I started reading Becoming Odyssa this week by Jennifer Pharr Davis because I want to have one last reminder of the difficult task ahead and how others were able to complete this hike with glory. In the introduction, a list of “13 snippets of accumulated wisdom” explains why 80% of thru-hikers fail to finish. The list resonated deeply with me and inspired me to write my own bulleted list of 9 reasons why I believe I will succeed.
Similar to my earlier post on why I am hiking the AT, I want this list to be motivation along the trail when things get tough. To look back at often, when the countless reasons and pressures to quit and go home arise … injuries, loneliness, missed loved ones, exhaustion, boredom, finances, fatigue, FOMO, homesickness, and many more. It will be my
stubbornness willingness to keep walking that fuels me to reach the end. Hello Neiman!
The Hello Neiman! Credo:
- I will be ok when my plans change. Because it will, every plan for the AT does. But more importantly, I will accept it not as a failure but as an adventure.
- I will be ok when others’ plans change. Every person is hiking this hike for themselves, and their plans do not need to negatively affect mine. If an old friend offers to walk with me and has to cancel, I will go on. If a new friend offers to walk with me and changes their mind, I will go on.
- I will embrace the unknown. I spent a lot of time making plans, reading books, and memorizing details of the trail; all done in order to best know what to expect. But I will be ok when surprises occur and the preparations prove untrue. I will welcome every moment that is unexpected and new.
- I will never quit on a bad day. I will walk through every frigid, rainy, muddy, humid, buggy, rocky or otherwise miserable day until I get to the next good one. On that good day, I’ll reflect and decide whether or not to go on.
- I will stay true to myself. This is not a break from life, to pretend the world I come from is on hold or no longer exists. I will enhance this experience by honoring the beliefs, standards, people, and things that are important in my life.
- I will allow myself to evolve. While staying true to who I am, I will also accept that this experience can change me for the better. I know I will be transformed in countless new ways that will better define the person I am going forward.
- I will meet every day with thanks. Not to get too spiritual, but every day of life on this earth is a gift. And to be able to spend that gift walking freely among the mountains and trees is the best way to appreciate it. I will wake up every morning thankful that the only goal that day is to enjoy the world I walk through.
- I will greet every person with a smile. With nearly a million hikers on and off this trail every year, there are countless interactions between hikers every day. Each is an opportunity to make new friends, learn new things, and share my happy Hello! to those on the journey with me. After all, it isn’t my favorite Pirkei Avot teaching for nothing.
- I will look back with no regrets. No matter what happens, I will never regret the decision to embark on this journey. Whether I make it a week or, god willing, to the summit of Katahdin. I will appreciate the decision to pursue this dream and hike this trail.