A Year Of Growth

I have tried to write a piece at the end of each year reflecting on the last twelve months. Usually, I write this piece as close to the new year as possible but I’m feeling rather reflective so I wanted to go ahead and put this out to the universe.

Darwin and I started the year out with our good friends who live very close to Joshua Tree National Park. We left to head back to our hometown shortly after the new year rolled in; it had almost been two years since we had been back.

From our hometown, Darwin and I made our way further down south to visit our tramily and to revisit our second home, the Appalachian Trail. We did some small hikes and lingered around Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap in Georgia catching the last few SOBOS.

I returned back to my hometown on my own while Darwin was out on the Pinhoti Trail. I was busy and floating on the excitement of just being with my family. Then finally the time came to leave again. In less than a month I would be completely on my own.

The month before Darwin started his hike on the Pacific Crest Trail he was busy custom building our new to us van The Clydesdale. Our time spent together was basically me watching him work while I handed over the wrong tool in response to his requests for a wrench.

Finally, it came, the day he left me for the call of the trail. I was honestly scared. This was the first time I had ever been completely on my own (well if you don’t count Bowie). It took about three or four weeks for me to completely adjust. I spent time with a few friends which were distractions to the fact I was already lonely. Helping hikers was also a short-term distraction but nothing could feel the void I felt without Darwin, and then it happened. I started to feel okay. I began to live, on my own and enjoy it.

Within the four months Darwin took to complete his hike, I had changed. Although I still missed him and was ready for him to be back with me, I knew I could function solo. I could handle life and all the van breakdowns it threw at me. I had met and made new friends and had experiences without him; independence and confidence that I haven’t exactly felt before were now present within me.

Returning back east, I didn’t feel pressured to do anything or visit anyone. I made the choice to spend my time with people I enjoyed spending time with. Something I can’t say I have actually done before.  While back in our hometown, Darwin and I made the tough decision to leave Bowie under full ownership of my mother. My traveling companion needed to retire.

We left to do the Blue Ridge Parkway Bicycle Tour, something I have never attempted before. I wanted to do it, and with a lot of cussing and heavy breathing, I did it!

Somehow along the way, I put out a book…life goal…CHECK!

And now here we are, back out West waiting out the end of 2018 and here I am, different from who I was at this time last year. I always wonder during the holidays “where will I be next year” and try to picture my future. If I’m honest, I don’t really want to know. I like to let the winds take me where they may.

Thank you 2018 for all you’ve taught me. 2019 I’m ready, let’s see what happens.

A Few Things I’ve Learned in 2018:

Eating a whole pint of ice-cream is helpful.

Creating something that you’re really proud of may take longer than expected.

Whatever you create, give it time and it will find its audience.

You may work on something for three years and then a bunch of its deleted, reminding you nothing is permanent.

A Mohawk will grow into a Mullet if you’re not careful.

Being alone isn’t always scary, it can be empowering.

Sometimes friends are the strangers you meet along the way.

(Random Pictures From This Year) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Recent Stuffs:

An awesome artist by the name of Abigayle is currently working on a few special pieces for Outdoor Evolution. Check out some of her current art via her Etsy Store here!

After many questions about it, I finally made a gear list for what I carried/used on the Blue Ridge Parkway! Check out the list here!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

My Book: Mini Misadventures

Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Other Reflective Posts:

The Season of Reflection and Gratitude

The Things That Remain

A New Mountain, A New Year

10 thoughts on “A Year Of Growth

  1. Love you and proud of all your accomplishments but really you don’t have to do anything. I am proud of you for just being you; a wonderful, caring and compassionate human being. Enjoy your holiday time my Dear Friend and enjoy your all the trials and tribulations from 2018.

  2. Pingback: Holiday Hike | Darwin Onthetrail

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  4. What is the title of the entry that explains why you didn’t do the PCT with Darwin? I can’t seem to find it, but remember it being mentioned. Happy New Year. You both inspire me. Almost ready to retire and literally follow some of your footsteps on the trails you have traveled. Best of luck in 2019

  5. Hey Chris! I’m not sure if I exactly explain why I didn’t hike the PCT but my solo adventures start with “Traveling Along the PCT”. I hope you have many adventures in 2019! – Snuggles

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