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Trading Stocks for the Trail: My Adventure on the Appalachian Trail- Part 1

"We came here to hike a mountain" - Alli Teague

 

You might be wondering how and why a full-time stock trader would decide to go hiking and camping for four days on the Appalachian Trail. Even if you're not, stick around—this story is pretty good (if I do say so myself)!

Over the past few months, I've been using this blog as a platform to share insights about networking, personal growth, and stepping outside of our comfort zones. But I don't just write about hypothetical concepts—I share my actual lived experiences. Over the next few weeks, I'll be taking you on a journey—a virtual hike, if you will explaining how I ended up on the Appalachian Trail. Next I'll share stories from my trip with photos, then I'll share some key takeaways I learned about life. I hope you'll pick up a few nuggets of wisdom along the way. I'm straying a bit from my usual format, but I plan on doing this more often —it's going to be quite an adventure. Speaking of adventure I have quite a story about a 3-day water fast I started the same night I stepped off the trail… But let's save that story for another day.

This whole adventure started with a simple 'yes'. As many of my adventures do. I wrote about the power of 'yes' if you haven't read it, you should! As my Instagram followers know (shameless plug to follow me), I have an obsession with water. My dad and I spent every weekend on the lake fishing—from the scorching summer sun, to icy winter days, even in the rain. I spent over 35 years on the water with my dad! Our bonding time was mostly silent; being in nature and out on the water was, and still is, soul-cleansing. These days were therapeutic, tranquil sessions spent amidst nature. My dad passed 5 years ago, may he rest in peace, and fishing sort of lost its appeal to me. The memories are beautiful but sometimes they bring sadness, maybe soon I'll get back out there, but I changed it up a bit. The ocean and cruises became my new sources of solace! I am a self described cruise junkie. I find myself visiting oceans all over the US!

So when a trading group I was part of offered a private yacht vacation in Croatia last year, it seemed like a match made in heaven—a cruise, a beautiful ocean, Europe's rich history, a private yacht, and me! But I have to admit the concerns started creeping in: "Croatia is dangerous!", "This trip is expensive!", "You'll be traveling alone!", “Croatia is far from home”, “What if…”. I had to remind myself that fear is nothing but a limitation that keeps us from growth and experiences. So, like I keep writing and stressing in my posts: I said yes to the opportunity, booked my flight and hotel, and soon found myself questioning my sanity. Little did I know, this trip would be a pivotal turning point in my life!

Fast forward to the trip, the yacht, the country, the food, and the people (both on the yacht and also on the land), all amazing!!! During the trip, a lot happened that I’m skipping over, but I had bonded with an incredible couple (Mike and Alli). Their infectious energy and zest for life were compelling. One evening on a ‘hike’ (Alli would have described this as a walk, but go with me...) On this hike in Croatia Alli shared her plans to take a group of ladies hiking on the trail. She wants women to realize they don’t need a man to survive and she was going to show them by hiking and camping on the Appalachian trail! Her passion was so plain to see—it was really a sight to behold. Her energy shifted as she described what this meant to her. For those who know me in real life, you know I'm all about supporting people I like, lifting them up and helping anyway I know how.

A few nights later there was a charity auction (smart organizers 😊 ), aimed at fundraising to build a school in Central America. I didn't win my first item, but Alli donated a hike for the charity auction, and I was determined to win it. Not just to share the trail with Alli and Mike, but also to support her dream and, in doing so, contribute to others realizing their own strength. So, I bid. And when no one else bid I bid again. I repeated this over and over enjoying every moment of the auction and relishing in the fact that it's not always about getting the 'best price.' Once I hit my charity goal I was the proud winner of a hike along the famous Appalachian trail!

That's how I—a full-time options trader and part-time real estate investor—found myself spending three nights on the Appalachian Trail. This experience was as daunting as when I ventured solo to Croatia. But let me tell you right now, we all have to stop letting fear and "what ifs" hold us back! The thought of hiking 20 miles into the woods, carrying everything I needed on my back, and sleeping on the ground for three days was a challenge I was ready to take on. A slight spoiler here, but when we were about to set up the tent for the first night, I found out I would be sleeping alone in a tent in a Bear Sanctuary with 15 mph winds and off-and-on rain! As with all things in life, fear is often the catalyst for growth, and most of the time, there really is nothing to be scared of!

So there you have it—a glimpse into how I traded my stock broker for a (heavy) backpack and my comfortable bed for a tent. Tune in next week, as I share stories from the hike, beautiful pictures, and lessons from my time on the trail. As a teaser, here are a few pictures from the first night on the trail.

Until next week, stay curious and embrace the adventurous spirit within you! Take a leap of faith, step out of your comfort zone, and face your fears head-on. As they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

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