks away.
At night I dream of the trail, but in the morning the fear sets in. I wake up and remember the jarring comments of multiple people telling me I won’t complete it, that my start date is too late, the desert is going to be too hot, that it’s dangerous and stupid for me to go alone. Then, the concrete responsibility of finishing my degree and making enough money to make this feasible. I remember how short of time I have for the hike and how many miles I have to complete every day. I am overwhelmed.
But then I remember how stubborn I am. All the people doubting me and belittling my capabilities don’t know how headstrong I am. I remember that I’m doing this for myself –not for anyone else or their approval. This trip is not about getting to the Canadian border. It’s about doing something for myself.
It’s about taking time in nature to find myself. It’s about giving myself the time to think about what I want and what I need from this life. To be independent and do something big and scary without someone holding my hand along the way. To show myself that uncertainty is okay.
This is for me to prove to myself, – that I, am enough – and shit makes great fertilizer.