Most of my training for the AT thus far has been day hikes, with or with out a full pack, and running trails to build cardiovascular health and endurance. The occasional backpacking trip is thrown in whenever the schedule maker lightens up on the sentencing, but I am realizing that I have to ration my backpacking expeditions for the sake of those around me. That I still have a life here which I need to be tending to and can't go running off into the woods whenever I desire, at every chance that presents itself. I am having to balance out my Wants and Shoulds.
I want to go backpacking as often as I have the time. Every single stint of off time long enough would be spent in the mountains if I didn't have this guilty feeling of abandonment towards the life I am leaving behind. Being a daughter, friend, girlfriend and co-worker, I feel I have to be available to fill those roles and their expected deeds. As much as this feels like a hindrance, and honestly a total bummer, I feel that I owe it to the people in my life to be around up until the time I said I would be gone.
Come March, it is my sole job to walk off into the woods and be without all the people and pleasures of my old life and I feel that I should fear that more than I do. Quite the opposite, I feel nothing but excitement and yearning for the trail and the thought of leaving behind my life seems as if it should create a stirring inside me. It does not. I have no feeling towards it. Perhaps one will form. But from here stems the guilt.
Why am I so ready to leave? Why do I not fear leaving the people and places in my life behind? Am I that prepared? Am I that independent? Am I that cold of a person? Or am I simply that hellbent on a dream?
Maybe, as in classic Carlie fashion, this disconnection is a simple defense mechanism to spare my heart the pain of walking out of all the people, places, and things I have come to love and depend on.
**An Edit: Lord Byron once wrote:
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more."
This only slightly consoles me, as I am not alone, yet I seem to be striking a cord with a misanthropic ass...