Do I feel regret or am I stressed out? Surprisingly, no. I gave up a life I spent a year and a half creating in West Virginia. I became involved in the community of Petersburg volunteering in a nursing home, helping coach the high school girls’ soccer team, and giving free test prep tutoring. I managed to make friends in a 2,000 person town and had a close friend group meeting people involved in the AmeriCorps program. One wonderful friend, in particular, Lauren Merrill, helped me make close friends and feel welcomed in different West Virginia communities. Without her, the experience would have been completely different and I couldn’t be any more thankful for our relationship.
I will miss every aspect of that life. There will be one day where I can return and see all the people I knew so well. Now, I couldn’t be happier to help raise awareness for people without clean water. When living in West Virginia, the fact that people did not have water always regularly bothered me and I tried every day to do something to help even when most of these people are on the other side of the world.
I moved back to my hometown in New Jersey with a little over two weeks before the start. As I continued to get more gear, I became more comfortable and relaxed for the start. I sat in front of all my gear realizing that I now have everything. A good medical kit, enough batteries to keep my phone always charged, cooking ware, and water purification kits. While sitting looking at everything with content, I became restless and wanted to begin. Each day seems much longer and trying to waste an hour has become more difficult. I want to relax and do nothing before the trip since every day will be a 4,000 calorie journey, but I simply can’t. Many days have been spent rock climbing locally, going for 10+ miles practice runs, yoga every damn day, or walking miles around NYC.
During the first practice run, I really had no idea what to expect. My backpack in full gear weighed 35lbs but I slipped in 20 extra pounds of weights. The 10 gallons of water will sit in a cargo container called the Burley Nomad that will be attached to my waist by using a harness adding 115 more pounds. Once everything was strapped in and felt as comfortable as it will get I began to walk at my hopeful pace. After 10 miles, no pain or soreness, this is a good sign.
Now it is 6 days before the departure. I am ready and want to begin. Thinking about the experiences ahead gives me an adrenaline rush All of the unknowns of the trip keep me really excited. Anything that came to mind I tried planning for but there is still things I am not expecting. For a trip, this long, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. And I am excited to fix each problem.
See you all at Day 1 or Mile 0