Editor’s note: These are a few old journal entries that I reread recently that capture the sentiments I held in the early goings of the walk. Some are comical, some are enthusiastic, and some are anxious for things to come, with no real awareness of how the trip would unfold.
Addt’l editor’s note: The editor and author of this article are the same person. Basically, there is no editor for this site.
Today felt easy enough. A good headspace in the morning, with some nice interactions outside the post office, followed by frustration over the lack of interviews we’ve done with people, the lack of pictures I have taken, and the lack of writing I’ve done. Some Kanye, a Sports Movie Hall of Fame podcast episode, and, of course, walking, cured some of that negativity. We’re about 100 steps from the road right now, about 300 from someone’s home, 5 from running water, and I feel pretty on edge. I’m going to have to get used to this I guess. The good news is that tent life seems more opportunistic for writing, which will certainly be helpful in the near future. While my memory of today feels strangely vague, it’s walking experiences like today, where the monotony and repetition of it are able to therapeutically lift me out of some negativity. I haven’t quite reached the transcendent walking experience that I imagined, and hoped for, (and laughed at the idea of), but it is nice to be able to recognize the cathartic, balancing elements of the walk while it’s happening. In the days and weeks to come, I hope my mind naturally continues to turn inward. For now, I’ll start my nightly routine of listening to standup comedy and passing out.
Today felt like one of the easiest, quickest days in awhile. We got a good night of rest at the motel yesterday, and were able to squeeze in a good, free breakfast out of them too before heading out. And after that it was just a straight shot down Route 30 all day long. We stopped for bathroom breaks, and to buy some apples and take some pictures, but aside from both the great lunch break we took, and beginning to ascend the mountain in the last hour, today mostly felt like a blur. But lunch was great, our waitresses were incredibly friendly and intrigued by the walk, and both the mom with her four kids, and the older woman in the booth next to her, were wonderful. Both simultaneously managed to be supportive and friendly, while maintaining their concern and incredulity. Especially the mom. She even offered to pick up our lunch, but, at that point, another patron at the diner, a mysterious one who left without interacting with us, had paid our tab already. That diner was a microcosm of countless interactions we’ve had. We have our recited responses to their familiar questions, and we have the certain jokes we make whenever we’re talking with people, but it’s always the kindness and concern we receive from these strangers that makes walking all day easy. And the spot we’re camping tonight? Couldn’t be more ideal (fingers crossed). It’s just off route 30, so we can hop right back on in the morning. It’s flat for our camping gear. It’s near a precipice that looks out into the valley of the state forest, with the peaks and ridges towering behind us, and, most importantly, it’s warm. So far, it’s as comfortable as the hotel beds we’ve slept in, with the added comfort of solitude in my tent, the stars above me, and the chirping of cricks lulling me to sleep.
2 nights in a row camping, 2 days in a row pushing Caddie up and down mountains, 2 and 1/2 days without a shower. Sleep deprived, sore and smelling like shit, we have officially begun experiencing what the rest of the trip will be like. It finally feels like we are living on the road, experiencing each day as a backpacking, instead of the young couchsurfing adventurers we began this trip as. It’s easy to idealize the values and experiences that led us to this trip when you have a kind, welcoming audience to wax poetic to about it. Now, we are removed from familiar places, pushing ourselves physically and the internal questions we were excited for seem that much more daunting. It was easier to feel safe and secure when we had a destination to reach, a warm bed to end our day in, and a hot shower to begin the next day with. The comforts of music and Marc Maron, and of reading and writing, are going to have to carry me that much farther. Pleasant interactions won’t just be something to write about at the end of the day. They will be all I have to write about at the end of the day. The challenges of the past two days have made the challenges to come on this trip that much clearer. With some music to walk to, a pen and paper to write with, and an open mindset, I feel ready to confront them.