I know some of you won't consider it a total failure. Plenty of people have been telling me that it's about the journey, not the destination. That I accomplished something by hiking 750 miles, that a quarter of the Appalachian Trail is farther than most people get. That I should hike only as far as I want and to hell with everyone else's opinions.
In a better world, I would be able to guilt myself into continuing. I'm a big believer in duty, sticking to your word, and forcing yourself to do things you don't want. I feel as though I let myself and a lot of other people down because I don't have the strength to force myself right now.
Part of the reason that I left the trail is financial. I'm scraping the bottom of my money barrel. I got back from Armenia 11 months ago, and moved back to New York, which, in retrospect, was not the best decision. I was unemployed for two months, and resorted to charging everything on my credit card. I've been doing the same thing for most of the hike, and, while I still have some money, it is beyond time for me to get a job.
The other main reason for ending my hike is that I feel ready to move on (which is a new-agey way of saying that I'm bored). As John said in a previous post, anything looks more appealing than hiking right now. Finding a dead-end job to pay off my credit card bills seems more enticing. That probably says something about my readiness to complete this hike.
I've given up on the goal of hiking all 2,181 miles this year. It's difficult to admit, but I've moved on from what I wanted three months ago. Or, I've modified my goal. I do want to keep hiking the trail. I'd like to some day be able to say that I hiked the whole thing. I may even do some more hiking this year. But I'll never be a thru-hiker.
John is continuing the hike by himself. I'll still be contributing to this blog, since I feel I have some more things I could say about this experience.
To the people who supported this venture, with their gifts, kind words, trail magic, care packages, and money, thanks for believing in this adventure. I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who helped me make this hike a reality. Sorry it didn't turn out the way I'd planned.