My name is Alexis and I have wanderlust. The first step is admitting, right? Step two might be viewing it as an actual problem… (See google.com definition of wanderlust below.)
A strong desire to travel: “a man consumed by wanderlust”.
Those close to me know very well that I not only have wanderlust, I act on it, and often. Borderline overdose sometimes. From finishing high school in Spain, attending college in Montana on a whim turned love affair with the Big Sky state, a semester spent circumnavigating the globe with Semester at Sea, to the latest chapter in the land of enchantment, New Mexico. One would think all these experiences piled on top of a quiet (but valuable) Midwestern upbringing would be enough variety to last a lifetime. That is, if you aren’t a victim of wanderlust.
With 2013 came the notion that my chapter in New Mexico was coming to a close. As cliché as it may sound, my heart had made up its mind well before my head had. 2012 was a whirlwind – a little hurly headed monster named Lewis came into my life, as well as his brother Jack, and his sister Zoe. As Lewis joined me in New Mexico and left his litter mates back in the care of my loved ones, the frequency of road trips and homesickness spiked. Most would think homesickness doesn’t even appear in the vocabulary of someone with wanderlust, but they couldn’t be more wrong. That constant pull between two places, sometimes more, is the true definition of having wanderlust. This was a new homesickness though, not the type I had as a kid away at camp down the road in Iowa. Literally down the road, although it felt like the other side of the world at that age. Now, as an adult far from home, with many nights slept on the other side of the world under my belt, I still long for home at every holiday and milestone reached. I happily drive the countless miles almost with instinct, just to simply be in the same place, however brief, with those who have loved me since the day I came into this world. This, I, or perhaps my heart, realized is something that will never change about me. So as I approached my nearly two year anniversary here in New Mexico, I thought about what more time here would give me, and it didn’t outweigh being closer to family and old friends for the first time in years. But, like a wise woman told me, a chapter can be bookmarked and returned to, the story is far from over.
So, many are probably wondering where plans went awry? The Appalachian Trail is very much not close to home. Again, blame the wanderlust, or you can blame the other half of the brains behind this adventure, Brent, and his case for doing the hike is stated below:
Let’s just clear this up right away – I can’t write like Alexis. So if you’re looking for descriptive or illustrative writing, you better just read her segments. She definitely has the ability to write very well. But what I’ll try to bring to the table is some odd fun facts, entertainment (not saying Alexis’ parts aren’t entertaining – I’m already in trouble I bet), and also plenty of sarcasm along the way.
“You guys are doing what?!?!” Or simply put by people, “You guys are fricken crazy.” Tell us something we didn’t know – we’ve accepted that. Those are the typical responses I/we hear from people when we tell them what Lewis, Jack, Alexis, and myself are doing. Indeed, they have every reason to think that because odds are against us – 1 in 4 who set out for the thru-hike actually complete it, we’re bringing 2 dogs, we both LOVE hiking but neither of us has set out for a hike for more than a week long, and we haven’t been around each other 24/7 like we’re going to be for 2200 miles. Even though the odds may be against us and there are many doubters out there, that’s fine, I understand, it doesn’t make me mad – in fact, I LIKE that.
I’m a Minnesota boy and I love that. However, I love seeing new places. As many of you know or have gathered, Alexis has been to many different places, and I have been fortunate to visit her at some of these beautiful locations. When people ask, “How did you think of doing something like this?” My response is, “This is something I’ve always dreamed of doing and I’ve been standing at the edge of the cliff and Alexis pushed me off while she jumped with Lewis and Jack.” (I’m hoping she physically doesn’t actually try to push me off a cliff during this hike ha).
Sure we’re both going to miss our families and friends during this time we’re hiking – I have 2 new nephews that are going to be hard to leave. But years from now, I’m hoping this is something I’ll be able to share with them. It’s always easy to say you want to do something, but until you actually do it, it’s just an idea. Alexis, the pups, and I are all going to learn so much along the way and I cannot wait to do this with all three of them. We hope to share it the best we can with you all. The thing I keep telling myself is, “If not now, when?” Saddle up boys and girls; we’re going for a ride…
There you have it, almost everything you need to know about how the both of us arrived at this grand goal of Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail. Timing, luck, quarter-life crisis, call it what you want, but I’m convinced that the two of us were meant to embark on this adventure right now, whatever the true reason may be. The history of Brent & I begins at Windom Area Middle School circa 2002, skips to May 2012 when Brent & I welcomed brothers Jack & Lewis into our households respectively, to the present when we had this crazy idea to do something challenging, life changing, and for the first time, together. Everything in our history is both equal parts important and unimportant up until this point. The moral of the story (thus far) is that we have somehow magically remained apart of each others lives after all this time, all these places, and all the insanity that collects as we’ve move through life separately. The true test of our relationship will undoubtedly reveal itself somewhere along the nearly 2200 miles we’ll attempt to hike with our one year old Goldendoodle brothers, Lewis and Jack. (Words cannot explain how much I wish that Jack’s name was Clark, but I love him just the same.) So, here’s to hoping we pass through our journey safely, neither of us push one another off a cliff, and that we grow as individuals and build on the unfailing friendship we already have.
We hope you join us for the ride. No promises it won’t be a bumpy one. The support of our friends and family means the world to us, and our goal is to return to them better than we left them (and in one piece). Sometimes the best cure for both homesickness and wanderlust is to go on a grand adventure shared with an important piece of home.