The Road to Freedom

Disclaimer: A friend/reader requested that I write a blog post with more of an emotional aspect. Here it goes:

It was tough to commit to this 6 month journey. The idea of spending every day with each other, exploring the great outdoors, without the stress and pressure from society sounded like a dream-come-true. That idea grabbed our hearts over 5 years ago. But why did it take so long to go after it?

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Chas and I have been living together since 2007 when I graduated high school. Apart from a few transitional months between moving, we have been living on our own ever since. It feels great to have your own “home” whether that be a house, condo, apartment, or van. It feels great to have and pay your own bills. It feels great to have a job where you work almost full time. It feels great because it makes you feel like you’re a responsible adult. That’s what Chas and I always tried to be. We had dreams and goals, but we were always trying to do what was “right.” To us that meant work and college, and not traveling, babies, new game systems, whatever. But why?

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I was raised with a big emphasis on going to college. I took AP classes in high school and got all A’s and B’s. I didn’t apply to any big colleges, but had the plan of transferring from a junior college after a few years. So Chas and I moved in together after high school and I worked and went to school. We talked about hiking the pct, but I couldn’t dare quit work or school, and he couldn’t either. He had a “great job” at Costco, and my seniority in school allowed me to get first pick for classes. Every time we talked about leaving and hiking the trail we got scared. What would we do with our things? What would we do for work when we were done since the job market is so bad? Where would we move after? What about our pets? What would our families think about us being so irresponsible? These questions scared us for years. We put the dream aside.
Last April, 2013, Chas and I went hiking in Mount Laguna. It was the start of the season, and we saw lots of pct thru-hikers. It was my first semester of taking a break from college. My mom had just taken her life the summer before, and I couldn’t focus in school. I couldn’t focus on anything really. I only found peace and happiness in the tranquility of my other mother- Nature. “We need to do this,” I told Chas. We opened up the pct discussion again that day. With the loss of my mom, and also the loss of Chas’ dad, we really started talking about how precious life is. Everyone has dreams, but what happens to the people that work their whole lives and pass away before they get to go after those dreams? They’re so busy being good responsible adults that they don’t take time to do what makes them happy. And without being happy, what are you really working towards? We only have one chance at life, so why not live in the moment. Live for today. So chas and I quit our jobs. We left good, reliable jobs. We left our apartment. We left our nice, clean, comfy apartment. These were not easy things to do. In fact we’ve questioned our decision numerous times. But without change we can’t really grow too much. If we don’t go after this dream we will be constantly wondering “what if we did?” Now we will know. Without our jobs, without our apartment, without our things, I’m starting to feel free. I can only imagine what falling asleep under the stars, and waking up to the sunrise will feel like for 6 months with the person I love. Oh and as a nice bonus I found out that even with taking a break from school I still got an associates degree, although I don’t get to “walk” at graduation because I will be “walking” to Canada instead!

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The day we decided to go after the dream!

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2 thoughts on “The Road to Freedom

  1. Hi Chelsea and Chas,

    THANK YOU so much for the beautiful blog (I cried). You two are so inspirational. Your decision to do the PCT is so thoughtful and the reasons are poignant and very important. It is wonderful that you shared your emotions with us who love you and support whatever you do, and especially this!

    xxxxxx Grandma

    Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2014 06:34:04 +0000 To: dorotheagregowski@hotmail.com

  2. Hey Chelsea! It’s Nadia from Spanish class a few years ago at Grossmont. I am so thrilled for the both of you 🙂 I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to follow along on your journey. You two are such an inspiration. Even though we only knew each for a short time (in class) I loved your energy and I know Chas must be just as awesome as you 🙂 I’m excited for your adventures! I’ll be back here in SD cheering you guys on! Yay!

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