Anxiety About Anxiety: Building a Tramily
I am not your traditional “anxious” person. I don’t always sweat the small stuff, though I sometimes am prone toward micromanaging. But this blog is about anxiety as it pertains to the coming hike, and not regular life.
Of course, I have anxiety and doubts about the AT forming clouds all around my mind. “What ifs” circle my brain often, but I quickly suppress them. I have my mantras (“It’s just one foot in front of the other”), but when you land on your hip on a moss-slickened downslope, that mantra is kind of turned on its head. Going ass-over-tea-kettle will do that to you. But I think I have a plan for managing trail anxiety. Which just leaves me with tramily anxiety.
My life is filled with a galaxy of friends; some orbit closely; some orbit so far out, their path traverses mine only occasionally. So I have my moons and I have my Halley’s comets, all of them dear to me. When I’m on the trail, everyone will be, in a way, a moon in close orbit. It’s that dynamic that has me a bit anxious.
Why So Skittish?
When I tell acquaintances I’m shy, they tend to snicker. After all, I used to anchor news broadcasts and host a morning radio show. How could I possibly be shy? Well, there was a microphone between me and 20,000 people. I didn’t have the immediate feedback of body language, eye contact, etc. In a way, I had a captive audience. Interaction in the real world is much harder, and yeah—I’m shy.
Being shy means I have a handful of really close friends. In my life, I’ve had two or three “take it to the grave” friends. The ones who know everything about me. The ones who could ruin my Supreme Court nomination*.
So where do I start on the trail? How do I build a tramily? I sincerely want to meet, bond, and connect with people I would never have crossed paths with before. I want to build a closeness and community. I just have to figure out how to translate a years-in-the-making relationship mind-set into a days-in-the-making mind-set. I need to learn to open myself up when filling my water bottle at the stream next to someone, and not wait until 50 miles down the trail.
I’m shy, but I’m not closed to embracing everything the trail has to offer. If I walk 100 miles with a new friend who wants to “take it to the grave,” I will be more than willing to listen and help shoulder their burden. We all have a story, whether life-altering or not, and I want to hear those stories. Just know that I’m shy, and you might have to seek out my ear. But I’m here to listen to whatever the trail may prompt you to say, and to walk however many miles you want to walk. Let’s share the journey.
*Quote attributed to Jugs. RIP, I miss you.
Image via Creative Commons
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