View Full Version : Life after a thru-hike

11-19-2014, 16:50
Hey everyone, Yellow Beard here.

I wanted to ask, how has everyone been post thru-hike? How has life been treating you guys? Anyone else feel a little lost as to where to go or what to do?

A little back story for me. I'm a 29 year old originally from Illinois and now living in Albany, NY. I had a well paying electrical engineering position here for 3 years prior to thru-hiking and quit in March to set foot on Springer on April 1st. I tried to get a leave of absence but they denied it. I'm okay with that though because to be honest I wasn't happy there anyway.

I completed my hike on October 10th and kind of rode the waves of that for the next couple of weeks. Here I am though, over a month later, and I'm unemployed, living graciously in a friends place, and have no real direction as to where I want to go. I've toyed around with a few things and started updating my resume to tailor for engineering positions but my heart isn't entirely there. My heart is still on the trail. My heart is looking forward to the next big adventure.

So fellow thru-hikers or anyone really... what is going on with your life? How has post-trail life been for you? How can I make adventuring my life as opposed to a one and done?

11-19-2014, 17:36
Yep, another life ruined by an AT thru hike :) Good Luck!

11-19-2014, 17:38
Yep, another life ruined by an AT thru hike :) Good Luck!

Appalachian Trail thru-hike... not even once. :)

11-19-2014, 17:41
Colorado trail in August would be a blast, was 4 me. Just get a crap job in the meantime that you don't care about.

11-19-2014, 17:47
Why don't you do what every body else does and write another pointless book about a AT thru-hike or go hike the PCT next year but seriously at the end of my thru's I really didn't have a problem readjusting to real life I always gave myself 2-3 weeks to get over all the aches and pains and then I jumped right into it, some people has to force themselves to get off the couch though, see you on the PCT next year. ha ha ha ha

11-19-2014, 17:52
Check out the last 10 mins of the TrailShow Podcast this month as there are some applicable answers given by the cru to your situation based on a question posed by a Skip(viewer) suggesting he doesn't have the time to devote long periods to the outdoors.

For myself, I was definitely significantly changed after my AT thru. Much of what I had been taught, culture in which I was raised/educated, that I didn't question, namely consumerism, materialism, living largely disconnected from Nature, which I then did start pondering and questioning the merits of during the hike, changed my outlooks in several hugely important life changing aspects. Some of my core values changed consequently what I wanted from life changed. This isn't obvious until you attempt to renter your non-hiking life exactly in the same manner as you were or that you lived pre hike. This happens to some degree with many people post thru-hike. You are no longer the same person therefore attempting to reenter that pre thru-hike life exactly as YOU were isn't in line with your new values and desires. Sometimes, that means, as it did for me, the need to take our lives in a different direction.

I live a life that makes time, lots of time, for connecting to Nature now, for quieter times away from the masses, that seem to me to be largely on autopilot adhering to someone else's agenda. And, here is where I find one of the greatest joys, giving back contributing to others' reconnecting to Nature away from so many of the man made things and human centric philosophies. I've learned to question more as result of long distance hiking. This is no metaphor - I earnestly believe I am more sober more grounded more in touch with myself and with the Universe rather than being so self absorbed, as a result of approaching these post hike challenges this way.

11-19-2014, 19:23
I consider myself an adventurer, an outdoors oriented person. Even as a 4-5 yr old I would be outside doing something. Mom or Dad would have to drag me inside for dinner or to wash up. The outdoors was a classroom too in some ways just as important as locked up in a school with a blackboard or nose in a book or on a computer. I have always considered the outdoors as one of best friends, a place to connect/reconnect and refresh. Surprisingly, as a result I better understand my place in humanity as much as ever.

As I've grown older I still like taking off for several months to travel and long distance hike but I know that's not always in my life's best overall interests to do that so regularly or, perhaps, I just haven't yet found a way to yet do that. So what I've learned is to have a greater more in depth appreciation and focus on those shorter periods outdoors even if it's a 45 min walk, bike, drive, bus/train ride, or at work. I'm the chief dog walker volunteer in my extended family. This helps.

What largely helps me is that I'm a Landscape Architect arranging my career as much as I can where I'm outdoors. I have much variety in my life traveling to different states for work and leisure in some very scenic and diverse areas, California, Hawaii, west coast of Florida, Nevada, Atlanta suburbs Georgia, Asheville NC, Greenwich CT, etc where there is a strong environmental awareness and responsibility. I love walking through plant nurseries or construction materials yards for example. It shows in my design philosophy much the same as Frank Llloyd Wright's philosophy to work hand in hand with on site natural materials preserving, even sometimes at great costs, the existing landscape. It's so satisfying when your career is your passion. When your work is that diverse and, most importantly, you're passionate about it, designing it so you're outdoors often, you don't feel locked into something you don't want to be doing, that is viewed as a more of a chore or a paycheck.

All this has not come about by total chance. Choices were made - hard choices. I designed it that way. I too was going to be an engineer, a Civie. But, in my 4th yr, next to last semester, I switched my fields of study to Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. That didn't initially go over well with my parents. I already had a $45 K Civie job assured when I graduated in 9 months which was significantly important to my family as I don't come from a university educated or supremely financially wealthy family. I'm also the oldest sibling so I was to be setting the example for my younger sibs which was added pressure. This was some time ago when $45K was the $65-70 K that it is now. In time they saw what was my true passion though bridging the living world with environmentally conscious landscape design and more importantly being outdoors more so, certainly more so than had I taken the Civie or Math teacher direction I had initially thought I desired. Later, after much contemplation, I realized becoming an engineer was more of other people's dream than my own.

I also connect with the outdoors and adventure by introducing people, especially children(I have 19 nieces and nephews to practice on), to Nature and the outdoors. I also get to practice my patience in such situations when they are all there with their parents - my sibs and in laws. You want adventure get around 19 children w/ their parents. I find it sometimes best to separate the children from the parents. This way I'm not just their Uncle but their mentor, teacher, and their friend NOT THEIR CONTROLLER. LOL.

Doing trail maintenance is another way I stay connected to the outdoors and outdoorsy people who share my passions.

This topic comes up here on WB so search for the other threads for more ideas on handling where you are.

11-19-2014, 20:37
So fellow thru-hikers or anyone really... what is going on with your life? How has post-trail life been for you? How can I make adventuring my life as opposed to a one and done?
I struggled to get a job for a while, then I hated it, then I realized how much I made while still hating it, then I realized what my savings could do for me.

As an engineer you have a lot of earning power. Assuming that you learned on the trail how little you need, you should keep that in mind and see how high of a savings rate you can have. 50%? 75%? Higher!?!? Depending on your savings rate, you could possibly only have to work like 5 years in order to save enough to live off of your investments, assuming you maintain low expenses for a low withdrawal rate. You don't have to do it all at once, you can spice up your life with a couple thru-hikes throughout your acquisition phase. Won't get there as fast but you'll probably enjoy life more in getting there. (check out earlyretirementextreme.com and mrmoneymustache.com) Also I've been enjoying city food and weekend and evening hikes.

I will be quitting my engineering job early next year with enough money to thru hike for a quite some time :)

11-19-2014, 22:29
I struggled to get a job for a while, then I hated it, then I realized how much I made while still hating it, then I realized what my savings could do for me.

As an engineer you have a lot of earning power. Assuming that you learned on the trail how little you need, you should keep that in mind and see how high of a savings rate you can have. 50%? 75%? Higher!?!? Depending on your savings rate, you could possibly only have to work like 5 years in order to save enough to live off of your investments, assuming you maintain low expenses for a low withdrawal rate. You don't have to do it all at once, you can spice up your life with a couple thru-hikes throughout your acquisition phase. Won't get there as fast but you'll probably enjoy life more in getting there. (check out earlyretirementextreme.com and mrmoneymustache.com) Also I've been enjoying city food and weekend and evening hikes.

I will be quitting my engineering job early next year with enough money to thru hike for a quite some time :)

JB, just found an opening for ya, what do you think about moving to OH? :D

11-19-2014, 22:31
oh, and section hiking sounds like a great alternative to getting your fix again. good luck :)

it's all hiking.

11-20-2014, 00:37
One thing that really helped me was moving back to my hometown, which happens to be trail-adjacent Roanoke, Va. Whenever I start missing the trail and trail life, I can make the short drive to the AT for a quick overnight. In fact, I've really come to enjoy the overnights as they get me back in the woods and I often have a chance to interact with people on the trail, yet I can carry a lot of the comforts and food I would never consider taking on a long-distance trip. I also occasionally get to do things with the local AT clubs. So, if you don't have anything keeping you in a particular place, you might consider moving close to the trail.

11-20-2014, 02:32
I got one of those electrical- engine degrees my self.

I did the office type work.....did not like it.....

went and got my master elec. lic. ...... built schools, buisness locations and houses...
good stuff...I got to have a change in the view every few weeks/months...
I did side jobs of wiring barns and small garages...Great cash!!!!

Then 9-11 happened and insurance killed that. It is much better now....

The point is....find something that is just a few deg. shift from you talents/education and see if it works...
The "blue collar" job of construction can be very out doors and very $$$$.

Look around and good luck to you......remember......"do what you enjoy and love and you will never "work" a day in your life"...:D:banana:D:banana:D:banana:D:banana:-?:-?

11-20-2014, 08:51
I ran into a friend who did a thru hike, he was not ready to go back to work in the real world and spent quite a bit of time working enough to save up for PCT hike the next year. I haven't seen him since and ran into at a event. I asked him how the PCT hike went and he told me " I screwed up and found a job that I liked and have been doing it for several years".

At some point you need to figure out, is this time for a "reset" on your career?. Some folks get on the college track and are focused on the degree and at some point figure out that somewhere along the way they lost interest in what they were studying to become.

here generally is a big demand for electrical folks especially power type folks and finding work on a construction project shouldn't be that hard. Its generally 10 to 12 hour days 6 or 7 days a week, but you make a lot of money and can then take a big chunk of time off. Do it for a couple for years and then if you realize that you would rather be on the design end, you can always head that way.

11-20-2014, 09:37
I experienced "culture shock" one time, I thought. Every time, however, I start to return to civilization I begin my adjustment: I start to think of obligations and schedules. I have no obligation and schedule out there. Okay, one time I rented two horses, a riding horse and a pack horse. It was a memorable experience going alone in the Bob Marshall Wilderness before the tourist season. I did have to think about getting the horses back to their owner at the trailhead. It isn't leaving obligations and schedules that motivates me to get outdoors, however. I find places and seasons almost no one is seen. One other person is too many. But we don't have people out hiking like you do. There is no trail magic. There is no commaderie. I reside reasonably near a national park, or, a wilderness, every residence location, where 10 minutes away from the car park there is practically no one seen. If the trails are eroded and there are other indications of overuse, or, park personnel imposing their idea of camping with wood tent platforms and other nonsense, I avoid those places. I walk on trails that have all the appearance of an animal trail. I think animal trails are the original trails. Is that so? Well, I experience the outdoors in a special way I think you all share. I experience the day, the night, the weather. The "views" are the natural world, not the man-made world. If I can't get that hiking, I get that kayaking. I experience the world as if I am seeing the world for the first time, that God made it and I get to see and experience it. I am grateful there are places like that. If all I have is a little river, stream or waterfall, I "get" that experience all over again. I think that is why people make the appearance of a natural environment in the best "english gardens". In civilization, I spend my own time looking up places and gear for my website, I tell myself, or, checking out the forums I like best, Blogs, or YouTube. I am not a social activist, advocating the experience. I want others to not get hurt or injured. I want them to be comfortable in the natural environment, with suitable clothing and gear. But I "do" my website as a way to spend time thinking about and remembering that wilderness experience. Buying gear? I try not to overdo buying gear for more outdoor experiences. Maybe cross-country skiing, even if it is a groomed trail, the snow makes everything new and pristine? I think if I did a long trail, I might be overwhelmed by the return, overwhelmed as much as that one time I had "culture shock" I love the wilderness experience so. Now, I "only" do 4-5 nights. Maybe an 18-day trip once in a while, now and then? The big vacation, not so much now. I like reading what others are doing about "it".

11-20-2014, 10:42
Disclaimer: I have not thru-hiked the AT yet. 2016 is my plan.

I have thought about the "post-trail blues" conundrum quite a bit. For some people, maybe many, a thru-hike is an EPIC adventure. I think that desire for adventure is innate in humans, but we've suppressed it with our "culture" and consumerism. A common theme among thru-hikers appears to be the shedding of materialistic values and reawakening of our sense of adventure on a grand scale. Naturally, when an adventure completes we want to find another. For some, the idea of returning to a job that doesn't take you anywhere (literally and metaphorically) has no appeal. I imagine the disdain of returning to a "boring" life is stronger for some than others. I suspect this disdain goes hand in hand much of the time with how satisfied a person was with their life prior to the hike.

Then there is the reality of needing to be able to support yourself. For many of us there is a family, or spouse (in my case), or significant other to return to so the idea of discarding responsibility for a life of adventure isn't a possibility. The things other posters mention that help them retain that feeling of adventure while living a regular life likely represent some level of happy medium. Despite your lack of desire to continue work in your field, the money said job produces and what it would enable you to do, above and beyond a crap job, may be worth the unhappiness. You may find the extra money is worth tolerating the job because it allowed you to do x, y, z. There are probably other jobs out there that will make you happier and still allow you to do some, or maybe all, or x, y, z but perhaps they are hard to find. That requires some self-examination to determine what you really want and maybe even a leap of faith and some hard work to get there.

There is no "answer." I've figured that much out.

11-20-2014, 12:00
Two months later, and I'm not blue, but I am bored. A job hasn't come as quickly as I had hoped, and I really feel like I'm in a purgatory of sorts right now. I hate to wish days away, but I'm ready for something.

I found the last month of the trail was incredibly hard. I mean, the other 4 had their own difficulties -cold, hot, rain, bugs, rain and bugs, etc - but by the time I got to NH, I was physically exhausted. Between that, the terrain and really starting to feel homesick, I was ready for the Big K.

Despite all the hardships, I want to be back. While on the trail, I said I'd never do the AT again (I've had that adventure and there are other trails in the world), but I understand how people get pulled back. Imagine I'll be in north Georgia some weekend next spring, wishing I was starting another thru. The PCT isn't quite on my radar yet, but I've resigned myself to the fact that it'll probably happen.

11-21-2014, 11:43
Like wdanner, my thru-hike lies ahead of me...2015.

I live in the country, in southern Ohio. We have always lived surrounded by woods. When we went out to play, we played in the woods, most day, all day. When I was a kid, and mom took us on "vacation", we went tent camping. Of course, back then, there was no cell phones, no internet, no video games, no distractions. When I became a teenager, I ran with a crowd who loved camping. After school let out on Friday, we went to the woods and camped for the weekend, most every weekend during decent weather.

After high school, I continued to enjoy the outdoors in wonderful new ways. My job as a firefighter was always a means to finance my outdoor life, my next adventure. I took up whitewater kayaking, which took me to remote and beautiful places all the time. For several decades, I and my friends made the drive every weekend to the Appalachian Mountains in search of bigger and better rapids. Then there was mountain biking, then snowboarding (which I love!), and ATVing. All done with a great appreciation for nature and it's fragility.

I am not hiking the AT to gain a better understanding of my place on Earth---in the circle of life. I already know. It's not a spiritual journey, or a quest to "find myself", or a mid-life crisis, for that matter. My life is already golden. I'm shooting for platinum. My hope is to gain a better appreciation for the life (and love) I am leaving behind during my hike, not a disdain for it. When I'm done, I'll plan my next adventure, just like always---only bigger! <Your experience may vary>

As for work... I am retiring in January. My hike will be the cherry on top. I won't have to worry about money, or work, or saving people (hopefully), or schedules. I'm currently down to less than ten working day left, and I cannot convey my unbridled delight! Don't get the idea that I did not enjoy my job. Stressful, terrifying, demanding, yes. But very satisfying at the end of the day.

That being said---I want to share something with you. You have been deceived. The bunk they fed you in your youth about "following your dreams no matter what" is a road to disaster. If everyone did that, the world would be in chaos. The world we live in only functions because a lot of people are willing to dedicate themselves to jobs they hate. Do you think the garbage man loves picking up my trash on Thursday? Don't you think he would rather be "following his dreams"? In a world where---for most of us---dreams cost money, most of us need to work...to live. Not the other way round. Very few people have the fortune to be doing what they love for pay. If you mope around, looking for that "dream job", you'll miss out on what your goals really are.

So, my advice? Get a job that pays well enough and gives you some time to pursue your dreams. At first, any job will do. Your "heart" doesn't have to be in it. That's the myth they fed you. While doing that job, keep your eyes open for better pay and better benefits. Move up and out as opportunities arise. You just gotta get doing, or you'll never make it to another trail! You need money!

Like Geddy Lee of Rush sang, "If you chose not do decide, you still have made a choice."

Good luck!


11-21-2014, 12:45
After I graduated college I attempted a AT SOBO before entering the working world. Ended up hiking 1300 miles after 100 days on the trail. Came home to my parents house. They gave me 2 weeks then told me to get a job. Worked a minimum wage job for 3 months til I found a job in my field. I was fortunate to find work that I enjoyed and worked outdoors most of my career. The day I started the job I knew I could retire in 33 years and do another AT hike. I retired at 55 and did a thru the next year. During that 33 year period between hikes, I spent my vacations hiking, biking, skiing, and doing volunteer trail work. My advice is to find an occupation you enjoy and have mini adventures until you are able to do another big adventure.

In the words of Joe Strummer of the Clash:
The men in the factory are old and cunningYou don't owe nothing, so boy get running!It's the best years of your life they want to steal!You grow up and you calm down and you're working for the clampdown.You start wearing the blue and brown and you're working for the clampdown.So you got someone to boss around. It makes you feel big now...

11-21-2014, 13:57
Spent my 20s and early 30s working to hike. By 35, wanted to do something different and a little more stable.

My goal is to find the happy medium (self-selected time off for weeks at a time vs months) while still planning for retirement, having a community and having a happy marriage. Though technology is not my passion, it is a career that I find enjoyable in aspects and that allows me to achieve these goals.

11-21-2014, 14:45
How can I make adventuring my life as opposed to a one and done?

Make, and keep making, paradigm shifts. Change up you methodology, common practices, the way you think, implement, plan, structure....How? - question everything(including your most deeply held perspectives), keep expanding your comfort zone, keep changing some of your routine, joyously embrace the unknown/uncertaintity(it's in this realm an infinity of possibilities exist beyond the narrow limitations of your current pardigm take what's working change the rest in a focused direction, apply yourself differently, change your discipline, change your community. All this is not so unknown to you. You know these things deep inside somewhere if you just thru-hiked the AT. Isn't that what you did? Could it be, that now you don't want to regress back to that old pre-AT thru-hike paradigm, that culture, and those practices? Could it be that some aspects of that pre-hike paradigm don't appeal to you as much they once did? That you have tasted the sweet nectar of self actualization? Could it be that this happens when we step outside of our lives, that we now feel we are the fish outside of the fish bowl looking in considering after having glimpsed it, that there is a a vast infinite ocean in which to swim instead, and that fish bowl life isn't as appealing as it once was? Could it be that you have peered through the keyhole peeked through the crack in the slightly opened door saw the light and now don't want to shut the door walk away from the portal?

11-21-2014, 14:49
In a lot of ways I agree with everybody else will you just shut up and get back to work and quit your whining but I can't because I know exactly how you're feeling. Once you got the taste of freedom how could you possibly go back to an institutional life. It isn't about the fact that you have to get up at the same time go to work at the same time eat your lunch at the same time it's really about the people you have to cohabitate with. You spent the summer hiking with some of the coolest people on Earth but now you have to live with office workers again. Rumors and backstabbing and people criticizing other people's work habits. A boss that is never happy with the amount of work you do and always makes you feel like you're letting the company down. There is a way that you can go on a adventure and get paid for it. It's nothing I would do for very long but has no living expenses and all the money you earn goes right in the bank. If you become a truck driver you can see the country and visit the people you hiked with or other friends and family. There are trucking companies out there that will pay you to get your CDL. They will put you in a hotel and give you enough money for food while you're getting your license. All it takes is a phone call and a clean driving record. You can quit anytime you like and go back to work anytime you like they have one of the biggest revolving doors of any company. There'll always be a truck for you to drive. The thing I like the most is when I'm done hiking I call them up and they send me a bus ticket from wherever I stop hiking. Do not think of this as a long term job just a little adventure to see the USA. It will also give you some time to think about the future and how you should live it. Truckers and hikers are a lot alike we stop every night at a truck stop and talk about the things we have in common just like hikers. We talk about miles we've driven and mountains we've gone over and about snow we drove in. I also like to listen to music as loud as I want and what type of music I want to hear not what everybody wants or worse like FM music. I mean really who listens to FM anymore. Well being a truck driver I could go on and on but I won't if you want to know more go ahead and PM me.

11-21-2014, 14:56
Isn't that what you did - make a paradigm shift? It's not "NORMAL", not routine, not customary to live in the woods for 5-6 months constantly traveling miles each day on foot constantly changing your views your perspectives your methodology largely having only what is on your immediate person to survive. Could that be at the core of what adventure is?

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
― Christopher McCandless (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4973521.Christopher_McCandless)

11-21-2014, 15:02
I find it truly sad that so many settle for a job when they should be designing their life. A job, a career, work is only part of life. Consider LIFE in a larger context than just a job or money.

11-21-2014, 15:09
Fantasy Land is fun to visit, but you can't live there. :)

The Solemates
11-21-2014, 15:12
Fantasy Land is fun to visit, but you can't live there. :)

you can. you just have to be real selfish. :)

11-21-2014, 15:18
Living in fantasy land is also when we settle for someone else's fantasy of what life should be.

11-21-2014, 15:35
Like wdanner, my thru-hike lies ahead of me...2015.

Like Geddy Lee of Rush sang, "If you chose not do decide, you still have made a choice."

Good luck!


I'm both a fellow 2015'er and Rush fan!

Geddy also sang, "Some are born to move the world, to live their fantasies. But most of us just dream about the things we'd like to be. Sadder, still to watch it die than never to have known it. For he who were blind who once could see, the bell tolls for the..."

Reading your post here reminded me of that lyric - which is why I posted it!

Hope to see ya next year.


11-21-2014, 16:31
Good point, Kelly. Thank you.

11-21-2014, 16:55
Let's not ignore that adventure does not have to be utterly separate from work. Nor is adventure only experienced through epic long duration far away places. You do not need to be rafting down the Colorado, at Everest Base Camp bidding for the summit, or trekking the Amazon to experience it. You do not need to have a career in the outdoors either.

Here are some ways that I combine adventure and work or perceive work as adventurous. Meeting new clients(meeting different people, VASTLY different than me, challenging my perspectives, always has an element of adventure to it in my mind), being on different work project locations, dealing with different plant palettes(tropical, west coast/east coast, desert, xeriscape, temperate, etc), working with different hardscape materials, different client budgets, having different project objectives, being an owner of companies yet also being an employee of other companies(freelancing at various times), working 70+ hrs/wk some months and then being off from work for some months(if I so choose), working in a tropical/semi tropical island atmosphere, making the connections and money(having the opps) that lead to different adventures(work is a stepping stone that leads to other opps - NEVER FORGET THAT, YOU get to decide, if you want, what those opps are).

While you have the rather free from work open calendar consider spending this Thanksgiving volunteering feeding the homeless. It's an adventure but is so much more. It may make you feel better about some things and open up the door to new directions through greater appreciation of the resources you do have. Not everyone has friends that will let you crash in their place for as long as you have.

If still not working during the Christmas season visit some people in the hospital. Hold the hands of some cancer or AIDS patients. Sing them some carols. Show them someone cares, they are loved, that they are not alone. Dress up as Santa. Say ho ho ho. Go visit the kids in the hospital. How can you not experience an element of adventure when you do that? SMILE. Roar with laughter. Change the way you feel. Change your state! Design(shape) your life.

Here's another thing to consider. Don't hide your light under a basket. Share communicate with others not so fortunate to have done a thru-hike, what you have learned through your backpacking experiences. Connect your backpacking experiences somehow to asisting others. Besides letting myself be distracted for awhile, what the heck do you think I'm on this site so often? Volunteer to do a backpacking talk to a group like the Boy Scouts or at an outfitter class. Inspire others. Do some trail maintenance. The world needs people like this. Changing for the better someone else's life means you'll be changing yourself for the better. :)

Adventure doesn't always have to come again in the exact same way. Not immediately being on another thru-hike doesn't mean you can't incorporate/experience adventure into your life RIGHT NOW. Doing so when it has so much potential to positively impact others makes it that much more satisfying. Backpacking does not have to be a selfish activity nor is spending some time designing your life!

11-21-2014, 19:02
Ignore the philosophical mumbo and just be yourself. If you are honest and honorable and true, good things will come to you.

11-24-2014, 15:10
Finished 10/10/14. I've managed to remain minimalist and frugal. It took about a month of reacclimation, then I was inspired to do something. With 12 years of IT firmly behind me, I was certainly not interested in that. I sat down with a pen and paper to identify what my strengths and weaknesses were in terms of a future. My Bachelor's degree in management (very broad) was left unfinished in 2009, so I decided to reapply for school, and should be done by Summer 2016. Now I have something stimulating to look forward to, and I can even treat myself to a nice section hike this coming year.

Point being: don't fret, be patient, and maybe do a little self-analysis on paper for your future.

11-24-2014, 15:19
The longest I've ever been on a trail continuously was this summer on the Colorado Trail - slightly over four weeks and "re-entry" was difficult after that hike, so I can only imagine what it must be like after five months, and I guess I'll be finding out next year after the PCT. Life on the trail has the potential to be very simple. There are easily identifiable goals and milestones that we see progress against every single day. Obviously the setting is, or should, be a huge part of the reward. And generally, people are better on the trail and in trail towns than in "real life", at least for those of us who live in larger metropolitan areas. I suspect that a big part of re-entry difficulties depends on how satisfactory life was before the trail. If it wasn't satisfactory before, it sure as hell won't be after. The better question is whether what seemed satisfactory before will no longer be satisfactory after the trail. That's a bigger wildcard that some people may not expect. The day-to-day routine in the "real world" which seemed just fine before may no longer be remotely acceptable. I guess everyone is taking the risk of such a discovery when deciding to do a long thru hike.