Mile 0: Wild Thoughts

It wasn’t an overnight dream that made me decide to hike the appalachian trail, but a “bored” idea from a few years ago.

I had just finished watching Into the Wild for the third time. All those beautiful landscapes pictured in the movie made me curious, so after a few hours browsing the web I found myself on some hiking website reading about the Appalachian Trail.

It was a pretty boring day in my college dorm and my mind was already working on a totally insane idea.

“I want to hike the Appalachian Trail,” I would sporadically repeat to family and friends during random conversations for the next three or four years. I didn’t believe to actually do it, but I thought I appeared cooler and adventurous to my interlocutor. “Go get a job” my parents always replied.

So I did what was “right” to do. I got two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s, and I ended up working in London for a sports business company.

I was satisfied, wasn’t I?

Then came the winter. Around December of 2017 I started losing everything I worked so hard for and my apparent stability started to falter, just when I thought everything was going in the right direction.

My company laid me off, my girlfriend left me and my hopes and dreams began to fade. So, I kept doing the “right” thing. I started looking for new jobs, unaware of that little crazy idea sitting silent in my head.

One day, while walking through the streets of London, reflecting on various job offers and new applications to send, I found myself in a hiking store. The main reason was to escape the typical London rain, but once inside my thoughts immediately went to the many walks with my grandfather in the woods of Tuscany. So many good moments that unfortunately were only becoming faded memories.

Then one day I had an epiphany, strong and clear.

Without much thinking, I grabbed my phone and called my mom with newly-found excitement: “I’m going to hike the Appalachian Trail!” I said, clearly not aware of the hardship of the trip. “Are you looking for jobs?” she responded, clearly not caring about my delirious talks.

“Mom! I’m for real!” l persisted, “I’m doing this.”

After all, I wasn’t really sure of what I wanted to be my next step in life, so I saw the A.T. as a way to clear my mind, away from everything and everyone.

So it began.

By the end of December I stopped applying for jobs and I focused all my energy in researching and preparing for the hike. I already knew a little about the trail but defintely not enough to consider myself an expert.

In fact, The first thing that caught my attention was simple, yet daunting.

Two thousand one hundred and ninety miles.

I was already out of breath already after reading it out loud. That was the distance to cover on foot, through 14 states from Georgia to Maine.

Even though I enjoy hiking every now and then and I always like to stay in a good shape, I’ve never been a serious hiker. And definitely never a 2,200-mile walk in the woods has been contemplated in my workout routines.

Scary, right? A ton of steps ahead of me. But if my mind doesn’t fail me, I won’t fail. I’ll take the pain, the cold, the rain and the loneliness in exchange of a everlasting memory, and the chance to write a small page of history.

Have you ever done something terribly frightening and exciting at the same time?

I spent the last four months preparing for this feat, planning my route and gathering affordable yet effective gear. The only thing I didn’t prepare for is the unexpected, because many months in the wild can give you a lot, as well as take a lot from you. The unexpected is always around the corner: injuries, dangerous animals, bad weather, mud, snow and many other factors that can make this venture as epic as dangerous.

The secret I believe is to keep an open mind and try adapting to every situation in the best way possible. Be creative and enjoy will be my motto.

There’s only a week left to the beginning of this incredible adventure. I’m ready to live it all, but I will also need all your support… Are you with me?

In Walk We Trust,

The Walking Fed

P.S.: Follow my adventure on also Facebook! The Walking Fed

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