Re-entry is the pits – part 2

​Some people return to city life and battle with depression. Others hike all summer and integrate back into society seamlessly. 

I’m not depressed. But things are not normal either. 

Or maybe they are.

We’ve been off the trail for almost 5 weeks. 

I miss the PCT. 

I miss the simplicity, beauty, quiet and slow pace of Nature.

I miss sleeping under a blanket of stars. I miss waking up cold but refreshed, eagerly awaiting the rising sun and chasing the next view after a long climb. 

And I miss the sense of accomplishment I felt everyday. 

We would wake up and have a plan – hike from point X to point Y, finding water along the way, and overcoming whatever physical, mental or actual road blocks lay in our way. 

Thru-hiking was tough but simple.

It was rewarding. 

It was fun. 

It was stress free most of the time. 

My body and mind miss these simple pleasures and simple ways of being. 

The constant buzz of a society that never sleeps seems to follow me around like a hornets nest.

It sounds louder than ever before. 

Some nights it’s hard to sleep. And we live in a relatively quiet part of town. 

I’m also going through a coming-of-age of sorts. 

I’m asking myself questions that I’ve been pondering since my mid 20s. 

I pondered these questions throughout the hike too. 

What do I want to do with my life? 

What am I passionate about? 

What career path do I want to take? 

The answers to these questions don’t come overnight.

I don’t expect to wake up one morning and have it all figured out.

I expect to dibble dabble in this and that and figure it out over time. 

And I’m ok with that. 

But Laurie isn’t. 

She wants reassurance. She wants me to have a plan, a direction. And she wants it now.

I don’t blame her.  

Actually, I understand and appreciate where she’s coming from. 

She wants security. She wants me to be a sure thing, not a wildcard. She’s already got enough of those in her life. 

But right now she is filled with doubt and feels like she is gambling by being with me – and she is NOT a gambler. 

We work at different speeds. This is not news to either of us. 

I knew I’d need at least a month, maybe two months, to figure things out before I started working.

I expressed this to Laurie many times on the trail. 

And I even told her that this would likely be met with resistance from her. 

But I never thought it would be this challenging. I didn’t foresee us having as many engaged, open hearted discussions as we’ve had. 

I must say, I really command Laurie for having the courage to voice her feelings. It’s uncomfortable and painful, but boy is she strong!

We are trying to find a middle ground. We are taking hard looks at ourselves, at one another and our relationship and constantly pondering what we really want.

We’ve created a very strong foundation over the years – with  trust and honesty as its pillars. This foundation allows us to be fully open with one another. 

For that I am grateful.

And I am hopeful too. 

Hopeful we will find a common language again and feel like we are on the same team again, like we were on the trail. 
Most people thought thru hiking as a couple would be the greatest challenge for our relationship. And if we could live in a tent together for 6 months we would be just fine.

Who would have guessed the hike was going to be the easy part? 

23 thoughts on “Re-entry is the pits – part 2

  1. Yes, it’s a hard time for both of you. With open communication and a commitment to really hear and
    understand each other and a realization that you are coming from different places.Not only will you
    be OK but my guess is that the two of you will be stronger and closer. It will take time AND A LOT OF HARD WORK.. Mix in some fun . Go splash in the puddles today. Give each other lots of warm, loving hugs and validation that BOTH of you are wonderfully kind, loving people. This is another step on your journey. Nobody knows for certain what the outcome will be. Build in special times just for the 2 of you.

    Lots and lots of love and hugs to both of you
    Auntie jean


    • Thank you so much Auntie Jean. We really appreciate your advice and support. We will have to (as you said) build in special times for just us. We haven’t done much of that since coming back.


  2. Don’t look at the whole trail ahead. Break it up into smaller chunks as you did when you were out there.
    Rest, job, short walks, engagement planning , wedding planning etc. you don’t have to have the whole future mapped out.
    You taught us that.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My only advise to both of you is to find a career that you love doing. I know people that a spent year doing jobs they hated. Glad I wasn’t one of those.Ed


  4. We only hike a few hundred miles at a time, but we have this problem too and we have an idyllic life at home on a ranch in the mountains. It’s difficult because life off the trail is more complicated. It feels like one wave after another is crashing down on you. Just remember it will pass. Just like a set of wave passes and calm returns to an ocean. Calm will return . You will find your way together. Really.


  5. I believe you two will cut a path and find a way…At times…yes there will be no plans…The bay area seems so rush rush and to go wear…To work…To pay…To get up and do it again.

    In just the time that you were out on the PCT even in the town we live in….Gilroy….It seems the traffic and people have increased…Like there is no…I dont even have a word.

    I think the mountain area’s will be calling you two.

    Tommy & Ali


    • I hear you Tommy. I feel the same every time I go to L.A. to visit my folks. And even coming back to the Bay after only 6 months feels busier and more congested. We talk about where to live and have an idea of where that may be, but with all the changes happening we will probably stay put for at least six months.

      Thanks for your continued support Tommy and Ali! We really appreciate it.


  6. All the above comments are great advice!!! Being married at 18 now 65 years old (47 years). I know you will be stronger together, with all the ups and downs of life, than apart. Our lives are so different than we had planned and it worked out SO much better. It’s all about LOVE. Relax and Go with the flow.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have a beautiful soul connection Andy and Laurie…..this I feel strongly about by following you on your journey. Life is never going to be all perfect.
    Relationships unfortunately are not like story book romances. You know all this I’m sure, but here’s what I know through 44 years of my marriage.
    On the trail we are best friends. Life is joyful, adventurous and peaceful. We sleep in close quarters sharing our copper spur, and spend long days together with hardly a squabble. We’ve hike 29 days on the PCT, all of Oregon, many week to 2 week backpacks and 13 days this summer hiking the Wonderland Trail. Give us a day or two home and our relationship takes a dive. Then we follow our normal path, up and down and up and down. Sometimes we’re so connected and sometimes not. But, this is life. We are always here for each other…..for better or worse.


    • Thanks Nina. We really appreciate you sharing your personal experience. Even now when we tell non hikers that we hiked the PCT their response is ‘and you’re still together?’ We continue to talk to each other about …everything, and things are getting better.


  8. You learned to be patient on the trail – do the same at home. One foot in front of the other and all of a sudden, another goal is accomplished. You both know all the lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

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