Beth Meadows

My Why

Beth MeadowsComment

So why now?

At the beginning of December 2018, I went up to my parents cabin and had a Planning weekend for 2019.

I love planning.

I love goal-setting.

I love resolutions.

And I love this new-ish ritual of setting aside a weekend to think about the year ahead, in business and personal ways.

I knew I wanted to do something different, and I wanted it to involve travel. The three main ideas I laid out were:

  1. Apply to artist residencies
  2. Go on an art tour road trip. (Sort of like a budding musician goes on a house tour, I’ve had a similar idea for art.)
  3. Hike the AT

I did research on each and mapped out a general idea of what each would look like. And then I slept on it.

I chose hiking the AT in the end mainly because of how extended of a trip it would be for the least amount of money, and it could come the quickest. I also knew that it would help me build some much needed confidence to do the other ideas one day, because I do still want to do them. I also didn’t need to apply to anything, which I loathe doing.

While I have liked living in Knoxville, I’ve felt the need for a change. I don’t know if that means moving, but I figure I could give it some thought while I hiked. Well, a lot of thought.

I think the main thing I wanted from doing this thru hike was a nice transitional period, from the old ways of doing things to something new. I have a lot of ideas for how I want my art career to go, etc, and having a break before making those official changes feels like the right call.

I also want to build some self-confidence that, for whatever reason, I lack. I’m not sure how much I’ll go into detail about this here, but it’s something I’m thinking a lot about, and I’d love to be able to write about someday. As you can imagine, this is a difficult subject to talk publicly about.

But I will say this about it. Wrapped up in this issue of a lack of self-confidence is a manifestation of a lot of chronic physical pain that I intend to solve while I’m hiking. There is a calling I strongly feel, to heal myself by walking in the woods.

So here is my Why, which now that I’m on the trail, has been crucial to remind myself of. If you know your why, and it remains important and healthy, it will help you put one foot in front of the other. Again and again.


The “map” I made during my planning weekend that helped me decide to hike the AT. My why is up in the top left corner, the first thing I wrote. 

The “map” I made during my planning weekend that helped me decide to hike the AT. My why is up in the top left corner, the first thing I wrote.