I've had the good fortune of traveling around the world, seeing spectacular sights, and learning about exotic cultures. But now, at age 62, the idea of traveling abroad almost seems like a form of escapism. Instead of looking elsewhere, I’m ready to look inwards-- to discover who I really am, not accepting self-imposed assumptions about who I should be. I wonder… what am I really physically and mentally capable of, … and how do I want to spend my remaining days on this earth? Do I want to indulge in all of life's pleasures, or do I want to help others less fortunate than me to have a better life?
In answering those questions, I have decided to embark on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, covering 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine. But I am not doing it solely for the adventure. I am coordinating it as a fundraiser for Talbot Interfaith Shelter, a local homeless shelter where I have volunteered in the past and am strongly committed to its mission to provide safe, secure temporary shelter to people struggling with homelessness and to raise awareness about homelessness within our community. Unlike many homeless families who are forced into that condition by any number of factors beyond their control, I choose to be homeless while on the trail. And as a dividend of spearheading the fundraiser, I have had the opportunity to become much more engaged in life, in my community, and with those who want to share their life’s passions.
Ultimately, we are all simply seeking happiness. And the most assured path to finding happiness is in helping and serving others in real need. In seeking to help others, I have set a goal of raising $35,000 for Talbot Interfaith Shelter and bringing more awareness to the plight of homelessness.
In the ten days since publicly announcing the fundraiser, we have made great strides. I still have about two months to pursue fundraising before embarking on my journey on April 15th. Once the journey begins, you can "virtually" follow me on the trail and witness my pains, pleasures, and adventures. I hope you will join me in this adventure as I take 5 million steps up and down many Appalachian Mountains equating to 16 ascents and descents of Mount Everest in the famed Himalayan Mountains.