On March 15, former Camp Arcadia summer staff member, Aaron Hohle, began hiking the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200 mile trek that goes from Georgia to Maine. Aaron left his comfortable life in Austin, Texas where he had a good job working for Apple Inc. He is driven by a desire to contemplate the bigger questions in life and to listen to God and discern a calling for his life. In our e-newsletters this spring and summer we will be sharing some of Aaron’s thoughts on his faith and other issues facing his generation.
Here is an introduction from Aaron
My name is Aaron Hohle. I am a single man, just a shade under 27 years old. My living happens in the bubble of bliss that is Austin, Texas. My working happens at Apple Inc., where I train sales representatives for the online store. Life is good. I decided to put it all behind me and spend the spring and summer hiking the Appalachian Trail by myself.
In many ways I am a stereotype of my generation: I change my plans on the fly, I look at my phone while people are talking to me, and I disengage when people bring up politics. While those things are fair generalizations for my age group, there is another that unifies me with my peers more than the rest: I am skeptical of the church.
Most studies report that young people leave the church at a 60-70% rate after high school. I know I did, for awhile anyway. And that’s only counting those that were there to begin with. Some might chalk that up to us being morally defunct, but I see that as an overly simplified explanation. Maybe my reflections over the next few months can shed a bit of light on this demographic.
I have had a pretty easy life up to this point, and honestly, I haven’t needed to try very hard to obtain it. The world has asked little of me, other than to “stay within the lines,” and that if I do, I’ll have success. Yet, I’m not sure humans really want a life of comfort. We gravitate towards it, that’s for sure, but deep down I think we really want to work hard – to be passionately involved in something that is bigger than ourselves. We don’t want luxury as much as we want purpose.
I fully recognize how absurd it is to complain about my ease of life and to give up a good job. There are people around the world who would give anything to trade places with me. But I want more. I want to spend the next five months, hiking 2,200 miles by myself trying to discern my calling in life. Distanced from the world of noise and busyness, I hope to be able to listen to God.
I’ve chosen this particular experience because it will challenge me; really challenge me, in body, mind, and spirit. I pray I’ll be sharpened, and maybe, just maybe, I will come out of it better equipped to engage the unique challenges of my generation. And by sharing this journey with you, maybe you can be too.
You can read more about Aaron’s trek on his blog: imethimonthetrail.com.