Two of my close friends, Paul and Katie, are hiking the Appalachian Trail. The whole thing. They left a week ago today and it's been surprisingly moving for me.
I was not sad to see them go, I was and still am crazy excited for them. More interestingly, they've actually become more present for me. With a GPS coordinate texted to me nightly, it's certainly not the most contact I've had with them, but it's also far from the least.
I don't miss them though. I expected that, but I didn't expect to be passively aware of their daily lives. I knew that they would spend every day camping, hiking, eating, resting; rising and sleeping closer to the rhythm of the sun. I didn't expect to think of them every time I get off the train or step in a puddle or buy lunch at work. I didn't expect to be acutely aware of their current situation.
I guess what's most shocking to me is that these are only two people. There are billions and billions of people that I know exist who aren't eating full meals, but don't have bags of peanut butter. Children who are getting sick from drinking water without a $200, 3 ounce portable filter. Mothers who are carrying pounds of food and gallons of water miles from their sources without the use of a super-supportive hiking backpack. You'd expect that I'd think of those people.
But I don't. Now, sometimes I do. I didn't expect that.