Confessions of a Soon-to-be SOBO Thru-Hiker
Who am I?
I hate introductions so I’ll make this short. I’m Amie, 27 years old and originally from Kent in the United Kingdom – that’s right, I’ve been assigned by dear Lizzy to take back the colonies one state at a time! I’ll be starting my SOBO thru-hike on July 9.
Why Am I Hiking the AT?
1. Why not? Haven’t you heard it’s the hip thing to do?
2. Bill Bryson. Please tell me you’ve read his book, “A Walk in the Woods?” If you sat there shaking your head you need to go ahead and put that on the top of your to-do list. The movie too. You won’t be disappointed.
3. And that was the last time anybody saw her. Ninety percent of people laugh, comment, or look concerned when I tell them I’m hiking the AT. They think I’m destined for failure. They’re not alone, either, because I think that too. But that’s all the more reason to do it. I’ll go find a salon somewhere on the bad days when I’m close to quitting. There’s nothing quite like a mani and pedi to put the cheer back in you. Shhh, hush now – don’t go and burst my bubble… just let me think this is possible. Can you tell my love for the great outdoors is a recent thing?
4. I’m a real-life Bridget Jones. I ran to the Middle East after a breakup, clueless to the curse that had been placed upon me at birth. Thanks, mum! I lost a little bit more of myself with every failed relationship. My self-confidence and ambition to do anything was crushed with the words of an onion. Yes, I said onion – have you seen that video of that little girl who compares boys to onions because they make you cry? It’s hilarious. Anyway, as a distraction I turned to travel and things started looking up. Adventure was my healer. I learned that I was capable of doing things completely out of my comfort zone – even if I cried and was pushed in the process. Baby steps. There’s still a part of me that feels lost, and I’m not entirely sure why, but things have been better lately. The curse is breaking, I think – but you can’t have the details because I don’t want to jinx it. I’ve always thought the trail would be.. you ready for that old cliche? One big journey of self-discovery. A place where I could restore that lost self-confidence, and a place where I could realize that I’m capable of far more than I thought possible. A place where I could become fully independent and happy with myself. We shall see!
5. Kate. Kate was 29 when she suddenly passed away. It made me realize that life isn’t fair, can be cruel, and is just too short not to do the things you want to. The AT has been on my tra(vel)(buc)ket list for a few years now. She’d supported my crazy thru-hiking fairy tale despite everybody else thinking I’d lost my marbles. It’s now or never!
Top Five Worries
1. Bears. Those big, fluffy cuddle monsters are top of the list. I wasn’t worried about them until a few weeks ago. You’ve heard of the infamous bear survival tip: Find someone fatter or slower than you. Right? Well, I had one better – I had my dad. He’d either jump in front of his precious daughter to save her from a tragic mauling, or I’d push him in the path of a ravenous beast because he’d upset me that day. The latter being more probable. I jest, of course. Who wouldn’t feel a lot safer with their dad? Sadly, I’m a lone wolf now.
2. Mosquitoes. They love me. Unfortunately for me, it’s the unconditional kind too. Buggers.
3. Getting lost. Have you ever ended up on the other side of an island when you were just two minutes from reaching your destination because you can’t follow a sat nav? Yep, I’ve got my hands up over here. I’m guilty. I know what you’re thinking, that 90 percent of people who don’t think I can pull this off probably have reason to think so… but, Google Maps. Google wanted me to turn onto roads that were dead ends, no entryies or just plain old dirt lots with no road in sight. Wasn’t my fault. I’ll have maps and a compass, and I’m toying with Guthook’s AT app, so I’m sure that between both of those and the blazes I won’t wander off too far into unknown territory. Gonna get myself a Garmin satellite messenger too. I’ve got a person who’s going to keep tabs on my whereabouts and call me stupid if I walk in the opposite direction. Handy, right?
4. Water. My name is Amie and I’m a Coke addict. Admitting is the first step in the recovery process, isn’t it? I’m not sure I hate anything more than water. Actually, there’s ham but we won’t get into that. How on earth will I cope with water as a replacement? Nice, bug-ridden, germ-infested water. The adjustment will be hard, but on the upside it’ll probably do wonders for my skin. Swings and roundabouts.
5. Makeup. You might laugh, but have you ever faced the brutality of a seven-year-old? “Miss, are you sick? Miss, what’s wrong with your face? Miss, you looked better when your lips were red. Miss, you have makeup on, you look soooooo pretty today.” I love the little munchkins but they don’t do anything for self-confidence, other than destroy it. Anyone who knows me knows I love my makeup. Now, I can’t contour or do any of that fancy stuff, but I like my face with the war paint on. It’s not a vanity thing, it’s a safety blanket thing. Especially when I throw up my hair in a bun, or leave it to dry a frizzy mess. Now I’ve got to have rubbish hair and a rubbish face for the next six months – Instagram is going to have a lot of back to camera selfies!
Am I Crazy?
Perhaps. Most probably. Aren’t we all? I mean, I’m a girl who hates the cold, despises bugs and anything that crawls, jumps out of her skin over the silliest of things, loves makeup, long soaks in the bath, and toilets that flush – but I’m also a girl with something to prove. And hey, if I can somehow pull this off – anybody can!
That’s a wrap for now folks. Stay tuned for my next post.
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