I did it. I made it to the starting line of the Pacific Crest Trail. After all the logistical planning, the equipment purchasing, the meal preparation, the packing, repacking, and the training hikes… I finally made it to Campo, California. I’m so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed to be here.

The Southern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail at the Mexican border in Campo, California

As I stand here with my back to the Mexican border squinting in the morning sun, I take a moment to consider the path stretching before me 2,650 miles north to Canada.

I touch the Southern Terminus Monument, and start to tear up. It is an emotional moment embarking on something at once so physically grueling and emotionally life changing. Approximately six months of walking are about to begin.

I readjust my pack, thankful that all that I need for security, protection, warmth, nourishment and hydration are contained within its expensive frame. It turtles to my back and will help me survive the challenges along my journey. Tugging at my hat and gloves, I consider how the extreme temperature fluctuations of the desert will be my first challenge tonight.

My brain pivots back to thoughts of gratefulness. It’s taken me so much to get here. Hell, I had to fly all the way from Argentina to start this adventure! And now it’s going to take so much more for me to get all the way to Canada. With hesitation, I bite at my lip. Why am I doing all of this? I wonder again. Oh yeah, because I can.

Let’s stop here and consider the luck and wealth of resources I have to be from a country where I can basically choose to be unemployed and homeless (in a very expensive tent and sleeping bag) for six months while I wander the mountains in John Muir fashion, just to enjoy the stunning landscapes of my country. Along the way, I will have free places to spend the night, rides offered to grocery stores for food shopping, a fancy filter to purify my river water and restaurants and business who will charge all my electronics so I can send you jaw-dropping photos of my happy adventures along the way. I am enormously privileged.

As I turn around and look at the expanse of the Mexican border wall, a wall that divides two countries while also dividing our own, I realize my own privilege is even larger than its girth. It did take a lot for me to get here, but I didn’t have to leave my country behind, walk days for my safety, carry my child through the Panama jungle, swim a river in hopes of a better life, or climb over a wall.

I think about them, all those that came before me, perhaps slipping over this exact section of wall and heading out into the vast and very unwelcoming desert landscape surrounding me now. And then I think about all those yet to come.

The wall that divides the US /Mexican border at Campo, California

In an attempt to acknowledge my privilege and my passion for doing good in the world, I’d like to use my Pacific Crest Trail hike to bring awareness to the migrant experience. No matter how you feel about this issue, migrants are human beings who initiate their dangerous journey often without food, water, resources, or any support; the crossing of the desert can sometimes be their demise.

Border Angels is a humanitarian organization who works along the US California / Mexico border by helping migrants and refugees survive. They’ve been around since 1986 and were initially formed to help secure rights for migrant farmworkers. Now their work mostly encompasses water drops in the desert, supporting migrant shelters on both sides of the border, reuniting families and providing legal representation to vulnerable children. Looking out onto this harsh landscape, it’s impossible to think anyone could survive without some support and resources. While I have a fancy backpack, many migrants survive solely from the work of organizations such as Border Angels.

Hiking the PCT is an enormous undertaking and many of you asked me if there was something you could do to help me. Thankfully, I have many friends who have offered their kindness and support which has enabled me to take on this endeavor. Now I’d like to send some resources to those who really need it. If you would like to support my hike, consider donating directly to borderangels.org. They are a non-profit organization doing good work down here. If we all take a moment to acknowledge our privilege and share a little of our resources, they will continue to save lives here at the border.

Because you are making this donation directly, I won’t know of your generosity. Please let me know, so I can publicly acknowledge your kindness and support for those who most need it.

Thank you for your consideration.

Looking out from the wall to the inhospitable desert landscape of Southern California