In case you were wondering, it all ended too soon. Jeff suffered from severe tendonitis that set in sometime after the 500 mile mark, and we made the decision to end the hike on June 10, at mile 662.
Here in the real world though, I often think of the Appalachian Trail. I think of how much like life it is. Ups and downs, difficult sections, and smooth easy parts, unexpected events, and wonderful serendipitous surprises. . . Sometimes though, especially in business, I wish for the easy navigation of the trail. Whenever I felt lost on the Appalachian Trial, I could look up and find an ever-reliable white blaze on a tree or a rock or on the path itself.
On a particularly frustrating day a couple of weeks ago, I found myself wishing, as I often do, that I could scrap the real world and dive back into the woods again. I wished that life and business at least had some white blazes, so I could know for sure if I was off on a side trail or if I was actually hiking north towards my goal.
That was a moment like that breath of early morning mountain air that somehow saved my hike in northern Georgia, just 8 miles into the trail.
There's a song by my favorite artist, Chris Pureka, called "Compass Rose," and one of the lyrics is this: "Well, I'm lost today; I won't deny it. I'm gonna lay down and wait for the compass rose under my skin to start to glow."
White blazes; compass rose. They exist inside of me in the form of dreams, goals, and ideas. Just like hiking the Appalachian Trail, I have to look up and find that next white blaze or I could end up down a side trail, miles from where I want to be. In life and business, I have to decide where I ultimately want to go, and I have to look in and feel that "compass rose under my skin start to glow." I have to have the courage to follow the signs, even when they lead me up and over a steep, rocky, wet, foggy, hand over hand climb.
So, all of that is to say that I'm tuned in. I'm looking for the white blazes on the trail to doing commercial advertising photos for outdoor gear manufacturers and retailers. I'm confident that the white blazes in my heart won't lead me astray.
Follow YOUR white blazes! Go get your dreams!
Read more about our Appalachian Trail LASH (long ass section hike) here!