Belying the planning and focus on the PCT with questions of gear, resupply and logistics, is the more bewildering question of how to handle an effective life simplification exercise or downright life liquidation so that one can escape for 4-6 months. In my case, the issue of what to do with my personal life was divided into 4 focus areas: home, work, car and finances.
Including dealing with personal possessions and rent, this one likely takes up the most time of the 4 issues. The problems are numerous; what to keep, what to sell, what to donate, what to dump. All coupled with the underlying question of what to do with your physical room during the time and the inevitable emotion of detaching oneself from ones “things”.
Paying for rent in abstentia for 5 months in Cambridge was simply unaffordable given the only real benefit was keeping my address and maintaining the junk I suspected that I needed to get rid of anyways. The solution was simple, sublet my room, downsize my possessions into an area that could be accommodated in my apartments storage room (not a large space). My local charity shop arguably made-bank on this strategy as most possessions I was going to liquidate were clothes. Why I saw the need to keep clothes from as far back as 2005, that were clearly unwearable for me (but otherwise perfect) baffles me entirely. Suffice it to say the experience of mass donating possessions is somewhat liberating when you manage to detach from the omnipresent voice in your head that says “you might need this, if….” With everything boxed, stored, and an all nighter cleaning effort, my room looked suitable for its summer guest, an undergraduate Josh who I taking it for the summer. Job done.
Many people take a hard-wired career break for something like the PCT, i.e. They do not return to their role. Having good job on an interesting team with great people, the concept of quitting seemed particularly final and a slightly drastic side-effect of taking a walk in the woods (albeit a long walk). Thankfully the opportunity arose to complete a leave of absence rather than the nuclear option. This allows me enough time to experience and immerse in the trail, whilst hopefully bringing some learnings back to my professional life afterwards. In this case, the mantra that “it never hurts to ask, is particularly poignant”. Closely coupling the work and PCT experience, did of course lead to certain peculiar aspects of my tight summer plan, one being that I departed for the trail after a full day at the office!
Being a reasonably valuable personal asset on financial and emotional grounds, my beloved Subaru was somewhat problematic. I now had a LOA from work and needed the car in October so selling was not a viable option. Thankfully one opportunity arose where a good friend of mine could use the peteywagon over the summer. Something that suited me seemed to suit him! All the pieces were falling into place. Insurance and fine print settled, the peteywagon headed north for a summer in Maine with its Forester cousin.