If you’re going to gain any information or enjoyment from my narratives, it might be helpful to have a basis for understanding who I am and where I’m coming from.
I’m Sarah, and I’m 31 years old. Changes resulting from the covid-19 pandemic swayed my life in a few different ways, so from March of 2020 until this past August of 2021 I called Huntsville, Alabama my home. I recently returned to the Chicago area where I’m from, and am still employed full-time as a flight attendant as I have been since 2014.
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, in what I would call a middle class home. We lived in a great neighborhood with great friends and a close family. I’ve been very blessed. I have one sibling – my younger brother, who lives out of state. Our mom passed away my senior year of high school, probably the biggest family-related event to shape us both.
Music was always a huge part of my life. I grew up playing piano and was always involved in music at school, playing percussion. I went on to march four years of indoor drumline and three years of drum corps. I don’t have any stories from those times on this blog, despite those experiences being a huge part of what molded me. During that same timeframe I went to college at the University of Illinois, where I majored in psychology and minored in music, and continued to participate in the drumline all four years.
When I graduated in 2013, I had no idea what to do with myself. I came back home, to the house my dad moved into upon getting re-married a few years after my mom passed away. I went back to working at a local deli/meat market owned by a close family-friend, where (following in my mom’s footsteps) I had worked on and off in high school and on college breaks. I told myself that if I couldn’t figure out what to do, I’d start applying to be a flight attendant, because that seemed fun and I had always liked the idea. I took up a second job at Starbucks in the meantime, finally got hired at a regional airline after loads of applications, and was off to training that January, when I was 23.
I continued to live with my dad and step mom for a year and a half post graduation, very fortunately saving me on rent money. In the fall of 2014 I moved to the city of Chicago, where I would reside over the next 5 years. All the while, I kept applying at the major airlines, and was hired and began training at United in early 2015. I thought I might have to move for a while after going through training in Houston and then getting based in San Francisco, but I was fortunate to be there only a month before I got my transfer back to Chicago and called my roommates to tell them I was coming home!
For most of that time, I was living the flight attendant life, making a point to travel to see friends when I could. It was important to me to keep music in my life though, so I acquired a spot in the Chicago Bulls Drumline for three years, and then with one overlapping year, the Chicago Bears Drumline for four years. I also had the chance to learn what it was like to work 9-5 in a corporate office when I applied for a special assignment twice at the airline, each one lasting 4-5 months.
It was in 2019, post break-up of a long term relationship, that I was really able to go for a big goal and dream and start hiking the Appalachian Trail. I had been planning to hike the trail before the breakup and hadn’t known things were going to pan out the way they did, but it does turn out to be a little easier to leave on a long hike while you’re completely single. My backpacking experience was minimal, but not zero. I’d been on a few weekend backpacking trips.
Being from the midwest, the bulk of my time outdoors came from running, biking, or walking through forest preserves, car camping, or going on day hikes while on layovers or traveling. I knew I could handle myself largely because I knew I already enjoyed being out hiking, could handle myself traveling alone, and had the lessons drum corps taught me about pushing through something physically and mentally tough for days on end. Most backpacking knowledge I had came directly from my brother over several years’ time, who has more experience than me and has always been willing to give me advice.
From first setting foot on the Appalachian Trail in 2019 until the current times of 2022, I’ve completed about 1,800 miles of the trail in both large and small sections, and most frequently write about my quest toward finishing it.
I’m no expert in any of the topics of the drumline world, being a flight attendant, hiking, traveling, or just living in general. I’m a person experiencing these things and who enjoys sharing them from my viewpoint!