My birthday is as good of a day as any to say that on March 28th my mom is going to drop me off at Springer Mountain Georgia. With some grit, determination and a lot of luck 6 months later she’ll pick me up at Baxter State Park in Maine. The Appalachian Trail, 2200 miles. Hiking it from end to end in one go is a completely extraordinary thing that ordinary people do every year. Only 20% of people who set off in the task finish it. And of those people around 29% of them are women. 

I’m hiking for myself and for the women I know (and have yet to know) who have been affected by violence. Who have been told they could have stopped it. They could have behaved better. They shouldn’t dwell on it. Get over it. Who are told they should feel lucky that it wasn’t worse. Told how to heal.

Survivors are powerful, but that doesn’t mean they always remember that. Self doubt is real. The coulda, woulda, shoulda voices can be consuming. The piecing together of who am I now takes time and sometimes feels like it’ll never be pieced together just right. 

Sometimes this swirling of inner dialogue and external “friendly advice” givers deafen the one thing you really need to hear, you are extraordinary. You are. Really. 

You are a totally ordinary person but you have endured life and that is extraordinary. 

We all have greatness.

Sometimes we just need a nudge to remember. 

I’m a survivor. I’m a woman. I’m extraordinary. I’m excited to go on this journey. And if I’m honest a little terrified. The more I learn about the trail the more I know this will be no easy feat. That makes it all the more worth it, extraordinary is never easy. 

You are invited to come along. You can join me for a stretch of the trail. Or come along via the digital age of social media updates. Either way you are invited. This journey is inclusive to all capabilities. The adventure is for everyone. 

I know that I’m not going to be able to do this completely alone. Your support will keep me motivated and guided. It’s helped me through the toughest of times and I know not to shirk the loving support of my awesome friend network. 

You can save the “BE SAFE!”s. Understand that my goal every day is to be safe- safety is sexy. Anything great will have some risks, that’s called living life. However, that said, some “HAVE FUN”s would be greatly appreciated. 

Y’all I’m excited! 

Let’s do this!