A lot has changed over the past two years…

In 2017, I accomplished one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I met and formed bonds with strangers who have become lifelong friends. I fell in love. I changed mentally and physically. I traveled. I experienced heartache. I vowed to focus on personal growth and vulnerability. I changed. Habits changed. Friends changed. Seasons changed. It’s weird walking through this new season of life, working towards new goals that were sparked by previous challenges, and feel normal. I realized ‘normal’ is not really in my wheelhouse. 

Today marks two years from my summit of Mt. Katahdin. Where did these past two years go?

This year I’ve truly felt the effects of the trail. More so than I did on this day in 2017, when I climbed to my final summit after spending 6 months chasing that moment. I felt the trail depression this year. I felt the longing for the woods. The simplicity of it all. I cling to the memories of 2017. The stories, the smells, the sights, the emotions. They’re still too real. I still get chills when I think about it. I talk about it daily. I see my trail family a couple times a year and talk to them monthly. We all made a pact to keep in touch (we’re running 2 years strong now on our annual trail reunion!). It’s important to all of us. We show up for each other. This year has been its own challenge in many ways and I’ve leaned on my trail experience to guide me through. Cliche? Maybe. But I’ve done more reflecting this year. I’ve been able to truly see the growth within myself since 2017. It’s exciting.

Things are real out there in the woods. You can’t run and hide. You have to face whatever obstacles are in front of you. Be it physical or mental. Vertical climbs are challenging and a physical test to your endurance and strength. Mental challenges of missing family, friends, loved ones and the comforts of home are a daily struggle. You have to embrace the uncomfortable.

I have so many things I want to share. So many stories, vulnerable moments over these past 2 years. So many things I’ve learned about myself and about my own happiness. Things I’ve learned how to let go of and things I know I need to change, improve, or even hold on to. Communication is a big piece of this and I’ve learned to focus on how I communicate best. What I hold in won’t do anybody any good. We need to talk to each other. We need to be stripped of our devices and just talk. Who cares if it’s to a stranger at the grocery store. Or to an old friend who accidentally FaceTimes you one night and you end up talking for 45 minutes. The thing is…we’re human. We need human connection. We need to use our brains and communicate with each other. We need to feel uncomfortable sometimes in order to break down barriers within ourselves.

A saying I often reference is: “trust your journey.” To me, this includes trusting yourself and your happiness. If it’s not working for you, change it. Change your environment, change your communication, change your approach. Get out there and be brave. Try something new, talk to a stranger, let down your walls and connect again. Trust the path you’re on.

Let’s all slow down a bit. And maybe even take a walk in the woods once in awhile.

Much love,

-Ten