5. The Long Way Home

Any sane person knew it was “over.” The logistics of a self-supported hike demand a lot of time and money. Three years of going away supplanted the duties of keeping house and home together. On balance, there was no way to consider another foray.

When external events pointed to my setting out “one more time,” the process of breaking away from home became far more difficult than words can describe. However, once the southern road walk began, all kinds of unexpected encouragement appeared. Perhaps the upstroke of the cycle had begun.

New kinds of challenges occurred while traversing the urban landscape, yet in some way the drama involved the same characters wearing different costumes. The stimulation of the great outdoors invigorated me, but I thought more about home.

Walking the Appalachian Trail had been like going away. The extra legs in the North and South during the next two years became the return trip. The “idea” of heading out one last time came from outside, just as the original inspiration had. I now began to face the challenge of applying my lessons to daily life at home.

Everything has a starting point. How can you return, if you don’t know where you began?