Lists upon lists upon lists

Appalachian TrialsAs part of my preparation for my thru-hike, I decided to read the book Appalachian Trials: a Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail by Zach Davis, who thru-hiked the AT a couple of years ago. His book is mostly geared towards preparing hikers for the mental challenges they’ll encounter, instead of focusing on just the physical – in most situations hikers drop off the trail because of the mental and emotional exhaustion they wind up experiencing, not as a result of injury.

In Appalachian Trials, Zach recommends making a series of lists that will help put into perspective the different reasons for hiking the trail, and also delve into the consequences of not completing the trail. He recommends bringing these lists along for the hike, so that whenever in doubt I’ll be able to consult my lists and remind myself of just why it is I’m in the middle of the woods to begin with.

I’ve written my lists in the journal I plan on bringing with me so that I can always consult them whenever I start to doubt myself or have a really crappy day on the trail. I’d also like to share my lists with everyone – maybe they’ll give you guys a better understanding of just why it is I’m determined to do this. It will also help hold me accountable!

So, without further ado, here are my lists ๐Ÿ™‚ :

I AM THRU-HIKING THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL BECAUSE…

  1. I want to experience an adventure of a lifetime
  2. I want to prove to myself that I can commit to following-through with something even when the going gets tough
  3. I want to live in the moment and do something solely for myself
  4. I want to do something only a rare few will have the pleasure of experiencing
  5. I want my nephew to bring me in for show-and-tell because I’m the most awesome person he knows
  6. I want to be a person brave enough to take chances and follow my dreams, even when nothing is certain or guaranteed
  7. I love being outside and want to live like a hobbit who’s gone off on a grand adventure
  8. I need to take some time for myself to figure out which direction I want my life to go
  9. I want to learn to trust and depend on myself
  10. Life is short and I want mine to be filled with a million amazing moments
  11. It’s something I’ve been obsessing over for the past couple of years
  12. My parents still pay for my health insurance, but this ends next year when I turn 26, so I literally have to do it this summer if I want insurance while I’m on the trail (unless I want to pay for it out-of-pocket, which I so don’t)
  13. I want to get in better shape and have a kickin’ strong bod (just in time for my sister’s wedding in October!)
  14. I want to inspire my family and friends to take chances
  15. For once, I want to do something absolutely bat-shit crazy
  16. I like the idea of showering only once a week and never being expected to wear make-up or shave my legs
  17. I really enjoy going to the bathroom in the woods
  18. I’m interested in meeting new people and making new friends who share similar interests as me
  19. I enjoy sleeping outside under the stars (even though every time a twig breaks or the wind rustles some leaves I’m convinced an animal is outside my tent getting ready to eat me)
  20. I want to experience something worth writing about

WHEN I SUCCESSFULLY THRU-HIKE THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL, I WILL…

  1. Be bursting with so much self-confidence, nothing will be able to keep me down!
  2. Be 5 million steps closer to having a clearer idea of the direction I want my life to move in
  3. Be able to say I’ve accomplished something many people only dream of achieving
  4. Have created so many amazing friendships I’m sure will last me a lifetime
  5. Be a pro at peeing in the woods in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm
  6. Be one more woman to have done so (go girls!)
  7. Have overcome the most difficult challenge of my lifetime
  8. Be able to achieve anything and everything
  9. Be better qualified to work in the backcountry
  10. Probably cry when I summit Katahdin (tears of joy!)
  11. Be unstoppable
  12. Be much better at traveling lightly
  13. Be an inspiration to those around me to follow their dreams
  14. Have amazingly long, healthy, hippie hair
  15. Have a greater appreciation of everything and everyone I left behind
  16. Gorge on fresh watermelon for days and days and days
  17. Be the fittest (and hopefully healthiest) I’ve ever been
  18. Be bursting with life!
  19. Have many stories worth writing about
  20. Be able to fall asleep at night alone in the woods without being afraid I’ll be eaten by a bear

IF I GIVE UP ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL, I WILL (potentially)…

  1. Be so incredibly disappointed in myself
  2. Have let down many people
  3. Instantly regret my decision to quit
  4. Find it hard to believe I’m capable of following-through with anything
  5. Lead a lackluster existence
  6. Lose my passion and identity
  7. “Settle” in most areas of my life
  8. Have no direction for my life to move in
  9. Be unemployed with nothing to show for it
  10. Cry, cry, cry
  11. Miss out on making some amazing friendships
  12. Miss out on writing some kick-ass stories
  13. Feel as if I’m not someone worth investing in
  14. Never get over my fear of sleeping in the woods at night
  15. Not feel comfortable being in the company of others for quite some time
  16. Think of myself as a failure
  17. Not be someone my nephew can look up to (no show-and-tell!)
  18. Not be the person I believe I’m capable of being
  19. Become incredibly unattractive to others

Phew, that’s heavy stuff (and yes, a bit dramatic and over-the-top, but Zach did say to be honest and dig deep!).

If I don’t end up finishing the trail, I’m sure I’ll feel and experience all 19 of those things at some point, if even only for a few seconds; however, despite being a bit too hard on myself sometimes, I’m also incredibly resilient and bounce back from most disappointments rather quickly. If, for some reason, I don’t complete my hike, I’m sure I’ll still feel accomplished and will defintely have learned new things about myself, and you can be certain I’ll still eat my weight in fresh watermelon!

There’s also one other thing you can be certain of:

IF I GIVE UP ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL, I WILL…

  1. MOST DEFINITELY TRY AGAIN

Ta-ta for now ๐Ÿ™‚

3 thoughts on “Lists upon lists upon lists

  1. Pingback: Lists Galore! - Appalachian Trials Blog

  2. hah, I’m glad I’m not the only one convinced there’s an animal outside my tent at every noise. But we will overcome it! Nice lists, and hope to see you on the trail!

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