[pct-l] Post/pre-trail adjustment

Susan Alcorn backpack45 at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 29 18:59:55 CDT 2008

Paul M. writes about the difficulties of post-trail adjustment, and although I am a section hiker rather than a thru-hiker, I can definitely relate to what he says about the problems of re-entry. I always find it difficult to reenter and that's in spite of the fact that I love my home, friends and family, and "normal" activities (not that he doesn't). Even though being on the trail takes adjusting to, it is a simpler life in many ways; the decisions are about survival (where to eat, set up camp, how many miles, etc.). At home, we are expected to be "responsible" adults and play various roles; we work and play with others in myriad ways much of the time. Our decisions and interactions with others are much more complicated. 

Paul wonders if the answers to some of his questions will become clearer over time. Perhaps they will, but since I didn't start long-distance hiking on the PCT and the Camino trails of Europe until I was in my fifties and sixties, I'm not sure how much age has to do with it. One thing I have gotten better at over time is expecting some degree of difficulty with the transitions and not to beat myself over the head about it. 

It's one of life's realities that making a choice often means giving something else up. I am fortunate in that I can look back from where I am (67) and see that my life has been a series of chapters. Obviously each new chapter builds on the earlier ones, but within most people's lifetimes there is time for many adventures and re-creations. 

Thanks for giving us food for thought, Paul. Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

Happy trails,
Susan Alcorn

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