What Comes Next? (worth reading to the end)

A question thru-hikers started asking each other a month away from the summit of Mt Katahdin. It’s also a question that everyone back home asks when you finally finish your “vacation in the woods”. It’s a question that 99% of northbound thru-hikers standing on Springer Mountain expected to have a concrete answer for by the time they get to the finished 2,200 mile later. Funny enough, most of us had no idea what we were supposed to do when we finished.

Posing for a nice shot on top of the balds after Roan Mtn.
Posing for a nice shot on top of the balds after Roan Mtn.

Some lined up their previous jobs to return to. Some were already retired and a round of golf or a winter in the Keys was next on the list. Many of us though had no idea what we really planned on doing when the pages of the guidebook ran out and we couldn’t base the next day on distances between shelters and locations of water sources. Self doubt started creeping in when we could only provide a wishy-washy answer to the big question.  Well, we sat in good company because many of our peers still had no idea what they planned on doing with their lives and we just wanted a good burger, beer and a chance to rest our feet.

Hunter walking through the "Green Tunnel"
Hunter walking through the “Green Tunnel”

With that being said, living in your parents basement being married and 27 years old isn’t really a long term solution either.

White blaze is a happy blaze. He makes walking in the rain better.
White blaze is a happy blaze. He makes walking in the rain better.

We’re living in Maine for the winter, yes, in my parents house. We prefer to call them roommates though, it helps save face. In April of 2015 we are leaving for another international adventure, starting in India for a very close friend’s wedding and then start working our way west. Right now our itinerary is just pins in a wall but the thumbtacks are sitting in India, Nepal, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Holland and France. (Traveling is a lot easier when you have international friends to stay with!)

Staying overnight in the Grayson Highlands… what a view.

What are we doing in the meantime time? Well, Lindsay is being a sugar momma and I am officially pursuing the next item on my bucket list; writing and publishing a book. It’s going to be my Afghanistan experience coupled with a quick transition process into the civilian world. A transition that was aided, hindered and eventually completed by our experiences in New Zealand and most significantly the Appalachian Trail. It’s a story about the horrors and chaos of war, the life changing effects of those experiences and learning to be a new person. It will hopefully shed a new light on veterans issues and be a honest take on what my generation of veterans are facing back at home.

Sunset from the cabin on the northern section of the Vermont Appalachian Trail
The sun metaphorically sets on our hike… what comes tomorrow we’ll have to wait to find out.

What comes after that? If I can write a book as well as I can get you to read to the bottom of this post then who only knows. That’s the beauty of being young, foolish and our only child has four legs and fur!

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