Appalachian Trail 2017

Growth.

It has been 21 days since I have been home.

21 days.

I figured it was time to write a follow up post about being back home and adjusting to the “real world”…

Difficult.

Is pretty much how I can answer that question.

For the first week I cried everyday. Simple things, simple doings. With a snap of the finger, my eyes would weld up and I would have to go somewhere to unleash my tears.

I was riding this wave of emotion.

I missed the simplicity, where my biggest worry for any day was “Is it going to rain today?” and half the time I didn’t mind if it did. I didn’t have a collection of material possessions to care for, it was just my full pack, the clothes on my back, and myself.

I missed the freedom, where I was roaming this beautiful country. Where I could go anywhere I wanted at any time I wanted. I could even use the restroom where ever I wanted. I was in charge, no one could tell me what to do.

I missed my friends and the hiker community where every one is genuine. I missed real conversations with people who care about you. Where if you need something, any one will have your back. People don’t just rush around.

I missed being called Brown Sugar. Why is everyone calling me Isabella? It felt so weird.

I felt so different and I continuously longed to go back to that lifestyle.

“Why is it so hard for you to adjust being home? You are not being grateful.”

Initially I struggled with how to respond to this. At first I didn’t know why I felt the way I did. I didn’t know why I felt SO different than everyone else. I looked at people in a different way, wanting to grab them, shake them and yell you aren’t living life right!

I had come off the trail feeling like I had won the Golden Ticket. That I had learned what real living means. I felt like I knew the secret to life and happiness.

Planner had sent me a quote that I read and thought yes, yes, yes.

“Have you ever just walked through the woods, or sat on a rock and watched the clear blue sky through a thick green forest canopy? Have you ever slept under the stars or walked through a cloud or listened to raindrops trickle off of the leaves and onto the ground, or have you ever heard the whippoorwill tell its lonesome story at night or listened to what the trees and animals have to say, or just heard the leaves rustle in the wind? I have for the past few couple of months and its a good feeling knowing that if I got off the Trail tomorrow…

I would have Lived today.”

 

YES. This, I was living and breathing with the earth and every movement, every conversation with others, every bite I took to eat, everything felt authentic. I struggled, my body hurt at times, I would be cold or sweating profusely, but every emotion, every pain, every feeling was real.

It felt real. 

It all had a purpose and meaning.

I wore the same stinky, holey clothes for 5 months, my legs and armpits had an insane amount of hair (which I still haven’t shaved my legs 🙂 ) and everything I needed was in my pack and I have never been happier.

I had learned what mattered. What honestly mattered in life.

I come home and we have all this “stuff”, all this “glamour”, we have all these meaningless, not paying attention conversations, I felt like everyone is shuffling about with no feeling of purpose. Like everyone is numb, we do all these things to numb and not feel.

I felt like I was in a robot movie. Where the people are programmed to live life a certain way and just walk about and I am running trying to tap on peoples head, yelling at their faces to wake up, just please wake up.

I felt claustrophobic.

The second day in I had a doctors appointment and my nurse came rushing in, rushing out, wouldn’t sit and talk to me, to just look and talk to my face.

I started driving again and instantly was reminded how people are mad at the littlest things, how people will rush around you if you drive the speed limit as if you are in the wrong.

I started cleaning houses again and quickly remembered how much we waste, Ziploc baggies only have one life and they are tossed.

Materialism, Consumerism, Wastefulness, oh yeah…this is what people think of as the real world.

I wanted out. I wanted people to understand me but continuously would shut down and think you will never understand me.

After tears, writing, and talking with people who have experienced trail life, I knew I wasn’t alone.

But…

I had to try and take what I learned on the trail and apply it as much as I could to this life. Even if it won’t have the same affect.

What it boils down to is life is going to move on, it is going to continue to roll with or without me in it. I am not one to enjoy being sad. To enjoy being depressed.

I had to accept the fact that people will live their lives how they want to, as I shall live mine how I want to. Not everyone wants to live the way I do and that is fine.

To each their own.

It was time for me to accept that the trail was over but the adventures can still happen. I can make my life full of wonder right here in Kansas.

I have started to go outside more. It is what makes me happy. I made a deal with myself to take one picture everyday of something that is beautiful, something that made me smile.

Photo Sep 09, 6 46 14 PM (1).jpg

I have to start treating this life like I did with the trail. To fill it with exploration. To start going to places I haven’t been before, to have conversations with people who let me and to be all in it instead of breezing by.

I have to appreciate what I have here. I have to appreciate this down time in between my bigger adventures because in the grand scheme of things, it is soon to be October and I will be leaving again in 4 short months.

So this is the time to spend as much time with family and friends as I can.. There is no other way to look at it.

My older brother gave me a good perspective and said “Those last few weeks on the trail where you became really homesick and excited to see friends and family, that is what you have to remember, because next time you will be gone even longer and that feeling will be even worse” I have to keep that homesick feeling in my mind to motivate me to get out and be around the people I love.

He also reminded me to be gentle with people who don’t understand me and to remember to inspire others with this amazing journey.

Yeah…I like the sound of that.

So.

I am doing better.

Some days are better than others. I still sometimes get caught up questioning people and what they enjoy. But all I can do is worry about myself and how to keep myself happy.

I know what I need in life and that is simplicity. I try not to overwhelm myself anymore. I am sticking to only one job, where I have weekends and evenings off, for the first time in 3 years.

I am going outside more whether for a walk, run, bike ride, or setting my hammock up somewhere. I am making time for it.

Photo Sep 08, 7 09 50 PM (1).jpg

 

Its all about growth.

I learned a lot about myself on the trail and I will continue to grow through all the adventures to come and I cannot wait.

Photo Sep 10, 11 35 11 AM (1).jpg

 

Life is fun when you allow yourself to feel, grow, learn, and change no matter how hard it is.

 

Stay tuned for my next adventure. 🙂

Photo Sep 18, 4 34 37 PM

Much Love,

Isabella Mullins

 

 

 

1 thought on “Growth.”

  1. Thank you for sharing the reality of returning. You have learned so much in a short time. All of this will serve you well in the little adventures that happen before the next BIG adventure. Know that your experience has inspired me and I’m grateful for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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