As I looked down at the new shoes on my feet, I let my mind wander to think of the past ten years out on the trails. The old pair of shoes that I had stuffed into the trunk of a car had carried me through the cool woods of the northern forests of California, had allowed me to cross the sweltering hot deserts in the south, moved me up the jagged rocks that adorned the face of mountains in the east, and near the beautiful blue ocean on that splashed up against the sand on the west coast. For the past ten years, I met new friends, saw jaw-dropping sights, and transformed my life from a nervous small-town teen to a young adult moving forward and growing more confident as the future progressed further.
Looking at the new shoes I suddenly noticed how worn out my old were. It was as if the scrapes, scratches, and discoloration from being bleached by the sun didn’t appear until that moment. I was torn between letting go of my old shoes that gotten me through so much and trying the new ones on, but I knew, while standing firmly in the more comfortable shoes, that it was time to trust a new pair.
I hadn’t even realized how long I had been hiking until I switched into the new pair of shoes. I had always been fond of walking outdoors, but I did not purchase the right gear and get serious about hiking outdoors until I got to college. On campus, there were people who shared an interest in getting outside and playing and enjoying wildlife. I would walk among the trees and lush greenery that adorned Cal Poly Pomona’s large campus and fall even deeper in love with nature.
I realized that hiking these last ten years made the action of walking more than a task of transportation. It made it about the journey and about paying attention to the wonderful things that populate the world around you. I suddenly became a bit smaller in a world that seemed to expand exponentially and going outside and being in nature did that for me.