"Let the wild rumpus start!"

After a whirlwind of the past few weeks, I am finally mere days from embarking on the journey of a lifetime. I left my job and my life in Charlottesville (after many bittersweet goodbyes) and returned home for a quick visit home in Connecticut. After a fantastic farewell dinner with family, my dad and I flew down to Charlotte to meet up with my Aunt Cathy and "Trail Yoda" Uncle Rich who has been invaluable in helping me prepare for the next few months.

My pack (yet to be named) will start out at just under 30 lbs without food and water. It's honestly a little heavier than I'd like, but I'm struggling to find anything else that I'm willing to give up. We'll see if that changes a few miles in though!

To be honest, the fact that I start the AT on Tuesday hasn't fully hit me. I feel the (what I hope to be) normal nerves that come with any new beginning. Yet, I also feel this incredible level of confidence and calm--that over a year of planning is coming to fruition. It's a complex mix of emotions, but I look forward to unpacking these and many other emotions on the trail.

Before I begin, I've had a few friends and family members ask me for places to send mail; once I have a sense of my pace, I promise to update the blog with post offices. I look forward to getting (and sending) mail over the next few months. I'll definitely need some words of encouragement to get through these tough days!

I've also had a few people ask for an idea of how much to donate. The average cost of one session of therapy in Charlottesville is $100. Of course, that's a large sum of money so I'd be excited if people are willing to contribute toward half or a quarter of a session. If you're interested in supporting my trip, please see the Next Steps page.

Thank you for sharing in my journey and I look forward to seeing you on the other side of the trail.