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  • Writer's pictureStacy Raye Kellogg

Embracing Your Own Dreams: Lessons from an 800-Mile Journey

Embracing Your Own Dreams: Lessons from a 800-Mile Journey by Stacy Raye Kellogg for SOULACY Magazine

On this day seven years ago, I embarked upon a gigantic adventure that I thought would take me from the southern border of the US between California and Mexico all the way up to the northern border of the US between Washington and Canada.

I could've never predicted where that journey would take me instead.

My partner at the time had hiked the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2007 (before we'd met) and it was his dream to one day return to the trail with his sweetheart to hike it together.

When he first told me about this dream, my gut reaction was... yuck.

Born and raised in Southwest Colorado, I was no stranger to camping, and I enjoyed it, but the idea of carrying my clothes, food, and home on my back while hiking for six months didn't appeal to me.


We'd been dating for a few years, and I had hit a plateau in my job where it had grown stale, and it wasn't engaging my strengths or interests anymore.

I had a bucket list a mile long (still do!) and he was someone who had this one thing that mattered the most.

There was a wise part of me that knew that if I could pour so much of my time, energy, and attention into someone else's dream, then I could also do that for myself.

I was craving more of something but I wasn't sure yet what it was.

Like so many Americans, I had been shocked by the 2016 election and was heartbroken by the 63 million votes (43% of women, and mostly white women) for he-who-shall-not-be-named.

As a survivor of sexual violence and a very engaged board member at the time, I decided to hike the trail as a fundraiser for The Breathe Network, a nonprofit that connects survivors of sexual violence with trauma-informed, holistic, sliding-scale healing arts modalities.

It felt important to contribute something towards making the world a better place when our country seemed to be swirling down the toilet.

It felt good to me to have my own reason for hiking the trail.

Looking back now, I think I was also trying to counterbalance the fact that it was his dream and not really mine.

After a lot of thought and processing with dear friends and my therapist, I decided that investing in my relationship and using the opportunity to raise money was way more important than staying the course of my regular life.

So I went.

Stacy Raye Kellogg on the Pacific Crest Trail

There are some parts of this grand adventure that I'll appreciate for the rest of my life, like hiking as the sun rises or sets or knowing that my body can hike 20+ miles in one day while wearing a full backpack.

I’ll never forget the people I met along the way—for the most part, thru-hikers are a special breed of humans with an amazing sense of humor and a kind willingness to help each other out.

And, to say the trail was difficult would be quite an understatement. It completely kicked my ass.

Mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. There were many days where I was limping because of a sore right ankle and battling [two (!) different pairs of] the wrong shoes. Other times I suffered from debilitating anxiety just hearing the sound of the rushing rivers we'd have to cross.

The Sierra Nevada mountains had an unusually large amount of snow in 2017 so the river and creeks had more water in them than they normally do—up to my hips at times. Two women died that year from getting swept away during river crossings.

I was really lonely too. My ex's desired level of social interaction was quite different than mine. He was perfectly happy to walk for hours without saying a word—me, not so much.

There were so many moments along the way that I wanted to quit hiking.

During our desert days when water and shade was scarce... My constant fear of rattlesnakes made quitting pretty tempting, too...

There was also one very memorable moment was when we met up with my friends who were going to Coachella (we were 200 miles into the trail) and saying goodbye to them and their gorgeous Airbnb with a pool felt like torture.

It wasn't until hiking 800 miles between April - July of 2017 and reconnecting with friends on a trail break that I let myself realize how miserable I'd become.

The last section of the trail that I hiked ended in a town called Independence, California. (!!)

Thanks to 50+ donors, I raised $10,170 for The Breathe Network (every donation was generously matched by my ex's family). I’m so grateful to all of you who donated—your support meant the world to me!

In a lot of ways, quitting that trail was harder than continuing to hike.

I was afraid of letting my partner down, letting my family down, letting each of my generous donors down.

I was afraid of being seen as a quitter [again].

The phrase "you've made your bed, now lie in it" echoed around in my head (minus the bed part). "You've made your sleeping bag, now lie in it [?!]."

But underneath all of my fears and doubts, there was a wise part of me that knew that if I could pour so much of my time, energy, and attention into someone else's dream, then I could also do that for myself.

My 800-miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017 greatly informs my coaching today. I know firsthand what it's like to give everything you've got into supporting someone else's dream. Your boss, your partner, a family member, a friend. It's easier, safer. And when we do this, we're seen as a generous, giving, helpful person.

Which is tempting. All of this is not our fault.

As women, we're conditioned to put everyone else's needs and dreams before our own, and if there's any scraps of time or energy or attention leftover, those can go towards our needs and dreams.

It leaves us feeling quite empty. Neglected. And unknown by ourselves and others.

It doesn't have to be this way.

When I finally quit the trail, as tough as it was, I slowly began to rebuild trust with myself that had eroded over time.

There was a part of me that was angry with myself for overriding my very first gut instinct for so long.

It took a lot of courage to listen to the little voice that just wasn't happy and stop listening to the part of me that wanted people to admire me or wanted to hike at least 1,000 miles or was certain that there was more I could learn from the experience.

I realize now that just not liking it was always enough.

After some time, I learned how to have my own back again.

To give myself permission to hold still long enough to listen to what I need and want.

And to stop blaming myself for being better at tuning into what other people need and want more than what I need and want.

The patriarchal society we live in designed it that way on purpose.

No wonder we feel such heavy guilt when we prioritize our own dreams.

What could be possible if you made more room for your needs and dreams to grow?

I'd imagine more joy, more pride, more inner alignment, more energy.

If the majority of your attention right now is focused on other people's needs and dreams, I can help you.

My 1:1 coaching packages start with three one-hour sessions and I have three different equity-based pricing tiers ranging from $100 - $267 per hour. Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation chemistry session with me right here.


TLDR: Stacy Raye Kellogg shares her transformative experience of hiking 800 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, not for her own dream, but for her partner's. She discusses the challenges, self-discovery, and the importance of prioritizing one's own dreams and desires.


Stacy Raye Kellogg is a leadership and courage coach who helps people-pleasers and high-achievers weed out the daily energy-draining bullshit and cultivate more courage without sacrificing their values.



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