AT Dream

After years of talking to potential hiking partners about hiking the Appalachian Trail, it became clear no one I knew was really serious about hiking all 2,189 miles of it in one season. I realized I was going to have to tackle this goal on my own and that’s when I fell into limbo. Without anyone with whom to coordinate, I didn’t know when to start this long hike. My husband suggested going sooner rather than later. His reasoned the longer I waited, the better the chance I would never go at all.

I took a hard look at what would be different about hiking in 2018 instead of a  year or two later. The only disadvantages for going the very next season all had to do with money. Saving more money for the trip and current financial obligations  were at the heart of every reason to wait. I’m a certified financial planner, with decades of experience helping people reach financial goals. I know a thing or two about money, and two things I know for sure. First, you can always use more money. Second, you will always find a way to have money for what you truly want.

I fretted about it for a few more days, and then decided my husband was right. If I waited a few more years trying to have “enough money” it was likely my dream would stay a dream and I would never go. It was time to set a date and figure out how to make the money work out.

I chose March 2018 and began researching how to prepare. Ironically, within a week I had a bona fide hiking partner also committed to go the entire distance! Ten days after she joined me committed for the entire journey and now we have a third partner who will hike at least the first month. I spent all those years searching for a hiking partner, when all I needed to do was commit to my dream and state my intention to those around me.

A couple months later the financial end worked itself out, too. I found ways to cut costs and to save more money. I was inspired to spend less on everyday items. Over time I became inventive in earning a little bit extra here and there. Now I have both a team and “enough” money. Funny how the definition of enough changes when it is no longer an excuse, but a part of your mission.

Whatever your dream, making it part of your life comes when you commit to the dream and take action. For me, the turning point was choosing a date and declaring I would go. I don’t know what it will be for you, but I hope you take the steps to make your dream become your life, too.

When it’s time, just go

My daughter, our exchange student daughter and I were going to Taos, NM to ski. We planned to join a group of four others at their condo a block from the lifts. We had plans for a long drive up the next morning and arriving by evening. Then it occurred to me there was no reason to wait for the next morning. I asked the girls if they could cancel their plans for the evening and go right away. Then I called a friend about 5 hours away and asked if we could stay the night with her. Everyone thought it would work, so we left within the hour.

We had an enjoyable visit with my friend very late that night, and spent a few glorious hours in Santa Fe on the drive up. The girls fell in love with Santa Fe, and we found ourselves in galleries and museums, shaping glass at a hands-on studio in town, and generally being enchanted by the “extra” few hours we had to play on the way to our final destination.

The skiing was pretty terrific, yet we will always remember it a double-your-fun kind of vacation simply because we realized it was time to just go.