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Begins: Dec 6, 2012
Date: Sun, Nov 27th, 2011
Start: The Villages, FL
End: The Villages, FL
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The Plan that isn't a Plan but is a Plan
Well, as I sit here visiting my parents in what is the largest retirement community in the world; I contemplate another (very) extended "absence" and what to write. Instead of something profound I think I will start with some facts as that is what I'm good at. If you read along you won't get any ramblings on life, ways to solve the world’s problems or beautiful poetry that will make you cry with joy. You'll get me. Good or bad I'll tell you what it's like to hike, bike or paddle thousands of miles. I'll be brutally honest as always. Sometimes it's awesome, sometimes it's boring, sometimes it's confusing and sometimes it's disgusting. The only thing I know for sure is you will get a lot of spelling errors and misplaced commas.
I'll start with me.
I'm 36 years old. I grew up in Rochester, NY, went to college at University of Maryland and graduated with an Accounting degree. I lived for 3 years in the Washington DC area (1997-2000) after college, moved out to San Diego and have lived there since (with the exception of 2006/2007 when I lived in Chapel Hill, NC). I am a CPA and have worked for one of the big accounting firms since college.
I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2002, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2004 and the Continental Divide Trail in 2005. In 2009 I hiked another 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail, 2,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and the 800 mile Arizona trail. I then spent 4 months hiking in Australia and 2 months driving around New Zealand and finished it all off with a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. This 2009 trip spanned 18 months. Throughout all of these hikes I essentially kept my same job and always returned to San Diego. I think I’ve hiked like 13,000+ miles. I didn’t keep a journal for the 2002 or 2004 hikes, my 2005 CDT hike journal is on “trailjournals.com” and the rest of my hikes are on this site (see links below). If you are interested in a summary of the 18 months of hiking see this entry…
Since I promised no profound words of wisdom I can’t explain why I do what I do or live the way I live. Everything I own fits into a 5x5 storage unit. I’m perfectly happy hiking thousands of miles but I’m also perfectly happy living in San Diego.I think this quote does a pretty good job of explaining why I hike. It's from Johnathon Ley's CDT journal and is a quote of what someone told him the first day he started hiking the PCT.
“The first day I started hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 1999, someone told me that the trail had ruined them. At the time, I thought it was a cute thing to say. It didn't occur to me as a warning, I didn't realize that I was walking the same path. I've often told people that the hardest part of hiking any long trail was taking that first step. I later found out, that the hardest part was actually taking the last step”
Now the Plan. The Plan is that there is no Plan but there is a Plan. I guess there is a Tentative Plan. After a record setting number of leave of absences and going away parties at Ernst & Young I’ve finally had to quit for good. It’s sad to leave but not sad enough not to leave. I gave up my apartment, put everything into storage, sold my car and gathered all my hiking gear. Since I don’t have a job to come back to this time my trip is open ended. However, the longer I am out of the workforce the less valuable my mad accounting skills become. So it’s a balance between how long can I travel but still find rewarding employment. Your guess is as good as mine.
So back to the Plan. The only Definitive thing I know I am doing is hiking the Te Araroa Trail with Annie. I’ll have another entry on how this all came about but in a week I’ll be leaving for New Zealand to hike a 3,000 KM trail that traverses the entirety of both islands in New Zealand. This should take about 4.5 months as a best guess. Then I will hop over to Australia to cycle 2,000 miles through the Outback from Adelaide to Darwin. This should take about a month. I’ll fly back to the US in late May and spend the next month with family.
This is as far as the Definitive Plan goes. After that it becomes the Tentative Plan. I think I’m going to keep that a surprise so I can just do what I want when I want and not feel like I’ve committed to something. I’ve got a very long list of awesome things to do so there will be no shortage of options. Everything involves hiking, biking or paddling. I don’t like to do anything that I don’t power.
Te Araroa Trail (3,000 Crazy Kilometers Through New Zealand)
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