In case the title of this post was too obscure, I’m going to be home in 4 days!! Based off my past adventures, here are some answers to questions I know I’m gonna get asked.
Wait, you were gone?
Yeah! I left May 8 and got back (or, at the moment, plan to get back) September 6. I spent the summer in Glacier National Park, working at a gift shop as a barista and t-shirt putter-outter, and also serving with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks.
The best ACMNP team I could have asked for. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to flip this image so that it actually looks like we’re spelling out “ACMNP.”
I thought you were supposed to be back at the end of September?
True! I was originally supposed to work until September 21, but it turns out that is a ton of time to be away from home, my family, my super cute boyfriend, Burgerville milkshakes, etc.
Was it just amazing?
Just amazing–that’s a really high expectation to put on any 4-month period. So no, not exactly. There were some really awesome parts, and also some really sucky parts. Overall, it was a good experience.
Are you glad you did it?
Absolutely! This had been a dream of mine for seven-ish years, and I don’t think it would have ever left me alone if I hadn’t gone and tried. Also, Glacier is gorgeous and there were so many days when I stepped out of my dorm and thought, “I can’t believe I get to live here for a summer!!”
A view from my evening walks. This was about a 4-minute walk from my house.
So what happened? Why are you home early?
Okay, this question maybe falls on the “questions I know people will want to ask but will probably be too polite to actually ask” list. Honestly, July happened. I cruised through June with only a few homesick days, but then I hit July and thought, “Wow, I’ve been here two months………and I’m not even halfway done yet. Crap.” July was one of the loneliest months I have had in the last 7 years. That was my own fault–I didn’t make a huge effort to go out and meet people. I get pretty stressed out of I don’t get time alone, and when I’m working retail 5 days a week and spending Sunday doing worship services, the thought of taking someone I barely know on a 2-hour car ride, then a 6-hour hike, then another 2-hour car ride back home on my only day to myself seemed like a bit more than I could handle. And it didn’t help to be thinking that I was also missing out on my first summer of dating Marc because we were in separate states.
Then, in the middle of July, I decided to Skype my mom. She was with my sister’s kids, so I got to talk with them. I was in my car so as not to disturb my roommate. The conversation went like this:
Pearl (my 3-year-old niece who loves to point out the obvious): Auntie, you are in your car.
Pearl: Good. Now you can come home!
Pearl, umm, helping me in the garden last spring before I left.
And I thought, dang, girl, you have a point. I might have started the car right then and been home by dinner the next day, except my favorite books were in my dorm at the time and there’s no way I’m abandoning them. In any case, that got the idea in my head, and a few weeks later I found out that one of my co-workers was staying later than she had originally planned, and they were hiring another person who would stay until my original end date, so I asked if I could leave and my manager looked at the schedule and asked if I could stay till September 5, which was reasonable.
So, basically, I’m home early because I took advice from a 3 year old. But, like, a really cute one so it’s okay. #auntielife
Did you get to go on some great hikes?
Oh yeah!! I loved my days hiking.
Did you see some cool wildlife?
I saw mountain goats, marmots, deer, foxes, and a billion squirrels. I didn’t see any moose, and I only saw bears from the car, which I was honestly okay with. I usually hiked alone, so I wasn’t all that interested in seeing things that might decide to kill me.
You hiked alone! Insanity!!
Shhhhhhh……I was usually on well-traveled trails, I had bear spray and an emergency locator, and I didn’t spend four months away from home, family, friends, nieces, nephew, and boyfriend to not hike. It worked out fine. #NotDead
So what’s your next adventure?
There isn’t one! At least, not a long-term travel adventure. That’s kind of a new experience for me. I started dreaming of the PCT in middle school, and that dream took me through college. Then six months after I got back, my sister and I started planning our trip to New Zealand, which took me through another two years, and then a few months after that I got to come to Glacier, which is another dream I’ve had for a long time. I’m gonna go ahead and stay put for a while. I’m excited to not constantly be living a few months ahead of myself. I think it’s gonna work out just fine 🙂