Here’s the preparation I’ve managed thus far. This may differ from a lot of the readers here, as I have the added challenge of travelling over from the UK.
I joined a PCT 2017 Thru-hikers community via www.meetup.com. This is a great website for finding like-minded individuals from all walks of life. Here I posted a message explaining my intentions, to which I gained two potential hiking partners in the shape of two North American girls, Caroline and Lucy. Unfortunately, Caroline’s recently had to pull out and it looks like Lucy won’t be flying down from Vancouver for a while after me. Even though it looks like I’ll be going alone, these kind of groups are so informative that it’s worth it.
Applying for my non-immigrant visa was…stressful, but easy enough. The process took a total of about 2-3 months. It felt like most of that time was accumulated in one of the six queues when I visited the US Embassy in London for my visa interview. Remarkably, the interview itself took no more than 30 seconds. Here’s why…
Interviewer: For what purpose do you require this visa?
Me: To hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
Interviewer: The whole thing?
Interviewer: Are you mad? Do you realise how long that will take?
Me: *chuckling along sportingly* Yes.
Interview: Well, good luck!
VISA APPROVED! It can’t have been more than a week later when I received confirmation that my application was successful. Happy days. Everything now felt 100% real.
After getting my visa and subsequent flight booked, I could now start planning thoroughly and gradually accumulate gear (see my gear section). In addition to this I also let the charity know of my plans. By putting obstacles like this in your way, it will make sure that you go ahead with your plans (not that I had or have any intention of ever pulling out).
More Blog updates to come!