Dreams return; harbingers of change.
I begin to feel the gears turning in earnest toward this hike. It began years ago with evenings of reading others’ adventures across South America which developed into peering at Google Earth and Google Maps, plotting their towns and stops. Making notes and often enough, Google would glitch, zooming out dizzyingly and expose what a ridiculous undertaking this really is. It makes me giddy.
Frustratingly, a few times it disappeared hours and days of plotting. This taught me about perseverance, patience, and saving data.
Accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts. ~The Tao
I’ve begun purging, of both the emotional and concrete.
One of the many things to love and learn from backpacking is the simplicity. You don’t need much. In fact, can only bring what you can carry. A backpacker takes careful inventory of their gear; know the weight of each item down to the ounce.
In Walking the Amazon, Ed Stafford well conveys the challenge of sustaining one’s mentality as much as physical ability on an extended and difficult expedition (thanks for the loan, Zeb). So, it strikes me as equally important to take inventory and weigh mental and emotional facets.
I’ve been meeting with a therapist. Running a sort of emotional gear check. Cutting unnecessary weight.
A la Katz from Walk in the Woods, dumping off some emotional cast iron frying pans.
A Series of Small Acts.
Finally admitting I don’t know what half the keys on my keyring are, and disposing of them.
Taking 1 bag of stuff to our AWESOME thrift stores each week.
Selling civilization garb.
I’m still warming up to asking for the full scope of support needed to accomplish this.
It is a deeply humbling prospect and I tremble and falter to reach out; yet.
Building up to it.
My first effort was a month long letter writing campaign. Wrote a Hiker Resume and letters to various gear makers and retailers. Didn’t even make it through the big guys’ online systems.
A couple offered pro-deals or discount vouchers.
A few vouched their encouragement and support by sending gear; putting a pep in my step.
Tami at Exofficio, makers of the most travel ready and durable panties I have ever owned, responded with:
“We do not have an ambassador sponsorship program at this time, but your email was utterly charming and I’d love to send you a new pair of underwear for your trip.”
Fleet Foot at Cascade Designs passed along their commendation of the undertaking in the form a a brand new NeoAir Xlite Thermarest mattress. I’ve loved Thermarest since our first night together all those years ago. They keep improving with time.
Conversations with Chris, maker of the quintessential thru-hiker packs, ULA. He expressed a conscientiousness of the increase in women hikers and our needs and fits.
Probably 40+% of our customers are women now, it’s an area that was, and still is, mostly neglected by the small manufacturers except for us, and we are very keen to produce packs that work well for the ladies,
not just to shrink it and pink it.
The next primaries on my list are:
GPS unit- Garmin, b/c they play well with others/various map sources. I begin to work on comprehending how this information works with a GPS but can’t do much more until I have one in hand.
Neon and I are to rendezvous later this month to ride bikes and talk about tents, stoves, and tickets.
I need to get passport photos and send in for a new one.
Proud to have a stamp on every page of the current one. Really hope they send it back.
It seems as time gets shorter, the To Do list gets longer.
For now, I am here.
Having only this precious, present moment.
Tomorrow, climb a mountain with Rif Raf and Dad.