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Dreaming of the AT

Posted by Sam Kearney on

"You are worthy of your wildest dreams" - Nicole Guillaume

The human brain is funny. Here we have this spongy meat sack sitting between our ears, capable of concocting millions of dreams, scenarios, goals, and ideas. And for every brilliant thought that comes up, there's a thousand negative thoughts that come rushing right behind. After the onslaught of cannots and should nots, it can leave any dream a bit bruised and defeated.

There's an unfortunate trend in our culture that we need to be perfect before even considering pursuit of a dream. We need to train, practice, refine. We need to remove any traces of humanity, of what makes each of us unique, and what makes us collectively spectacular. It can be paralyzing, where to even begin?

Well, to quote an certain famous Chinese philosopher, "The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step". That first step might be shaky, the technique may not be flawless, you may even trip over a rock right off the bat. But then something amazing happens, you take another step. And another. And another. Each step brings new opportunities to learn, to grow, and to increase the distance between where you started and where you are now.

This past few years have been the most challenging years of my life. Between living out of state far from friends and family, completely switching careers, pursuing a life as an entrepreneur, starting a web business, closing a web business, moving back to the mountains, losing over half of our possessions, battling with mental health issues... It was easy to relish the comfort of our couch and the security of a nice, soft blanket.

With that couch potato lifestyle came the usual drawbacks, most troubling is that I'm not nearly as physically fit as I used to be. I need specific goals to get my ass moving, so I promised myself that one day, I'd hike the Appalachian Trail. These days, if I'm out on the trail, I'm red, sweaty, wheezing, uncomfortable, and stinky. But, it is getting easier. I dream about the day that I can hike for miles on end and feel good in my body, but for now, it's pushing through that discomfort (albeit with plenty of whining). Because one day, all of those steps are going to lead me from Georgia to Maine. Those feet are gonna carry me through the struggle, through the pain, and lead me closer to my dream of overcoming my fear of failure (and bees, probably).

Why hike the AT? Because I know that I can. Maybe (okay, definitely) not today, maybe not next month, but it's gonna happen soon. I want to learn all the wisdom that the trail has to offer. I want to reframe my way of thinking, to meet other people who are on a journey of their own, and to share that knowledge. That's why our ATATAT design supports the Appalachian Trail Conservancy by donating 10% of every sale directly to those who help preserve and protect this transformative trail!


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