Not All Who Wander are Lost
Yes, I just quoted a line from a poem written by J.R.R. Tolkien. In my opinion, "The Lord of the Rings" is the best the fantasy genre has to offer. I haven't read tons of fantasy books, but I've read enough, as it's my favorite fictional genre to read. Interestingly enough, Tolkien's epic adventure through Middle Earth has inspired my own desire for adventure. I've always loved being outside, and growing up in rural PA provided for some spontaneous exploration of the Appalachian Mountains.
In high school, I ran track and cross country. I'm sorry to say that I haven't really trained much since then, but hiking has replaced running as my form of outdoor/long distance exercise. There's something therapeutic about letting my mind wander while my legs take me where they wish. The sounds of chirping birds, breezes whisping through the trees, a babbling stream, and the smell of fresh air and decomposing leaves seems to make me feel lighter. And then there's the mountain vista - that makes any hiking excursion worth it!
I've slowly built up some really nice gear over the years and hope to have some more extended outings in the future. This year, I made it a personal goal to hike a certain amount of miles and complete a weekend outing with a friend. That may not seem like much, but with a bunch of responsibilities and two young kids, I don't get to hit the trail as much as I'd like. That's ok, though, it forces me to carefully plan out my trips so I can explore a place I've never before seen!
I've recently thought about hiking some of the longer trails in Pennsylvania (I'm not really interested in thru-hiking the AT...although I'd love to hike parts of it!). I'm looking forward to planning those outings and enjoying some peace and quiet with everything I need stuffed in my pack.
What are some things you like to do to unwind and rest? It's so important to carve out time to recharge so you are physically, mentally, and emotionally involved in you day to day life. We're humans, not machines - we get tired, and so we need to rest! Take some time for yourself every now and then...you'll be better for it!