Eddie O'LearyComment

What Won't Let You Go?

Eddie O'LearyComment
What Won't Let You Go?

I get it. The Appalachian Trail isn’t everyone’s thing. Hell, it’s not most people’s thing. But we each have our own unique dreams, and I believe we have them for a reason.

I think there’s a difference between dreams and something you really want to do. Dreams are the first thing you think about when you wake up. No matter how many years go by or the circumstances of life you find yourself in, that dream resides within your heart, softly and persistently beckoning you to discover its many mysteries.

The pull may fade at times, but it will not die.

The seed of my dream to hike the entire AT was planted as a kid. Over the years, I’ve had moments where I thought this dream was about to bloom. I also had moments where I barely noticed it at all. But all along, this dream was spreading roots, growing stronger, anchoring tendrils of desire so that nothing could shake it.

I think that’s the difference between dreams and goals. Both are important, and they drive us forward, but goals might change with where we find ourselves in life. And in some sense goals propel us to our dreams. They’re the tools that get us to where we want to go. I want to visit all 100 counties in NC at some point. As I type this, I’ve been to 99. I could easily stop what I’m doing and in 3 hours reach that goal. But I’m not going to do that. Why? Because I’m focused on that deeply burning dream to thru-hike the AT. And you know what, if I never get to that last county, I’m not going to regret that. Not reaching a goal might disappoint temporarily, but not going after your dream lingers like a smoky haze, a burning, choking reminder to return to the fire and get it roaring again.

And now that dream is so close! I can almost tangibly feel, taste, smell it. Infused in the air I breathe.

I don’t pretend to know exactly why this dream won’t let me go. I have a good idea though. But there are millions of other noble dreams out there. Why not any of those?

Again, you don’t have to do something as crazy as hike the AT. I think a lot of times, the ‘big’ dreams get all the attention. Build hospitals in third world countries, travel the world, discover a cure for cancer. But maybe your dream is to be a good parent. That is just as noble and important as anything. Sure, it may not sound so grand, but it is! Because it’s YOUR dream.

So what is that thing that won’t let you go? The thing you’ve been thinking about for years. The thing that gives you chills when you think about it. Whatever that may be for you, go for it! I can tell you it’s quite an invigorating feeling to dedicate yourself to living your dream. Nothing makes you feel more alive. So whatever your dream is, pursue it strongly and live it out!

I am a filmmaker. I am an adventurer. I believe in children. My friends are obsessed with my beard. I am obsessed with beer. I want to embrace and fully live this life I’m blessed with. I want to be known as someone who loves deeply.

On May 16, 2017 I set out on my dream, the adventure of a lifetime: a 2,189.8 mile trek of the Appalachian Trail. I want to push people to live their dreams and pursue their passions.