Monday, April 30, 2007

My last post from civilization...

Well I've gone over everything on all my checklists and I've got everything packed and ready. I guess you could call this the proverbial "calm before the storm". I am down the street from the house I grew up in, at a small coffee house enjoying an awesome cup of "Jamaican me crazy" coffee. It may be my last really good coffee for a while. When I get home, I'm going to enjoy a nice cold beer before I go to bed. It might also be last one of those in a while too.

I have to admit...I am a bit conflicted. Part of me is very excited to be starting this amazing challenge...while part of me is reluctant to leave family and friends. I have to think with a "half-full" mentality or I'm not going to make it longer than a week.

....So with that being said: This is a chance of a lifetime and I'm going to go into it excited.

The next time you here from me, will either be from the trail, or after I get back.

Wish me luck.....

Saturday, April 28, 2007

AT - Update

Well I was up till 3:00 AM last night updating my itinerary for my AT hike. It is still very tentative and will probably get changed quite a bit. I actually wrote it out all the way to Maine....just in case. I also included a one week break in the middle so that I can go back to Cleveland to visit friends, check on house stuff, and visit with my family.

I realized today that I forgot my camera upload cord, so I cannot upload any pictures until I take my break in the middle. Wish me luck everyone. I will post once more Monday night before I head out tuesday morning.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Appalachian Trail

Well its official. May 1st I start my AT hike. I don't know how far I will go before I decide to stop, but I will be gone for at least 3 weeks. I have all my gear and food...and reservations...all that remains is for me to sort out my "mail drop boxes" and my "bounce box". I have each post office figured out, i just need to figure out my daily itinerary so that I don't end up at one on a sunday when its closed.

I am very excited about this. Ever since last spring when I was hiking the Smokies with a 50 lb pack, I've wanted to do some/all of the I will be (about 35 pounds lighter too). I am going to take a ton of pictures but may not get them uploaded until I'm done with my hike. If I make it through a town with an internet cafe' or something, I will post blog entries.

On a side note, I found a journal I had started writing in last year and I realized despite it being a very long/difficult year, I have actually accomplished many things that I set forth as goals for myself last year. On April 14th '06 I wrote this:

"So I'm pushing 30 with no real direction. Here are some things I've come up with that I want to do:

- Take a class or classes in Geology and Geography locally
- Write some songs and play out more
- Volunteer for U.S.G.S
- Volunteer for Habitat For Humanity
- Go on 3 or more hiking trips
- Study for GRE and take
- Investigate Graduate Schools...Apply???
- Investigate a Europe trip
- Visit Aaron and/or take Road Trip
- Get passport
- Buy MacBook
- Sell House and get Apartment
- Get out of the house more....go to more open mics
- Play more pinball!
- Get a new car
- Record 1 or 2 songs at Mike's Studio (Ante Up)
- Start my own open mic night"

Looking at that list now I realize that one year later, I have done every single thing on it (except "Start my own open mic" and techinally my house hasn't sold yet). In my mind, it seems like I haven't done much over the last year, but now I know that I have at least tried (even if it was subconciously) to accomplish some goals. I think I will write a new one for next april:

- Complete at least half of the Appalachian Trail
- Complete sale of house and pay off car
- T/A freshman Geology course
- Decide on Advisor
- Decide on Research interests
- Decide on Thesis
- Investigate possible career paths
- invite family and friends to come to PSU to visit.....often
- email Cleveland Clinic engineers
- Play out acoustic in State College

Thats it for now...


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Random stuff

Well I found a place in State College PA. Its Very small, but it is perfect for me. I spent the weekend u-hauling the big stuff there so that if the house sells, I don't have to move out on a moment's notice. I've come up with my first travel destination for the summer too. The first week of May, I'll be leaving for Amicalola State Park in Georgia. (Fly to Atlanta, shuttle to Amicalola). What the Hell is in Amicalola State Park John? Incidentally, it is the Southern Terminus to the Appalachian trail. I've decided I'm going to hike as much of the trail as I feel like (until I get bored or too sore). I have enough food/supplies to go for up to 45 days If I want. I will sending myself supply packages along the way to Post offices along the trail...and will hopefully be sending postcards out too. No matter where I finish, I can always continue where I leave off later on in my life. Should be pretty fun. There will be a lot of people on the trail around this time, so I hopefully won't get too lonely either.

I am also hoping I can coordinate with some friends and have them meet me at certain points to do a few days with me. I know my friend Pat said he'd do 4-5 days when I'm in the Smoky Mountains. if there's anyone reading this that also wants to do a few days with me, let me know.

I made myself a "to do" list of things I have to do before May 1st. Lets just say, its going to get a lot more stressful, before I can finally de-stress. I am determined to get everything done though.

I am a little nervous about starting school this fall....mostly just because I haven't decided specifically what I want my research to be in. Most incoming grad students already know their advisor and research before they even start. I hope to take a few classes my first semester and figure it out from there.

Can't believe I'm 30...and going to be a student again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

long awaited sigh of relief...

first the short answer factoids:

As of today...I am officially a Nittany Lion.
As of 4/15...I will be unemployed (yikes)
As of 5/1...I will taking some well deserved time off traveling (still planning this)

without going into too much detail...I will say that the past two months have been extremely difficult. Making this decision has been the hardest I have ever made. Every time I would come to a decision, I would literally change my mind the next day. It never seemed that I had a good enough reason to go....or stay. I just kept researching and researching....and looking for that true answer to this. I had lists full of pros and cons for both staying and going. It seemed that I was consistantly trying to convince myself Not to go. Every time I would, I would realize that the reason wasn't quite good enough. I really thought that if I waited long enough, I would have some kind of epiphany....a moment where i would know for sure my answer. I asked every person close to me what their opinion was, and everyone had a different take.

In the end it was somthing very simple that did it for me. I was listening to someone give a talk on friday and she said something like "how many of you said when you were a kid that you wanted to work in a cubicle when you grow up?"

I know I didn't. When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to be was a scientist. I was never sure exactly what kind...but I knew I wanted to study science. Here I have the best offer I could imagine in front of me, and I was actually considering turning it down.

Three days later, I put in my two weeks at work.

All that being said, I am so far out of the fegy comfort zone it is insane. As excited as I am, I am also terrified. It is not in the fegy blood to take risks like this. I literally quit a job of 8 years of which I was vested at...with a nice 403B and great benefits.

Maybe I'm inadvertantly starting a new fegy trend here. hopefully. The world needs more risk takers.

If I crash and burn....I can't ever regret not-trying.