Getting Honest About My Motives Helps Me With My Hiking

Getting honest about my motives

Hawk by D McGarrity

Getting honest about my motives helps me with hiking and peace of mind. And it can help you with yours, too. However, getting honest about my motives didn’t help me in life until after I got sober. These days, getting honest about my motives keep me in check and gives me peace of mind. I used to float through life causing trainwrecks and dumpster fires because I thought that was what life was about – chaos, mayhem, and sadness. When I started getting honest about my motives, my life changed dramatically. I used to do things from an ego-centered place, and now I do them from a mindful-centered place and that leads to peace of mind.

Darlene, what the heck are you talking about? Well, without getting preachy, I want to share some valuable words with you. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. This shares the same treehouse as hike your own hike, but not in a ‘mind your own business’ kind of way. It’s more like a ‘why am I really doing this’ kind of way.

Getting honest about my motives.

You know, that little inner dude or dudette that points out all the goal smashing accomplishments of other dudes and dudettes?

Oh, look at her go. She’s doing thirty-mile days! I must keep up. Meanwhile, your feet are screaming a different song and you’re hearing it loud and clear. But you are also ignoring it. Or maybe, Wow, look at all that ultralight gear! Man, I bet I could hike faster without all this weight. Well, you probably could, however, what about the rest of your life? The lighter the gear the heavier the price most times. Not everyone can afford ultra-light and sometimes ultra-light isn’t practical anyway. I have to be the best! 

Newsflash: your ego is not your amigo. The ego is the part of you that reacts to outside forces that hurt your pride. Ego really gets in the way of being practical. It makes stupid decisions based on false motives. The ego is what gets us to say dumb stuff, buy stuff we can’t afford, or hike way beyond our capabilities. How do I know this?

Once upon a time.

A lot of my life decisions have been ego-based which lead to regret later. But this decision to thru-hike the AT by myself (meaning, without my husband) is not an ego-based motive, and I am proud of myself for that. I really got honest with myself when I decided to do this and made a list of pros and cons. I calculated the cost (roughly) and the impact of me being gone for 4 – 6 months. I then did an honest inventory of my life and all the other stuff I have done in the last two years and realized I have made decisions based on my ego and they didn’t turn out so well (feel free to ask me about it on the trail). Some points are buying a bass guitar and becoming an internet DJ – both of which I love – but I digress.

It feels better when I honor my truth.

While I love hiking and being outdoors, there are times when I want no parts of the culture. Sometimes, I just want to sit alone by a stream or drive aimlessly on a road to nowhere. I have this little thing that I talk about a lot and did on one of my YouTube videos but may have cut it out of the final draft. And my big thing is self-honesty. Honoring my own truth. Back when I was first in outpatient, my counselor asked me if I could use drugs without consequences, would I? I said, “HECK NO.” He reminded me that ‘there were no consequences.’ I told him straight up, “But there are consequences. And they are severe.”

I can’t play games with my own mind, man. Honesty with the self is always paramount. This goes for anything, including a whopper of a hike coming in somewhere around 2,220 miles. My who, what, where, when, and mostly my why are paramount in my planning. It’s why I’ll hike my own hike and also blue blaze if necessary. I am hiking the Appalachian Trail for internal bliss, not external validation.

Happy Hiking!

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 4

  • pearwood : Dec 15th

    Well said. I’ve been reading “Appalachian Trials”. I wrote out the lists. Most interesting. I’m thinking about how I want to formulate them for publishing here.

    • Darlene M : Dec 15th

      Hey Steve, that’s awesome.
      I too am reading Appalachian Trials!
      It is helpful for sure.
      Take care!

  • Shannon : Dec 18th

    Beautifully written post, Darlene! This really resonated with me especially when you said “Newsflash: your ego is not your amigo.” Simple, yet powerful! I myself suffer from the “disease to please” and often struggle to live authentically and make decisions for myself, not what others expect of me or what society deems as the “smart or right” thing to do. Living life for everyone but yourself is a recipe for disaster and can lead to self-sabotaging, which I too have dealt with and am trying to learn from my mistakes. You are obviously very grounded, self-aware, and honest, with yourself and others. These are truly wonderful qualities to have and will support you on your journey. I really value your perspective and am grateful for your honesty and willingness to share it with us and on the AT. I look forward to your future posts and wish you nothing but the best as you prep for your big adventure!

    • Darlene M : Dec 20th

      Hi Shannon,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It really makes me feel happy that you are on the right track with your awareness. I have to say my own awareness comes from years of experience and not all of it fun! But! That’s my personal learning preference. Hands on. I am really glad you commented and I hope you have a great day and a wonderful holiday.



What Do You Think?