I've been working on this post for a long time, and it covers multiple weeks. Hopefully I have remembered everything important.
Today I find myself in a strange loop. I took a break from the stress of school and the chaos PCT stuff to find a cathartic moment of zen, which translates to some time working with my hands. As I sat on my floor mocking up my motorcycle's wire loom, I started watching The Long Way Round, a documentary about Ewan McGregor and Charles Boorman's motorcycle journey around the world. Listening to their story unfold caught me off guard, because I felt like I was living it at that moment. Not only was I a like-minded gear head, thinking intensely about my motorcycle and it's near finished state, but I was going through the same process, thoughts, and feelings preparing for a long journey that the two actors were showing on camera. It was an unexpectedly emotional experience as I realized that in just a week, my life was going to rocket into an unknown bigger and scarier than any other I have faced so far in my (almost) 28 years.
We have been frantic. There have been far more logistical problems to solve than we anticipated. Chris and Nick have been moving out of their respective apartments while trying to simultaneously finish up the PCT planning that will enable them to successfully complete the first two legs. We are still waiting for 70% of our lunches and snacks to show up in the mail, which means that I'll have a lot of food organizing and packing to do before I leave in 11 short days. But it's great, because they are excited to start the trail, so no matter how stressed we've been about it, we know that the stress will melt away with the miles.
Their day has come. Of course, in our true form, we were trying to finish stuff until the literal last moment before Chris, Nick, and Ashley stepped on the plane. Also in true form, we got some quality goof-off time together in the form of haircuts.
Nick and I were both of the opinion that shaving our heads was the appropriate way to start this journey, but Chris said he was just going to leave his hair the same. In order to set precedent regarding our "majority rules" decision-making policy on the trail, Nick and I promptly voted that Chris was required to shave his head as well. It turns out that what goes around comes around.
I had planned to wait and shave my head the day before I left. I will be the first to admit my hair might be my greatest point of personal vanity. Also, my friend Tava is a great stylist and I wanted to enjoy my hair add long as I could. Nick and Chris has other ideas, though. They stated that of they were shaving their heads, then I had to participate today as well. Of course, the vote went 2-1, and like that, my locks were gone.
This trip will transform us physically, mentally, and emotionally, and we're looking forward to those changes.
Our friend Taylor and I drove then to the airport, said our goodbyes, and wished them luck. I still have a lot to do...
This is what $900 worth of nuts, dried fruits & veggies, chocolate covered pretzels, and bagel chips looks like. We're still waiting on some other orders, but as they roll in, I'll have to divy up our 5 months of lunches and snacks into their resypply boxes.
Also, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to class on Thursday, which means I just had the last class of my formal education for the foreseeable future. That feels weird.
I just found out that Nick hurt his leg and is off the trail. Not only does that put his completion of the trail in jeopardy, but it might throw a wrench into how I'm supposed to get from Palm Springs to Idyllwild on Wednesday...
This weekend has been great. Not only were my parents able to drive it to Seattle to see me off, but my younger sister Rachael surprised me and came out with them. And I was overwhelmed by how many people showed up to my going away/starting the PCT/birthday/graduation party. I saw friends from nearly all the circles I've made during my ten years living in Seattle, and it struck a chord deep within me knowing how much I will be missed. Maybe I'll end up back in that place, and maybe I won't, but Seattle all always feel like a city I can land and always have a smiling friend to offer me a meal and a bed. Thank you all for your friendships over the years—you have meant more to me than you know.
Today was a hard day, and all I can do is thank my family for their hard work and self sacrifice. My parents helped me clean and pack my apartment, which turned out to be a far greater chore than I thought. I honestly thought I could do it on my own, but I would have been up a creek without a paddlw of they hadn't helped out.
I also need to tell how amazing my sister Rachael, and my friend Amanda are. While we were packing my stuff, the two of them spent HOURS sorting, organizing, and packing the rest of our food. It was boring, tedious, and confusing, but they did it without a single complaint. You two are rock stars.
I can't believe I leave tomorrow. My apartment is an empty shoebox, my life is packed away, I'm (effectively) done with school, and for the next five months, I'm going to be a homeless hiker wandering the mountains in search of discernment, commradery, and adventure.