Today, more and more female travelers are expanding their worlds and venturing out to hike into the wild. Take Cheryl Strayed, the American novelist who wandered 1,100 miles down the Pacific Crest Trail during the summer of 1995. She narrated that experience in her best-selling book “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”. The memoir would later be made into a feature film, “Wild”, in which Reese Witherspoon portrayed Strayed. A similar story follows recent events in the life of Tosha Kowalski (@theotherforkintheroad) who is currently deep into an experience of a lifetime – hiking the Appalachian Trail with a friend.
Day 0: Amicalola Falls just RAGING over the edge. You can't really see it in the photo, but it was raining hardcore. Excellent introduction to the AT. #amicalolafalls #appalachiantrail #appalachiantrials #georgiatomaine #georgia #hiking #thruhike #AT2015 #nature #outdoors #adventure #travel #exploremore
As Kowalski tells Instagram Blog, she once found a sticker on the ground with the words “Quit your job / See the World / Fall in Love / Find Yourself.” To most people, these words will be quickly disregarded as an unrealistic dream, but Kowalski read it as a message meant for her. In March 2014, she quit her job and went to Finland to start a 10-month backpacking trip all over Europe.
For the majority of us, a 10-month odyssey would be a nice break between jobs in the corporate world. Not the case for Kowalski as she persevered and added more locations to her ever-growing bucket list. Eventually, she settled on her next adventure. Completing the Appalachian Trail, a 3,500-kilometer stretch of hiking trails encompassing lush forests and crystal clear lakes set against a majestic landscape. “I didn’t start this hike as an escape from anything. I’m not trying to disconnect from the world. I’m trying to reconnect with myself, the person I know I already am, and there is a difference” Kowalski says. “Over the past year, and even more so on this trail, I re-realized how strong I am, how independent, how motivated and determined. At some point during the confusion of life, I had forgotten all those things.”
The trip which is expected to last a total of six months, starting in Georgia and ending in Maine and is met with mostly positive comments on her social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. As typical in this internet age, a few commenters accuses her of “living off a trust fund” and worse “abandoning her children behind”. Tosha Kowalski explains that she is neither traveling off a trust fund nor abandoning anybody back home (she is still single). In an insightful way, by following Tosha’s adventure through her Instagram and travel website, more people are now getting a clear grasp at the idea that traveling doesn’t mean one has to be rich and irresponsible.
Taking nothing but pictures, leaving nothing but footprints, Tosha Kowalski’s journey in the Appalachian Trail also leave behind traces of inspiration and a new understanding of why people feel the need to travel. On her most recent Instagram post, Tosha captioned “I’m not sure why, but being north of the Mason Dixon line feels like a huge accomplishment. Into our 7th state!”. And with that one liner, Kowalski has perfectly described the fulfillment traveling provides for the soul.