Before the Thanksgiving break, I was concerned about whether I would finish writing the first draft of my solo trip before the new year. But as I relaxed into the writing, I found that the words came without much prompting, and I feel that I may well finish within the next two weeks – still cutting it close to get a book published before January, but I could get it done.

I think the main reason that it’s easy to write about my trip is that it makes me happy. The trip was hard. Hard on my body and hard on my mind. But the memories make me smile, even the memories of the pain and the difficulties. And especially the memories of the incredible views, the solitude of nature and the animals I spotted in passing (no bears!).

Creating these books started as a project to share the trail with my mom, and the rest of my family, who probably don’t understand this whole backpacking thing any better than I did before I started it. It seems a little silly to travel with your legs over the course of days what you could travel in a car in an hour or so. But there are no cars allowed where I like to travel, and the world looks different when you travel 1 to 3 miles per hour instead of 30 to 70.

I appreciate the conveniences in my apartment so much more after I’ve been deprived of hot, running water, toilets, refrigeration, chairs and beds. And as I sit in my apartment, typing up the adventure of that trip, I appreciate what I purchase with the lack of conveniences.

I purchase confidence, accomplishment, breathtaking views, new experiences, challenges and summits, and the feeling of surmounting those.

It’s an exchange I’ll take. Sometimes I even think about taking it further, haring off to live somewhere less convenient, where the winters bring feet of snow and the summers mean hard work. Maybe someday. For now, I’ll remember my summer experiences during the winters. I’ll plan my next year’s journeys. And I’ll keep writing.

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