Today was bittersweet. I put my notice in at work and it made me sad because I work for such a good company. My manager was so supportive and even congratulated Jake and I for following our dreams. It has taken me a long time to find a job I really enjoy and a company that shares the same values I do. I hope to work for them again in the future once Jake and I are through with our travels. I am happy to know that I will be missed and that I was a valuable part of the team. It feels good to know that I made a difference. Now, I hope to go and make a positive impact in the areas we will be traveling to.
It feels so surreal to be 45 days away from getting into our Ford Escape and driving down to Georgia to begin our thru hike on the AT. That will be the first step of our new way of life! I have dreamed about doing the AT since high school and I always thought it was a pipe dream. But now it is so close to becoming a reality. Jake and I have worked really hard to be able to be out of debt so we can actually be out in the world, working seasonal jobs, meeting people from all walks of life, and seeing some amazing countryside. This is going to be an adventure for sure and it means the world to me that we have the support of our friends and family.
There is a lot of discussion on the forums I follow about people not receiving support from their loved ones when they go to embark on their thru hike. That makes me really sad because why wouldn’t people want to be supportive? Why shouldn’t people dream, and dream big? Yes, hiking 2,190 miles is a HUGE dream but it can be accomplished. People do it every year! Everyone has their own unique story about where they have been and what they have done that has brought them to where they are. I want to be able to be an encouragement to people that if you work hard, make a plan, and follow through with the plan, that you can accomplish your dreams.
That being said, sometimes we can’t follow our dreams. Or our dreams have to change due to our circumstances that are out of our control. I have had to change my dreams over the years to realize that I am indeed not smart enough to be a lawyer or doctor. That I was not good enough to play college hockey. That I wasn’t pretty or thin enough to be a model. That doesn’t make me less of a person. It just made me realize that I was meant for something else.
The realizations we have growing up are often harsh realities. People are mean and say super hurtful things. Now as an adult I have learned that even the most stunningly beautiful, or wildly successful people were bullied in their youth. That, unfortunately, is the world we live in. But you know what they say, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger! So from all the crap I dealt with growing up has now made me into the person I am today. I am more resilient than I was in my youth. And I am more purposeful and intentional with what I say and how I treat people.
I hope through this blog of documenting our life, challenges and successes, that we can be an encouragement to people. I hope to make a positive contribution to the world around us. I think of all the wonderful people I have met in my life. All the people that are doing awesome, inspiring things. I hope to be one of those people. We are still figuring out what that will look like in the long term. But for now, we are starting with a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Blog post written by Amy Karras
For the love of travel and new adventures, we live our lives for the next dream fulfilled!