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What I'm Leaving Behind

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is often a dream for many; it's an ambitious goal with a beautiful reward.

My hike is quite different from most, namely it is my attempt to answer "What do I want to be when I grow up?", "What is my place in this world?", "How is Long John Silvers still in business?"

Since I have had so many varying careers in my 34 years, such as

  • insurance salesman

  • consumer electronic sales

  • hazardous waste transportation

  • home theatre system designer

  • garbage truck driver/loader

  • Online English as a Second Language Instructor

  • Waiter

  • and a few other odd jobs here and there

I want my hike to bring enlightenment and hopefully provide clarity as to how I can best use my talents to be fulfilled through my work.

But I recognize that taking this journey will take the same amount of time and resources whether it were exclusively for myself OR if I were to make it for a philanthropic endeavor.

Clearly, I chose the latter. (We are so close to making a polio free world!)

Which brings me to this post: What I am (temporarily) leaving behind.

Let me introduce my wife of nine years, Camette Standley. She brings out a more fun side of me and makes me a better person. Last year, she read 81 books (25,753 total pages). She is incredibly smart, and I love her laugh. She is very talented at detailed doodles, called Zentangle.

How did we meet? If enough people ask, I'll disclose this while on the trail. (Let's just say that it's worth telling.)

This past weekend, we did our best to enjoy each other's company before I departed on this wild adventure. We traversed across Pittsburgh to enjoy the many sights and delights.

Yes. We wear matching ugly sweaters.

Yes. She loves cats AND Frida Kahlo (Who is a polio survivor!)

By the way, anyone want to join her at the Frida exhibit in Pittsburgh this month?

We visited Pittsburgh's oldest toy store. Of course, I had to touch the things that make noise.

She loves collecting interesting stuffed animals. This Lynx was made in France and needs a name. Do you have any suggestions?

We had some DELICIOUS Poke Bowls.

We indulged in one of favorite pastimes: driving through Allegheny Cemetery. This particular family plot had us question what the father, named Matthew, must have done to warrant not having his headstone or side of the family stone cleaned. He must have been a real rascal!

Then we have the fur babies. We do not have any human children but love these jerks more than most people. Left to right, Milo Pockapips, Harbinger of the Apocalypse (Age 2), Brixton (Age 5, named after the borough of London where David Bowie was born), Logan (Age 8, named after Wolverine) and Presley (Age 9, after Elvis). The dogs have been together for over five years. For the first year, Milo thought he was a dog, because he was only with this pack. Yes, they pose for pictures because my wife is amazing (duh!).

Then we added Nikatla Tesla (Age 10 months, named after Nikola Tesla) last summer.

You see, my wife and I had an agreement that AFTER I completed the AT, that we would add a second cat. Well, after one poorly planned trip on a poorly marked trail, in an area with no cell phone signal and being two hours late for the pickup,...


the next day we had another cat.

He's a bit of a monster, but he sure loves my wife!

As the saying goes: Happy Spouse, Happy House!

Yet, somehow they all get along.

This is my household and I am going to miss them dearly.

So if you find me mentioning Camette in my posts or videos, please know, I really miss her and she really misses me.

We have never been apart for this long but she knows how important this project is to me.

Honey, I'll be playing the uke from mountain tops for you and sending lots of love. We will be reconnected in Shepherdstown, WV and again at the end of this trip. I love you so much!

I'll stay safe if you stay strong.

Also, don't forget to check the mail and water the plants every now and again.

Owen Paul

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