My sister, Jessie, and I will embark on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail March 2nd, 2019. We plan (fingers crossed) to complete the hike, from Georgia to Maine, in five months. Over the course of five months, from March to July, I would like to raise money $500 for HIKE for Metal Health. HIKE for Mental Health is a strong organization that gives back 100% of funds received, with 80% going of hike donations going to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and 20% of hike donations supporting the preservation of trails.
Why the Appalachian Trail?
For the past two years I have been living and teaching English as a second language with the Peace Corps. I will complete my service in December and return back to the United States. My time with the Peace Corps has been spent living and working in a small, rural village. I have experienced beauty and hardship, many times simultaneously. I have given up personal freedoms and often my time has been managed by others. I have been humbled in indescribable ways. I have experienced community like I never have before. My time has been an interesting and fun blend of cultural exchange. I am forever grateful. What does this have to do with hiking the Appalachian Trail? I want to hike the Appalachian Trail to reflect. I need to hike the Appalachian Trail to become truly mindful and appreciative of my personal freedoms I have, specifically as an American woman. I cannot wait to hike the Appalachian Trail to experience a close-knit community that I have grown to love and crave. The Appalachian Trail, to me, means adventure, independence, self-reflection, adversity, and resilience.
Why HIKE for Mental Health?
I want and need to hike the AT to reflect and restore mindfulness in my life. Bringing awareness to mental illness and breaking the taboo of talking about struggles with mental health is of great importance, I believe. According to the National Institute of Mental Health 1 in 4 adults suffer from a brain or behavior disorder in a given year and 1 in 5 children experience a debilitating mental illness at some point in their childhood. These numbers are real and very scary. I am hopeful that through my process of hiking the Appalachian Trail I can share the joy of hiking, rise funds, and bring awareness to mental illness.