Saturday, April 23, 2016

Day -8 : Grace in Friendships

0 miles today
2663 miles to go

Wow, so this is what dreams are made of! Some of my friends put together a ‘send-off’ for me last night. First off, I am not a party person. In fact I actually felt a little drained as I thought about it while driving over to their home. I used the excuse that I am introverted and being in large crowds is a draining and exhausting experience.  It is true that I often feel this way at big social gatherings. 
Shelly and I pose while Vivian dances
Once there though I forgot about all that and was myself. I had lots of fun. I brought my gear with me. I set my tent up on the lawn and got to demo my alcohol stove a bunch of times. I was able to let people see my Saranwrap thin tent, my solar charger, my Neo-air mattress. I got to talk about the trail, my food plans, itinerary. It was fun to talk about stuff that I am really interested in. I've always been envious of people who show up at a party and talk about what interests them. I want to do that more. I want to stop posturing and posing for the crowd. I want to risk being me more, rather than being the ‘me’ that I think people expect.
Me and Viv
Shelly and Steve Hoover came. I felt truly honored by the affirmation and encouragement I received from them and all of my friends. As I was driving home I reflected that I didn't feel drained at all. I was tired but that was because it was so late, way past hiker midnight. It is humbling and emotionally moving that people showed up. I have friends! People that took time out of their busy schedules to come to an event that is all about something that is an important personal goal of mine. I think that maybe a big part of why I feel so drained in large settings is that deep down I have ‘people pleasing’ tendencies. This is not a positive trait. I think it's based on a fear of not being enough, that I have to meet the expectations of ‘the crowd’. I don't want to be this way. I am reading a book called The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, PhD., L.M.S.W (I have no idea what all those extra letters mean, but it makes her title look legit). I find her research compelling because it rings true to my own subjective experience. Her descriptions describe me. She talks about living with courage, compassion, and connection. That these three are critical to living a Wholehearted life. This is what I want to do/become. 
Friends are priceless!
To realize that there are people in my life that care about me as I am and not as how they think I should be is an incredibly freeing experience. This was exactly what I needed before heading off  on my hike. I also heard from a number of other friends who wanted to be there but couldn't. The fact that they took the time to reach out to me and say they wanted to be there just increased the revelation that I am so blessed to have a wide circle of gracious and loving people who care about me. 
Mom's a friend too!
One week from today I catch a plane that leaves everything familiar and comfortable. This Monday is my last day of ‘work’. By that I mean income producing work. If hiking two thousand six hundred sixty three miles isn't work, then there is no such thing as work. Some people use the word ‘calling’ to describe what they do. That might be the right word for what I am doing. I truly feel called to do this. I am not sure what that means or how it fits in with the rest of the things going on in the universe. All I know is that this is a dream I have been pursuing for years and I will be changed by the experience. I am hearing a voice (not audible) that no one in my immediate circle of friends hears. I have ignored it and put it off for way to long. For better or worse I am committed to following the voice to see where it leads me. I feel so alive, like I am waking up for the first time in a long time.


  1. It was great to see you at the gym today friend!

  2. It was really great to see Shelly and Steve, and celebrate your upcoming adventure. I'm so happy for you!!!