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Hiking the Appalachian Trail

I've begun walking the "Appalachian trail" and will finish the 2,190 miles in a year.

History

I wrote in detail about my walking history & walking partners in the story: Walking Across Lines of Difference (Nov. 2019). Some walking memories include:


When I was 13, my mother helped me create a babysitting and personal training business. The business consisted of walking two miles around our city block with younger girls. I love it.


Early in our marriage, I discovered transitioning from an overstimulating (teaching) environment to my extroverted and high-energy hubby was not easy for me. In my second year of teaching & first year of marriage, I would walk three to six miles home every day. It was the only way to release the day's tension and enter our tiny Brooklyn apartment with joy, ease, and often a fresh treat from the market. I needed miles and sometimes hours to walk and process. I'd leave work directly afterward, usually around 3 pm, and come home by 5:00ish pm - ready to engage and love life. Oh, how sweet & dreamy our first year of marriage was.

There was a time, primarily during the pandemic & Sabbatical, when I walked about 100k steps a week. I labeled myself a peripatetic (Life of a Peripatetic). It was easier during that season to walk everywhere and all the time because we lived a walkable distance from:

  • Whole Foods Market

  • Sprouts market

  • Starbucks & Dunkin Donuts

  • Three beautiful tree-lined trails

  • Three playgrounds

  • A Home Goods

  • A ton of restaurants & eateries

Also, my youngest was small enough to fit snuggly in a carrier or his stroller, and my oldest son adored walking. That said, for some reason, as I gained more steps at Gather - I stopped doing evening walks/workouts.

 

My ONE Yearning:


UNTIL your girl (moi) made a horrifying bodily discovery (at the end of September) that led me to doctors & hospitals, it also guided me into seeking ways to lower my stress significantly. I began, more consistently, walking Nina in the evenings. God's comfort provided me with peace and joy during my trial. My sons, husband, family, dream of teaching for generations, and friends monopolized my introspections. But there was just one thing outside of humans that left me up at night - my ONE great yearning:

To walk hundreds of thousands of miles in the natural world.


I fantasize about climbing mountains, hiking trails, walking marathons, backpacking along bodies of water, and exploring rainforests. The recollections of solitude that bring me my greatest enjoyment were when I had coffee on a mountain - walked the bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn, and hiked tree-lined paths for hours.


 

The Goal:


On November 23, 2022, by God's grace, I got a call telling me the ordeal was over.


And at that moment, I knew I got another chance at my peripatetic dreams. And no, I cannot desert my family & trek the Appalachian trail, hike in tree-lined forests daily, or even gain steps walking to the market. But God willing, I can walk 2048.83 miles in a year (almost the Appalachian trail). I can walk every day for as long as God grants me the capacity to do so. And so I will make space to indulge because it is one of the most impactful things that have held me, mentally & emotionally, together throughout adulthood (and much of childhood). And I pray to do it well into my nineties.


It's one of the reasons I wanted Nina (our sweet German Shepherd) - I looked up the best dog for hiking, camping, protection, and obedience (for unleashed adventures) & I adore females & German Shepherds. But more on her later.


And so, I'm ending 2022 with a goal I pray will last me throughout my days on earth. If you want scientific benefits to walking, please check out this story: Benefits of Walking


I have to prepare for my walk! Feel free to join me on my adventures - I'm documenting them here & on Instagram.


Peace, friends!

Shelby

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