3. ALL the questions…..

When I talk to people about my trip, at some point in the conversation people seem to get this unfocused look on their face, a squint in one eye or worse, deep frown lines and I can tell they have a burning question to ask but don’t know how to ask without sounding ridiculous. Well my answer is always, what could be more ridiculous than quitting my job to go for a walk! Here I have tried to answer the most common questions I get asked by people, but please, by all means leave a question in the comments section if I’ve missed something and I’ll get back to you.

  1. What exactly is the Appalachian Trail? The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest marked footpaths in the world, through, up, over, under and around the Appalachian Mountains on the eastern side of the USA. Fun facts about the trail can be found in in the About The Trail section at the top of the page.
  2. Are you crazy? YES!
  3. Where will you sleep? In short I will be sleeping for the majority of the time on the trail in my tent. There are very primitive 3 sided shelters around every 10-12 miles just off the trail but for me these will be a last resort. I have some really strange sleep phobias about sleeping near people I don’t know and sometimes even people I do know. Other peoples sleeping noises can literally drive me into a rage and I have been known to uncontrollably cry when someone asleep on the train is snoring. I also suffer from insomnia, once I literally stayed up all night because I couldn’t stop saying the words ‘peas and carrots’ over and over and over! (please see the answer to the question above, I think it will be helpful about now!) So, my incredibly light, thin tent will become my safe haven. I hope to spend one night every fortnight sleeping in a real bed in a town, I’m not going complete caveman!
  4. What will you eat? I will mainly be eating things with an many calories as I can find. I am planning on a typical day being along the lines of: Breakfast – Porridge, pop tarts, bagels, lunch – wraps, pitta breads with tuna, cheese, meats, Nutella, crisps, dinner – some sort of pasta or other carb type things that require hot water to prepare. I will be cooking on my camp stove and treating local water sources for beverage options. I plan on having to carry between 4-7 days of food on me and restocking in towns.
  5. Are you going on your own, have you got a guide? In short yes im going on my own and no I don’t have a guide. I have a few extremely dear friends who, like me have a love affair with adventure and have offered to join me for sections, including one of the very best people I know who will be starting the trail and completing the first few weeks with me. Guides are completely unnecessary, but man that would be a cool job!
  6. Are you taking…..  A GPS tracking device? NO. A gun? NO. Pepper Spray? NO. A knife? A small Swiss Army number, mainly for cutting cheese. Mobile phone? Yes, 2 actually, an American phone so I can make calls to America and my English phone so that I can make calls to England. If I have service you will all be able to contact me as usual, however I may have it switched off for battery saving purposes.
  7. Are you scared of bears? Well, I have a healthy respect of all animals that will maul my face off, but if you asked me what I’m scared of on the trail (see next question) bears aren’t really on the list. I do have some friends that might argue that point with me, considering the last time I saw a bear in the wild I booked it and ended up hiding in a strangers car!
  8. Are you scared? YES! terrified, like shit directly in my pants, want my mummy, thumb sucking scared. Mainly I’m scared of not completing it and letting myself down, the fear of failure weighs heavily on my mind deep into most nights recently. Second on the list are people, I’m far more scared of people than animals, I fear that my own social anxiety will isolate me or prevent me from building relationships, which in this environment can mean the difference between life and death. I find it overwhelmingly difficult to ask for help and am frightened of finding myself and not liking her! Thirdly I am scared of the dark, yes I will be taking a headlamp, but that oppressive can’t see you hand in front of you face, blinding darkness gives me the heebie jeebies. Followed closely by getting lost, rattle snakes, brown recluse spiders in my sleeping bag, being cold, falling over, lightning, trees falling on my tent in the night and ticks.
  9. Where will you use the toilet? In the woods, (even number 2’s) behind trees, behind bushes, behind rocks, behind anything that’s bigger than my arse! I cannot imagine a time when using the loo will be pure luxury, but that time is coming!!!
  10. Why are you doing this? I have purposely left this question until last, because the answer is I’m not really sure. On different days my answer varies depending on my anxiety level. When I’m feeling calm and on top of life, you will get a very Zen type answer about finding myself, pushing my body to the limits, conquering fears, learning about nature and surviving on simplicity not luxury. On days when I’m panicking you will get an adrenalin filled answer like, whooooo hooooo, adventure, camping, nature, everything I love!! In reality I would like to settle in the middle somewhere, yes I hope its a life changing experience, I hope to really understand what I am capable of, but most of all I just want to believe I am strong, in both body and mind.

 

 

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