Is it totally lame that I’ve got tears in my eyes after seeing the Amtrak ticket confirmation?
SALES RECEIPT. Thank you for your purchase.
I’ve seen it dozens of times before. All around the world! Trips with friends, trips to go see friends, trips planned for me, trips for school, and so on. But this one feels so different.
Here, let me show you what the email looks like in my eyes:
Ok, you might be thinking, “But Therese, the trail doesn’t start in RVA” – and you’d say RVA because you’re totally hip to the knowledge of US cities and their cool abbreviations – which is totally right! See, I have these really cool cousins who are helping me out a TON by supporting the voyage, one of which is coming with me, so I need to make a quick pit stop there. This, nevertheless, is the beginning of my dream journey.
Do you ever forget that? Forget that you have dreams, things you’d like to achieve? I do. Every day since I’ve left my home at college I’ve forgotten that there are things I would like to accomplish for myself.
Honestly, this one is pretty shocking given my track record. My parents would tell you that I should absolutely not be setting out into the wild for months. When I was a little girl, I had a crippling fear of bugs (we’re talking I didn’t wear clothing with flowers on it in the summer because I was convinced the bees would find me). Also the dark. I never wanted to do the overnight at my summer camp because one year, the councilors snuck up on us from the depths of the woods while we told scary stories across our flower-power sleeping bags. Another year we accidentally burned laurel wood at the camp fire and everyone had scruffy voices the next morning. The chicken patties tasted pretty good, though.
I don’t remember ever being an individual when I was young. I just remember doing what I was told, or what someone suggested. My parents and other figures had thoughts about what was best for me and I respected that. Then suddenly my entire life became constructed by others; going to camp, going to college – it’s all the same when I look back on it. Someone had some great advice for me, some great reason for why I should do something.
Today I bought a ticket to an adventure that I decided for myself.
No one is going to take care of me out there. How
Maybe it’s unfair to lump all my experiences together, to say that I’ve never been in charge of my life. But I am tearing up right now because I feel in complete control of not only my choices but my actions and the reactions to my actions. Like, dude, I’m talking everything in my life is mine from here on out. This is my time. Perhaps I’ve been floundering because no one is taking the care to suggest my next move for me anymore. For the first time, I breathe and move freely. The reins have been put in my hands and the horses are still running. It’s about high time I start to steer this baby. And we’re taking a ride into the sunset down the Appalachian Trail.
Because fuck it, we’ll do it live.