Indeed the trail satisfied many parts of the soul. Sadly I hurt my foot and had to end the trail before I reached the end, but I still spent enough time out there to understand some of the lessons it has to teach.
I always like to think back to how life was for me before college. It’s crazy how much of a different person I was going in and coming out. We chiseled away at the possibilities of humanity, and ended up with a pretty good statue at the end.
Being on the trail is the closest that I have had to that feeling in my adult life. You are given the time to think without constraint, and bullshit all day long with amazing people. It feels much like college, in that the friends I’ve made will be life long.
It has changed what I want to do with myself for the foreseeable future, seeking out more situations where the intensity and breadth of the human soul can come to bear. It felt like the most natural thing in the world to slip into walking everyday, and living a simple life.
Simple life with good people, a profound and fundamental way to enjoy the world. It showed me how full of bullshit and tedium the “normal” world can be, and how a reduced subset of choice can really expand your happiness.
The months I spent on the trail were some of the happiest of my life. I will look to hopefully relive them again in a few years, but like many things in life, the first time is likely to be the sweetest. Hopefully I won’t go through life looking backwards, trying to feel it again, and will find solace and peace again.
Coming back to reality has been hard, but Portland is a good place to come back to. I have been surrounding my self with good food, mostly from Farmers Markets. Lots of berries and salads, things you can’t eat on the trail. I am also looking into doing some bike touring, once my foot heals, so that I can still explore. Exploring on bike will be a different experience, but one I think I’ll quite enjoy.
I now also have the experience to go and live in the woods for a week at a time. This freedom opens a lot of possibility for adventure in the future. Having amazing tools, the knowledge , wherewithal, and drive to go out into nature again makes me happy.
May there be many more adventures for us both.