Leaving NYC for the AT
I’m feeling pretty lucky these days. Not to mention, stressed, anxious, super overwhelmed, and eager to get out of the city. I’m leaving New York City to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and pre-trail jitters are alive and well.
I left my job in midtown Manhattan and I’ve been packing up my apartment for the last week. I can hardly focus on anything but my growing to-do list, verbatim from my journal:
physical therapy appointments
get a haircut
contact lenses situation
HAMMOCK BUG NET – which one?? or do I ditch the hammock setup and go with my Talus 2 tent?
pack/prep for Adirondacks Memorial Day Weekend (UPDATE: we went to the Catskills instead and had a baller time)
pack and move out of my apartment by June 2nd
dial down the gear list & treat everything with permethrin.
last gear upgrade: UL sleeping bag – thinking the Marmot Phase 30
meal planning & supplement prep?
make yo vlog
calm down and take it all in!
I’m finally getting ready to live a dream I’ve had for years and I can’t help battle this stomach-churning anxiety and giddy excitement. At any given moment I could shout from streets or let out a little cheer on the subway. Both of which happened since I started writing this post. That said, the pre-trail stress is real: one second I feel like I totally have a grip on my game plan, the next, I worry I’ll miss the AT Lodge shuttle to Baxter State Park. #SOBOproblems
In the middle of my uncontrollable waves of stress and brain scrambles, I meditate back to why I’m doing this in the first place.
Let’s jump back to earlier this year: I had an art world job a million girls would kill for, a huge apartment on a quiet tree-lined street in Brooklyn, and very recently, a group of friends that solidified themselves as my weekend warrior tribe. To me, this is the trifecta of city living. Soon, my neighborhood farmer’s market will move from the church basement to McGolrick Park courtyard. McCarren Park will start the outdoor film series, one of my favorite Brooklyn summer gigs. Weekend plans will alternate between rooftop barbecues and camping trips. And let’s not forget endless bike rides, Jacob Riis Beach, outdoor music festivals, and a general atmosphere of anything-can-happen literally intoxicates all of Brooklyn.
So why am I leaving all of this for a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail? Did I mention my apartment has a backyard big enough to fit a small pool? Did I mention my weekend tribe wants to camp and bag peaks all summer? We were doing day hikes almost every weekend, and that was in March with nor’easters still rolling through. I never thought I’d find a group of outdoorsy like-minded people in the city. Even our group chat is pretty epic.
So why leave all that?
Too Good to be True
In reality, I needed a big change and my apartment lease was up at the end of the month.
I have over four years working for an art collector-architect-designer extraordinaire and the experience could not be better. It was a culmination of everything I worked for and studied in graduate school and college. studies. I loved my job and my colleagues. I had a great boss and mentor. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel like I had a dream job but it was no longer my dream. My working experience with art became strictly transactional and commercial. I longed for a more meaningful interaction. Once I recognized that my idea of the dream job had evolved, I knew I was ready for a change. Finding the courage to make a change was the next step.
Opportunities in Disguise
The lease on my gem of an apartment was also ending at the end of the month. A classic New York headache: decide to renew the lease or roll the dice on a new spot with new roommates. I took this as a sign and credit perfect timing: moving out at the end of May allows a perfect start to a Southbound thru-hike in June. I always envisioned myself going Southbound on the AT considering the majority of my section hikes went South. It just felt right. Plus, jumping right into the wilderness and toughest terrain on the trail sounds like a perfect foil to the radically different streets of NYC.
Keeping it all in perspective
Once I remind myself of the reasons I chose to hike, the jitters settle and everything quiets down. I remember this was an active choice and extra anxiety is totally normal. Making a big life change takes guts and I have to keep giving myself credit. I’m making a dream come true and I’m bringing you along for the ride.
Farewell, for now, NYC.