When my elder son Shahmeer went on his solo bicycle trip from Seattle to the Panama Canal he was 19. Saarem, my youngest was 13 then and he grew up listening to those stories. No wonder as soon as he turned 18 he wanted to go on his own trip. And what did he pick……none other than walking the famous Appalachian Trail. He started out in Virginia last month and now has walked hundreds of miles through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Maine is the next and final state and hopefully (Inshallah) in 3 more weeks he will be done walking 1300 miles altogether. Cant wait for my baby to come home.
On and off when he has phone service he shows us the scenic views from hill tops and peaks that he has been summiting so far. Motivated by Saarem’s excursion, I dusted my old bicycle and went on a ride this morning. Anyways here are somethings that I have learned over time through Saarem’s trip:
- Most people walking the Appalachian trail are my age group including many women. But that doesn’t mean you wait till you turn 50. Go any time you can. In fact I am thinking of walking with him for a week. But don’t hold me accountable, if I bail out 😊
- People are very friendly. They walk all day pretty much on their own but pitch the tents together at night. Complete strangers watch for each other and get worried if someone doesn’t show up. Unlike portrayed by the media, the world is actually very friendly and caring place.
- 6 weeks into the trip, Saarem says he realizes how little he needs to survive. Less is definitely more especially when he has to hike carrying all his belongings in a backpack.
- He also says he feels strange going into towns / cities anymore and is more in tune and comfortable with natural surroundings.
- He has a long (halal) beard at this point since he can’t shave everyday…LOL
- They have only seen BEAR once so far at night and noised him away together.
- I love the US even more knowing that there are frequent shelters and camp grounds all along the trails where my Nomad (banjara) can pitch his tent and rest at night
Human spirit is insurmountable. I can sit in a security camera monitored home and feel insecure if a stranger rings the bell…….Or I can go out experience the raw and wild nature, first hand. The choice is mine. I can sit here and read all the bad news about Pakistan….Or I can go live there for some time and take solo morning walks to the beach (I am so glad I did that). The choice is mine.
With all these experiences, over and over I come to the same conclusion. That the World is actually:
- More safe than dangerous
- More trusting than suspecting
- More friendly than hostile
- More honest than deceitful
- All of the above
And of course to me the right answer is 5. All of the above. We all come across bad experiences here and there but we can’t let them stop us from living our life to the fullest. I hope and urge that you do the same. Get out there and see how nice people and places actually are.