In 2018, I quit my amazing job in Washington, D.C. to thru-hike all 2,190.9 miles of the Appalachian Trail. I lived in a tent for six months, carrying a heavy backpack up and over mountains all day every day through 14 states from Georgia to Maine. I hiked through freezing cold, sweltering heat, swarms of mosquitoes, roaring wind, droughts, floods, and even occasionally some sunshine. I watched the forest come alive with green in spring and begin to retreat in vibrant color toward fall. I listened to bears plod around my tent in the night, petted wild ponies, and got yelled at by more red squirrels than I can count. I played in waterfalls, jumped off a bridge, and tore a dreadlock out of my hair. I got addicted to Coca-Cola and ate candy for every meal of the day. I got to know myself again without the deafening hum of society drowning me out and I met some of the best people of my life. The journey wasn’t perfect, but it was more meaningful and beautiful than I could ever put into words. It was hands down the best experience of my life (and trust me, I’ve done some cool stuff, like living in a tent for a semester in Madagascar during college). I blogged along the way for TheTrek.co. Here are those blog posts chronicling my journey.