Friday, January 29, 2010

Journey into the Unknown

Written by: Katherine Imp

I stepped into the camping store, dressed in my favorite pair of skinny jeans and tall, black boots. I pulled my hair back to give my massive, hoop earrings their full effect. I looked around, anxious to get started but not sure where to begin. A salesman saw me, we’ll call him Salesman Bob, and walked over. “Can I help you?” he asked.

“Yeah, that’d be great,” I said. “Next year I will be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and I need to buy some gear. Any suggestions on what kind of backpack I should buy?”

Bob paused for a moment, looked me up and down, and then chuckled to himself. “You know a thru-hike of the AT isn’t exactly . . . a walk in the park. It’s a lot of miles on rough terrain.”

Wow, someone really needs to fire this guy. “Uh, Bob, I didn’t ask you to determine my future and crush my hopes and dreams. I just asked you to help me pick out a backpack.”

Stop. Let’s rewind.

Hi. My name’s Kate. Sometimes I wear skinny jeans. Sometimes I wear long, dangling earrings and dance under the stars in Grant Park. I plan to be a lawyer, but I don’t define myself as one. I like movies and mountains and philosophical conversations. I value the quality of life. I don't have much patience for people like Salesman Bob.

The idea to hike the Appalachian Trail came to me a few years ago during my first semester of law school exams. I’ve always been a dreamer, but as a general rule I try to ignore any ideas that come to me during times of stress. For example, I remember one night before a particularly important exam thinking it would be a good idea to join the circus and dye my hair pink. Needless to say that never happened.

The AT dream, however, stayed with me. I let it sit for awhile, not sure how to open up five months of my life without damaging all the other career aspirations I had worked so hard to obtain. But one day, while watching my all-time favorite show, Survivor, I realized my mind was already made up. I didn’t know if I had what it took to finish, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to find anyone crazy enough to come with me. But at that moment, as I watched the Survivor contestants talk about how wonderfully unique their adventures had been, I knew that if I didn’t find the courage to pursue my own dream, I’d forever regret it.

In a little over one month I will be standing on Springer Mountain in Georgia with my brother and my best friend. Aside from this fact, I don’t know what my future holds.

This blog will follow my journey, our journey, into the unknown. My hope is that with the stories we tell, and eventually the film we make, that we not only entertain our audience but also inspire you to pursue your own dreams . . . wherever those paths may lead you.