March 8th. Unless it’s your birthday or your anniversary, it’s the sort of day that’s likely to pass unmarked and unnoticed, just another Monday ticked off the calendar.
The last time March 8th fell on a Monday was March 8th, 2004. It’s a day that holds special meaning for me because on that day, I started walking North from Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. I kept walking for about five months and 2,183 miles, and by the time I finished I had hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail. It’s still, without a doubt, the longest, craziest adventure I’ve ever embarked on. (The trail journal I kept during that time can actually still be found online at http://www.trailjournals.com/einstein. That also happens to be the longest blog/journal I’ve ever kept.)
It was an interesting time in my life. I had just graduated college in December 2003, but I wasn’t ready to get a job. I wanted to do something special, something crazy, and I settled on the Appalchian Trail. It was an odd choice… I had never been much of a backpacker, outside of what I did in Boy Scouts, but it represented an adventure, a chance to test myself, not just in terms of the outdoors, but in terms of making friends and meeting people, too. Mostly, it was a chance to do something different, something extraordinary.
Most people say that hiking the Appalachian Trail changes your life. For me, I was never sure if it did or not. After I finished, I came home, found an apartment, later a house, and got a job, which I’ve been at for over five years now. Nothing extraordinary happened, in fact things were pretty mundane… but I think my mindset did change. It just didn’t always manifest itself in an obvious way. It altered the way I looked at the world, subtly but definitely. And it got me hooked on travel, although even that took a few years to fully manifest.
Now, once again, it’s Monday March 8th. I think I’m on the verge of another moment similar to the one that launched me North up the Appalachian Trail, but I’m not yet at the point where I’m ready to post about it in anything but vague terms. But suffice to say, if I follow through with what I’m planning, in a few months this blog is going to get a lot more interesting. As they say on the TV news, stay tuned for details.