5 Changes that Happen to You before Your Thru-Hike
These are just a few of the unforeseen changes that I’ve noticed the last week or two as I get closer to my launch date:
- Your playlist changes. I love music. I don’t know that I could complete the hike without it. It helps me to remember things and can have a huge impact on my mood. I’ve already vetoed many songs on my playlist because I associate them with something or someone I don’t want to bring on the Trail with me. Some songs however, I completely enjoy, but for obvious reasons will be taken off of my playlist (mainly because I don’t want to look down and see the title taunting me):
- Come on Home – Franz Ferdinand
- How Do You Go On? – Pete Yorn
- I Can’t Stay – The Killers
- Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
- All the Same – Sick Puppies
- Tap Out – The Strokes
- Long Way Down – Robert DeLong
- Your diet outlook will change. I’m not what you would call a “dieter,” mainly because very little beer is included in a sound diet plan. However, for the most part I eat really well and cook at home a lot. It was my friend actually that pointed out the change in my grocery shopping choices as we were picking up food for the Super Bowl. Of course our game day food choices weren’t super healthy, but that goes without saying. It was more so the fact that as we walked through the canned food aisle I stopped to looked at the calories in those Spam single packets and exclaimed, “Yesss! This has so many calories!” Getting excited about how many extra calories that would add to my Trail dinners is quite the opposite of my usual grocery goals. I then proceeded to buy an abnormally large stash of them for mail drops.
- Your self-image changes. Let’s be real, by no means do I give too many f^cks about how I look, but normally I do put in an effort to look presentable at work and when I go out in public, especially when I am out with other people. With that being said, the last month or so I have noticed even that is changing. My hair appointment came around this month, which I declined because it’s super expensive and my hair is going to hell anyway on the Trail. I’ve kept this month’s appointment just in case I go nuts and decide to shave it all off. On my way to work now, you can find me walking around downtown Indy with my dress pants, my full pack and hiking shoes (to break them in) – super attractive. And unless I have a meeting, don’t expect anything too professional out of me in the wardrobe department; but that might not be such a new development.
- Your time management changes. I have come to the realization that I have a limited amount of time before departure, so before I head out on the Trail I obviously want to spend as much time with my friends and family as possible. Definitely want to see my nieces and nephews beforehand a few times so they don’t forget me and my other sisters don’t become the favorite aunt. I don’t know how normal friendship circles work; I however have many different groupings of friends and would like to spend time with each before I go (all while trying to be as fragile as possible). It’s important for me to keep a good balance of social time and Markie time though, especially during these last couple of weeks. I want to do a couple of mental checks to practice my meditation and make sure I can spend long amounts of alone time with only Markie thoughts going through my mind. Then I also need to leave time for the inevitable organization and planning that goes into preparing to leave for 6 months.
- You have to act more like an adult than ever before. By this I mean you have an increased amount of forethought about your future. I’d like to think I’m decent about short-term goal setting; long-term goals, not so much. But when you’ve made up your mind about thru-hiking, you all of the sudden have to become really good short-term planning. In pretty great detail you have to plan for things you might not know a whole lot about. I have an awesome job, and the lovely HR department makes things super easy on the employees – sign a few papers, and boom: life insurance, health insurance, 403(B) plan, retirement savings plan, alllll taken care of. When you resign however, you have to figure out what the hell an IRA Rollover plan is and weigh your options for health care and life insurance, among other things. (Great resources about health insurance while on the Trail: https://thetrek.co/thru-hiking-health-insurance/). If you’re like me you’ll have to buy out of your lease early, which requires going over your lease agreement and trying to cut a deal as well as setting up arrangements for the move. You also have to budget all of your other bills while you’re gone. Bottom line: It can be exhausting. But the good news is, you become a master planner and you can distract yourself with buying new gear and planning your stops, etc. for the Trail, which is exponentially more fun and worth the effort.
If anyone has any other songs people should consider dropping from their playlist before the Trail, add them in the comments below, I’d be interested to see.*
*If you like Nickelback, do yourself a favor and pretend you don’t. That would be embarrassing.
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Great songs, also check out
Change- blind melon
Follow the sun- xavier rudd
codex – radiohead
Among many others!