Can You Even Walk, Dude?

Who am I?  Why am I doing this?  And, why can’t I stop falling? So, Who Are You? I retired in 2021 from a career in the insurance industry.  I was a Commercial Insurance Underwriter and, later, a Consultant.  As a Consultant, I helped Underwriters get their jobs done, meaning that I sat at a desk, fielded phone calls, and attended meetings.  I thoroughly enjoyed the work since it was relatively low-stress and, at the same time, paid well.  But, when the company offered everyone of a certain age and experience an opportunity to retire early, I jumped at the chance.  While adjusting to life as a retired person, I found that it allowed me time to take more hikes.  Time to clear my head, and learn how to “be retired”.  So, I took day hikes on the AT in Shenandoah National Park as often as I could, and the dream of thru-hiking the AT started coming together. Why are you doing this? Can’t say I have an answer to this question yet.   Since I was ten years old, the AT has occupied space in my head.  And, it’s taken up more space in recent years. Back in 2019, I somehow survived a rough corporate restructuring.  In 2020 came Covid, and our son had some serious health problems. Then, my earlier-than-planned, but can’t pass it up, retirement came in 2021.  All this resulted in an awareness that “life is too short” to sit behind a desk and just read (or watch videos) about stuff. Now, there’s this opening where the chance to take a thru-hike, like some kind of portal to who-knows-where, has opened.  I feel like Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams, where the universe is telling him to do something, and it’s a little bit crazy and he doesn’t know why he’s supposed to do it, but he knows it’s the right thing to do.  I have to be open to discovering the “why” whether it comes on the trail, or sometime after Katahdin. The universe is telling me I’m supposed to do this.  The stars have aligned, and I have to do this.  I have an opportunity now to thru-hike the trail, and the chance may never come again.  Acknowledging that, I’ve registered for a 03/13/23 (“oh-three, one-three, two-three”) start date.  Special thanks to AWOL, Chris Galloway, Li’l Chap, Roadrunner, Moss, and Dixie/Homemade Wanderlust, for their inspiration. And, most of all, my wife for encouraging and supporting my dream to plow up the corn and build a baseball field. What About the “Falling Down” part? Oh, that.  See, the trail is covered in dead leaves in the fall.  Those leaves cover up all kinds of smooth rocks. Step on one of those leaf-covered rocks and you might as well have stepped on the ice.  If anything came from my hike last week, I learned to fall (I learned to “turtle”).  I did break a trekking pole, but my bones survived intact!  Hoping for fewer falls in the future! I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with anyone who wants to come along with me! Featured image by Zach. Affiliate Disclosure This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support! To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Can You Even Walk, Dude?

Who am I?  Why am I doing this?  And, why can’t I stop falling?

So, Who Are You?

I retired in 2021 from a career in the insurance industry.  I was a Commercial Insurance Underwriter and, later, a Consultant.  As a Consultant, I helped Underwriters get their jobs done, meaning that I sat at a desk, fielded phone calls, and attended meetings.  I thoroughly enjoyed the work since it was relatively low-stress and, at the same time, paid well.  But, when the company offered everyone of a certain age and experience an opportunity to retire early, I jumped at the chance.  While adjusting to life as a retired person, I found that it allowed me time to take more hikes.  Time to clear my head, and learn how to “be retired”.  So, I took day hikes on the AT in Shenandoah National Park as often as I could, and the dream of thru-hiking the AT started coming together.

Why are you doing this?

Can’t say I have an answer to this question yet.   Since I was ten years old, the AT has occupied space in my head.  And, it’s taken up more space in recent years. Back in 2019, I somehow survived a rough corporate restructuring.  In 2020 came Covid, and our son had some serious health problems. Then, my earlier-than-planned, but can’t pass it up, retirement came in 2021.  All this resulted in an awareness that “life is too short” to sit behind a desk and just read (or watch videos) about stuff. Now, there’s this opening where the chance to take a thru-hike, like some kind of portal to who-knows-where, has opened.  I feel like Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams, where the universe is telling him to do something, and it’s a little bit crazy and he doesn’t know why he’s supposed to do it, but he knows it’s the right thing to do.  I have to be open to discovering the “why” whether it comes on the trail, or sometime after Katahdin.

The universe is telling me I’m supposed to do this.  The stars have aligned, and I have to do this.  I have an opportunity now to thru-hike the trail, and the chance may never come again.  Acknowledging that, I’ve registered for a 03/13/23 (“oh-three, one-three, two-three”) start date.  Special thanks to AWOL, Chris Galloway, Li’l Chap, Roadrunner, Moss, and Dixie/Homemade Wanderlust, for their inspiration. And, most of all, my wife for encouraging and supporting my dream to plow up the corn and build a baseball field.

What About the “Falling Down” part?

Oh, that.  See, the trail is covered in dead leaves in the fall.  Those leaves cover up all kinds of smooth rocks. Step on one of those leaf-covered rocks and you might as well have stepped on the ice.  If anything came from my hike last week, I learned to fall (I learned to “turtle”).  I did break a trekking pole, but my bones survived intact!  Hoping for fewer falls in the future!

I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with anyone who wants to come along with me!