In April of 2014, I embarked on my first thru hike. My previous backpacking and camping experience only include a one mile in and out in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the Porcupine Mountains in 2013. It was exhausting and so challenging. I read various blogs about hiking the Appalachian Trail and simply decided to give it a try. I started in Georgia at 225 pounds, completely out of shape, unaware of the challenges that awaited me, and having no idea if my gear choices would work as I was testing them out on a thru hike. I took it slow and steady for many days hence the trail name of SAS (Slow and Steady). I got into a groove after leaving Georgia and began to fall madly in love with thru hiking. I loved camping, hiking all day, meeting new people from all over the world, visiting trail towns, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I met a hiker who was going for her triple crown and slowly learned of the hundreds of thru hiking trails in the world. I did not make it halfway before I told my family and friends that I was hooked on this lifestyle. Some days were brutal, exhausting, and had me second guessing myself. After 5 1/2 months, I had walked every step of the trail and became a better, strong, and more confident woman. I lost 65 pounds, made life long friends, fell in love with the outdoors and traveling, and most importantly recognized what is really important in life. We have one life to live and there are so many beautiful places in this world to see. I choose to follow my heart and desire to continue to explore. In 2016, I completed the Triple Crown of hiking and have many other hikes I hope to complete. Remember you can do anything you want in life and you are much stronger then you may believe.