US$2,296.00raised of $2,500.00 goal goal
No more donations are being accepted at this time. Please contact the campaign owner if you would like to discuss further funding opportunities
I just turned 35. And to celebrate that, and some other significant personal milestones, I am heading out on the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) in early April. Nearly 800 miles in length, from Mexico to Utah, I'll have plenty of time to complete what this journey really means for me, both metaphor, and victory.
Some of you know that the last few years have been a bit rocky for me. I left the ranch and my partner and moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2016. In my stress and disorientation, I reached to old habits: drugs and alcohol. I accumulated credit card debt, got enmeshed with a drug dealer, and basically spiraled out of control.
But the Universe is a pretty up-front teacher. After a scrape with the law after Christmas of 2017, and a frank conversation with a true friend, I realized I had a problem, and I needed help. In March of 2018 I enrolled in Intensive Outpatient Therapy for 9 months, paying for it out of pocket. Because the two jobs I worked gave me close proximity to alcohol, I stepped back from those managerial positions and worked as a housepainter, gardener, stone mason's assistant, cook, and finally, started my own gardening business, Must Like Plants last Fall.
I moved out of my downtown apartment (above a bar, no less), and started a series of housesitting and couch-surfing adventures. Much to my absolute chagrin, I used an EBT card and stood in line at the Food Bank for the first time. Yet my needs were always met, and sometimes, my wants too. The generosity of other people has astonished me.
I've hit a few bumps, and faced an insane amount of challenges. This winter, when my hand was injured and I wouldn't work, I started reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes' The Women Who Run With the Wolves. It couldn't have been a better fit for where I was at in life, and the idea of a visit to the desert started forming.
While I have lived in beautiful places all over the US, the desertscape is truly the outward manifestation of my inscape. After so much time and energy invested in my healing, my sobriety, my recovery, I craved a space to simply be.
A few weeks ago, researching campsites in the southwest, I came upon the AZT. Immediately I knew that was my trip. I haven't backpacked in years, let alone in a desert, but I have accumulated gear and bought my plane ticket.
I am giving myself two months to do this hike. I don't know if I will finish it. I don't know how long it will take, or all of the why's of it. I just know I need to go, so I am going. The lucidity of sobriety has recharged my life. I am learning to love who I am, and what I am capable of, and to follow my intuition.
There is NO WAY in the world that I could be where I am today, in a supportive, positive community, without the individuals that have taken a chance on me, investing time and resources, listening to late night rants and teary-eyed heartbreaks, witnessing frustrations and grown-up tantrums. So many people, near and far, have taken a chance on me, and now it's time for me to take a chance on myself.
So this is my long-winded way of saying for my birthday this year, I would love nothing more than to have a little help with this trip. Without a permanent residence, and all of my other belongings tucked in storage, I don't need or want any more things: I want to experience this way of being, in a landscape I miss more than I can describe. Prayers, thoughts, notes, hugs, phone calls—you can't put a price on those either.
Thank you for hearing me. For listening. For being here.
And I’m Off! )And I have a blog)Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 03:08 am
I am finally catching up on my narrative journey...I welcome you all to check out my blog, where I will posting current updates from now on. Here’s the link to my blog: https://aztorbust.weebly.com/adventures.htmlI also share photos on Instagram and Facebook, if you do social media. Will try to make first
I’m Home!Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 07:38 am
I made it to Arizona! A stop at REI to find a replacement layer for one that got locked in a friend’s house last minute... I found a Mamut pullover with pockets and a drawstring hood that I’m trying out, and picked up a fresh hat for good measure.My second. . . . .
BookishUpdate posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 03:46 am
When I came across just one of these petite books, I dumped the ultralight ideal for some old-school appeal: perfectly sized to travel with me one at a time on my journey, I have the whole little library. These are beautiful hardback editions, with a pearlescent sheen that looks a. . . . .
9200 Calories + Flat Rate Mailer= Intricate DanceUpdate posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 08:49 pm
Folks, I have done it! I managed to sort out the calories needed for 3 plus days—9200—and fit everything in a flat rate padded envelope. After 5 trys. And maybe a few swears.Mysterious Ziploc substances are as follows, left to right: Powdered coconut milk; chia seeds; hemp seeds; millet and. . . . .
WE DID IT!Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 03:59 am
You all made this happen...with outside donations included, my goal is met and surpassed. I have so much gratitude in my heart for you all. Stay tuned for more updates!
What I'm Wearing on the TrailUpdate posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 09:40 pm
Here's what I am bringing so far. (I have a few more items en route and will post when I decide on them.)Left to right:1) Outdoor Research gloves: free box find, great condition, I think I’ll want these for the first bit2) Cotopaxi Fuego LT, 950 Fill Water-Resistant Down Jacket:. . . . .
It's GOING to happen!Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 05:21 am
35 is Shaping Up to the Be Best Year Yet, thanks to you all.
We're SO CLOSE!Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 04:28 am
Video Update!Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 03:23 am
In all my (green) glory talking trail food, clothing, and gratitude. Because I am an animated talker, you may have trouble hearing me as I hover back and forth near the horrible Apple speakers. Headphones or full volume should do the trick. I'll have a phone soon too, so this
10 Essential PiecesUpdate posted by Laura Jean Schneider at 09:34 pm
We’re over HALFWAY! Amazing, you guys! At $3.13 per mile, that's 471 miles funded! Thank you all so very much.Because I know I’ll be carrying a significant amount of water at certain points, and that the elevation will be constantly changing, I am being pretty careful about what weight I. . . . .
Donors & Comments
Create a support campaign in seconds!
Support campaigns allow you to get your own fundraising page dedicated to 'AZT or Bust!'
You'll have your own unique link that you can share, and all funds raised will go directly to 'AZT or Bust!'. It's the ultimate way to show your support!Create support campaign