Indiana’s state nickname is “The Crossroads of America”. What an appropriate name for such a diverse and interesting state. In my mind, Indiana represents a great transition. I no longer feel close to home, yet i feel so far from California. Thankfully, it wasn’t hard to stay motivated with such generous hospitality pushing me forward. I was surprised by how vigorous some of the terrain in Southern Indiana could be, but walking through the hills of the Ohio River Valley only strengthened my willpower. The greatest challenges were often mental rather than physical: learning to cope with the cold, rerouting on a moments notice, homesickness, etc. There’s nothing like a few hours of walking to clear the mind, though, and I quickly adapted.
I traveled out of Indiana twice before making it to the Illinois state line- once to visit my brother in Chicago for Thanksgiving, and once to go back to Maryland to celebrate Christmas with my friends and family. What an amazing sensation it was to see what “normal” used to be, considering I have learned so much from my newly adopted lifestyle. A friend of mine described the sensation well when I asked what it was like to come home from college after her first semester. She noticed that, above all, she had changed. Our hometown was nearly the same, but we just saw it differently. Have you ever heard that Blink182 song where they say “I guess this is growing up”? Well I think i know where they’re coming from. It was great to see all my friends, and I’ve never had a more relaxing holiday before, but i couldn’t fight the fact that my mind was still on the trail. I’m not done just yet. When i reached the crossroads, I put my options in front of me and chose to keep moving. I’m glad i did.
Thanks to Dotty and her husband for helping me be with family for thanksgiving; to Kristen and Tim for keeping my dad momentarily free of worry; to Tom at Camp Chazon for letting me bunk up in the off-season; to the entire town of Friendship for being (you guessed it) very friendly; to Pete from Hanover for being an understanding traveler; to Monica, Joyce, and Bob from the Gallery on Main in Madison for a pleasant stop to rest my feet; to Grace, Mackenzie, Anna, Bridget, Nikki and everyone at Hanover college for being super chill and helping me with a few new dance moves; to Paul and Chris and their family from Lexington for a brand new experience and a new stove too; to LeRoy at LeRoy’s in Lexington for a scenic calender and a fine sandwich; thanks to Steve from Henryville for a small miracle of sorts; to Michael and Don from the Silver Street UMC in New Albany for making sure I am in a good place; to Nathaniel from Maplewood for sharing stories and killing some time; to Tim from the Pfremmers Chapel UMC in Corydon for just making sure things are OK; to Kendra and Larry from Corydon for being great hosts and wonderful people; to Paul and Michelle from Jesus Cares at Exit 0 for changing the world one small act at a time; to Debra from Sulphur for hot chili and a warm smile; to my boy James Cromer at the Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington for being my number 1 source of musical inspiration and for hooking a brotha up- also to Erich for using music for a purpose, Greg and Morris for reminding me how the world can be both big and small, and Olivia and Annie for a lovely (and very spicy) dinner; to Brother Raven from St Meinrad for being so generous and helpful; to Double D’s in Tennyson for the best friend chicken I’ve ever had; to Mary and Bob from Boonville for not treating me like a king and not like their sons (hahaha!); to John and Kate for being so down to earth and proving that what I am doing is not only possible, but also a crazy amount of fun too; to my one and only Nana for being the best Nana of them all; to the endless list of people i should be thanking from Eldersburg for cheering me on- I wouldn’t be able to do this without your support; and to the food pantry in Mount Vernon for kickstarting me back into my hike.
My next big milestone will be crossing the Mississippi river and going under the St Louis arch- the Gateway to the West. Indiana was just a transition. I’ve got a long way to go, but needless to say I’m in for the long haul