I am a twenty-something Midwest girl who is a bit lost in life and totally ok with that. Thoreau once said “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves," and how right he was. Not long ago I was meandering across England with a lovely Australian family when I realized all the things I thought I wanted, I don't.  I was working at a fantastic art museum, utilizing my hard earned degree, buying cool furniture with my hard earned money, assuming one day I would work my way up, get rid of my second serving job, probably get married and have kids and buy a house and all the usual things that go with it.  Then I went to Antarctica for a vacation (yes vacation), and the awesome power that place holds stuck with me. The thought of going home and sitting at a desk day in and day out filled me with dread. There were so many things and places to experience and I was only being given 2 weeks a year to do it. This was unacceptable. 

I got back from this trip only to be immediately talked into taking another month long excursion across the UK with friends who also happened to be taking 'extended vacations.'  My hope for this trip was that I would have some time to think and figure out my life (and visit numerous pubs).  Unfortunately the only thing I figured out (other than the fact that the English countryside is beautiful and everyone should hike across it) was that I hate mushroom stroganoff, sheep are surprisingly cute, and if I never have to drink another cup of f**king tea again that will be just fine.  

The panic that sets in when you realize you have worked so hard towards a goal only to decide you don't want it is terrifying. If I don't want to be doing this, what do I want to be doing? We have all asked ourselves this question and we rarely find an answer. My problem was that I found too many.  I ran through all the different things I would like to experience in my lifetime:  I could hike around the world, I could teach English abroad, I could work with animals, I really enjoyed my trip to Antarctica, maybe I could get a job on a boat down there, or a cruise ship, that might be fun, oh and what about the Peace Corps, on and on and on you get the idea.  I finally landed on option Z: All of the aboveI have never understood our culture's need to define ourselves by our careers. I want my life to be defined by my experiences. My desire to have a stable life supported by a steady career (an admirable goal for many people) was immediately replaced by the desire to fill my life with as many different experiences as possible. I have my entire existence ahead of me and I want to live it in a unique and significant way.  

The realization that a plan is just something to deviate from has made it ok that I do not have one, and opened the door for me to simply do all things I always wanted to do.  I want to travel the world, meet people, work different jobs and learn different things and hopefully have a positive impact on the people and environments I come into contact with.  I understand living this way is going to involve taking a lot of chances, most being forgoing steady income.  I intend to be realistic, I acknowledge that I will need to alternate income-draining adventures with income-earning adventures and that there may be some no adventure in between times.  I also intend to continue putting money in savings for whenever I retire from whatever this is. I realize that living life with such a degree of uncertainty is risky, but also liberating.  In the words of David “Awol” Miller, I would happily live my life in such a way that I have fewer ‘should’ve dones,’ even if it means acquiring some ‘wish I hadn’ts.' I started this blog to document both. 

So now that I’ve finally figured out my life (whew), what should I do first?  Apparently, I landed on walking from Georgia to Maine.  Here I come Appalachian Trail.