After finishing the 2650 miles journey from Mexico to Canada I took some time to actually reflect on what I had accomplished. People were constantly asking me if I was finally happy or if I knew what I wanted to do with my life now. The answer to those questions was and still is “No”. To be honest, I didn’t do much thinking while hiking. My thoughts at that time revolved around what I was going to eat next, how many days until the next town, and trying not to trip. 

I will say, a few months after the hike was done and the dust had settled, I started to reflect on the experience I just had, and. Although I didn’t answer any of life’s major questions, I like to think that I learned a few good things: 

  1. Sharing an experience with people makes it so much greater. 

Whether it’s a good experience or a bad one, when it is shared, it will always be so much better. The good ones are amplified and the bad ones turn out to not be so bad. 

  1. No matter how big and daunting a task seems, just take the first step.

Before the hike, the thought of hiking from Mexico to Canada seemed impossible. Once the hike started I would tell myself “just make it 100 more miles” once those were done, I would just repeat the process. Small steps lead to great accomplishments. 

  1. Prioritize yourself – you’re on your own journey and don’t need to follow the crowd 

I learned this lesson on day 2 when I was trying to keep up with my friend and realized I was injuring myself in doing so. It is when I slowed down to my own pace, that I was happier, both mentally and physically.

  1. Journal as much as you can. You’ll be thanking yourself in the future 

All we have in this life are the experiences and memories we create. So do yourself a favor and write them down! One day you will be reading them and smiling along.

  1. Don’t quit when you’re having a bad day. 

Quitting on the hard days is the easy way out and the quickest way to regret. Only quit something after you’ve thought it through with a clear head. 

  1. Your body is so much stronger than you think

This applies to both mental and physical. You can always push more than you think. 

  1. Things never go as planned, be accepting of change and learn to adapt. 

Every day is a new adventure, and having a rough plan is recommended but ultimately when things don’t go as planned, embrace it! Some of the best adventures come from those last-minute changes. 

  1. Try to see the beauty and all things. Even when you’re hating life.

Monotony is a bitch and a lot of things are boring but don’t lose sight of the small details that once made you smile. 

  1. Try to be as minimalist as possible. It will make your life so much easier 

The fewer choices and decisions and have to make, the happier you will be! 

Lastly, one of my favorite feelings and lesson about the PCT was being able to have only 1 clear objective and doing the one thing, the same thing, every day! 

I didn’t have to worry or stress about what I was doing, or what I would wear because, in the end, I had no options. I only had 1 shirt and 1 pair of shorts. I either choose to hike or not to hike, obviously, the latter wasn’t really an option. So I just hiked north, with a clear mind! No decisions to make and free of society’s constant disruptions!