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I believe in hiking boots. Stiff, clunky and unapologetically dorky, preferably made of waterproof leather. Neat rows of hiking boots line the back wall of REI. An employee who calls himself a “shoe expert” lists the pros and cons of each pair. “I would say that arch support is way more important than ankle support” he rambles. I nod along, even though I have been through this process enough times to have my own opinion on ankle versus arch support.

A constant cycle of buying hiking boots, wearing them out, and buying new ones marks the passing of time.

I believe in the new.

I grew up shy. Hiding behind my parents at dinner parties suited me better than talking to other kids in attendance. My comfort zone became a bubble I rarely left. It granted me security but left me lonely and unsatisfied. When my parents told nine year old me that they were sending me away on a backpacking trip with other girls my age for the summer, all I heard was unknown people, a difficult activity, and a place far from home. The idea terrified me. That summer challenged everything I believed about newness. Instead of the intimidatingly cool mean girls I expected, my trip mates were nervous nine year old girls like me. They became my friends faster...

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