Written by: Brandon "Monkey" Imp
Are we in the final stretch? We are in Kent, CT. The remaining states to hike through are CT, MA, VT, NH, and ME. CT and MA will probably fly by - the mileage length is low and the terrain is non-White Mountains. Then there's VT and NH where our average daily mileage will significantly decrease due to the White Mountains. Finally, there's ME. It has a large chunk of miles within the state. However, it is the last state - when we enter it, doesn't that mean we are basically done? So from this analysis of the remaining states, it looks like we have very little of the trail to hike. I'll just ignore the fact that there's 725 miles between us and Katahdin.
Now that we are somewhere closer to the end, I am thinking about what I want after the trail and what I have learned while on the trail.
After the trail, I want:
Peace and Quiet. I don't think I need sleep necessarily, but I need to sit and not be bothered. I want to feel oily from sitting in air condition. I want to sit for so long on our old, beaten basement couch that I feel the need to get up from my vegetative trance and do great things.
My Dog Sunny. Sunny is the best dog on the planet. He is 13 years old yet still has spurts of puppy energy. (Granted they last 4 minutes before he becomes disinterested or tired, but they are spurts nonetheless.) Then, he seconds as a pillow and blanket. Good puppy!
Brie and a Baguette. Fresh Fruit. A Large Salad with Nuts, Raisins, Italian Dressing, Croutons, and Spinach. Funnel Cake. Gatorade (NOT Powder Mix).
Friends and Family. I want to see people with whom I am comfortable. I do not need to talk about standard trail life - where's the water, I saw a snake, this tastes terrible, that hill sucked, I ate blueberries. Being in their company is happiness enough.
A Job. This will come in time. I am not worrying too much about one until we pull up into our NJ driveway.
Sandals. My feet are screaming to be released! It's summertime! If I were anywhere else, sandals would have been introduced to my feet on April 1st!
Geography. Where the heck is Zimbabwe? What countries are in Central America? Why don't I know these simple facts?
Books and Plays and Newspapers. I need to read. I want to read. I want to be entertained. I want to learn. I want to re-read The Hobbit at bedtime, wake up to the New York Times, and analyze Ibsen or Ionesco at lunch.
MOST IMPORTANTLY. I want to re-charge my sense of adventure! My craving for the new has always been large, and this trip is testing its limits. By the end, I may be running on empty. How long will it take for me to get antsy and begin planning my next trip? Hopefully just that vegetative time on the couch. Hopefully!
On the trail, I learned:
People Are Good. The push for normalcy blinds this truth for many in society. But, it's a truth! Truths cannot be anything but what they are.
Girls Poop. Sorry men. This is a fact that (I hope) MythBusters does not have to prove.
I Like Who I Am. This is me. I am Brandon. I am comfortable with who I am, how I interact with others, and my placement in the world. Sure, this trip and other experiences will change me. I am open to those changes. I do not think they will shake my core and re-route my persona. They will only alter my outlook in a positive way.
Not Every Snake Is There To Eat You. Many are, but not all.
Different Is Interesting. Even the Abercrombie and Fitch model has a backstory to tell.
I Need Rest. I am not a robot or a super-human. I cannot do it all. I cannot do 50 things simultaneously. And, I need some sleep mixed into my life to put forth 120%.
Just a few states left on our journey. I think we can do it! Another week or two and I'll be sipping strawberry daquiris on the deck. (NOTE: We in fact have 1.5 months left, not two weeks.)