Why I’m Hiking the PCT – Listening To That Little Voice In My Head
Why hike the PCT? Taking 6 months to walk for hours per day with a heavy pack, sleep on the ground, go to the bathroom outside, eat dehydrated meals, and not shower for days seems absolutely nuts to many people. Why would anyone choose this?
Hiking the PCT is deeply personal. Here’s my why. Buckle up. It’s about to get deep.
Finding my Why
As I rapidly approach 40, I have realized that everything I have done in my life is because someone else suggested it. Here are some examples:
- Going to college
- Double majoring
- Getting a PhD
- Going into sales
To be perfectly clear, I’m not saying that I have a bad life or that any of these things are not great, awesome, beautiful accomplishments. I’m proud of these things and I should be. My complaint is that I never thought to myself, “Wow, I really want to [insert thing].” I just did them because they sounded pretty good and I didn’t know what I wanted.
This lack of knowing what I want really bugs me! How can you live a life doing all the things you want if don’t know what you want?
On a Mission to Figure Out WHo the Heck I am
So I’m on a mission to figure out what I want.
Discovering Myself Through Self-Reflection
To help me learn what I want, I started journaling on self-reflection questions. I pick one question per week and journal on it for 5-10 minutes per day. I review my journal entries weekly and look for topics that come up a lot.
Additionally, I learned that those little niggles you get are huge signs! Think about when you see something and think, “that’s cool.” Those are things you want and should pay attention to! That is your true self telling you something. Listen to it! Whenever this happens to me, I write it down on my “life list”. Spoiler alert, hiking the PCT is on that list.
Everything was going great. I was treating my self-observations like a giant experiment and learning a lot. Then over the summer, I found a question that totally messed me up.
A Self-Reflection Question that Messed me Up
What would be the coolest thing to happen to you this year?
When I found this question my mind was completely blank.
I couldn’t believe I couldn’t think of a single thing. I thought, “You are a 40 year old woman without a life.” So of course, I thought about it and the best thing I could think of was getting laid off with severance.
My significant other will quickly tell you that this was his idea. But it is totally ok to steal other people’s ideas and make them your own. Fast forward a few months and I found myself in this exact situation.
Laid off in Nov 2022
Suddenly I didn’t have this excuse of my job preventing me from doing what I want. An amazing opportunity has presented itself to me!
After getting laid off and thinking about what I should do next, I pulled out my journaling questions and life list and looked to them for guidance.
This is my chance to listen to those little voices and do what they are telling me. It’s time I pursue all the things that my brain thinks are really awesome.
Listening to those little voices
Why I’m Hiking the PCT
When I start listening to myself and pay attention to the things I think are really cool, going on a big monster hike is at the top of the list. Thoughts I’ve heard in my head that really support me hiking the PCT:
“If I could say I walked all the way from Mexico to Canada that would be so cool.”
“If I didn’t take this opportunity, I think I would really regret it.”
“Who goes and does things like this? Me! I do!”
So here we are and I am doing this crazy thing called hiking the PCT because this is something that I truly want. My start date is April 12th, 2023 and I am super excited.
Knowing yourself, following your passions, and all that is a process. You don’t suddenly know it, you slowly figure it out. And you figure it out by listening to what those little voices are telling you.