“I went to the woods because I wished to live life deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau
Here comes a long-winded collection of thoughts as I wait for the start of my hike. I might be impatiently rambling as time slowly goes by, but here is a brain dump for you. I’m collecting gear and doing shakedowns, and I’ve realized the hundreds of hours I will have to think as I walk, and I’m digging in.
We should ask ourselves why we feel drawn to nature. Is our reason to hike to escape from this fast-paced American lifestyle? Could it really be the call of the wild? Is it the desire of the uncommon, to disconnect from old lives? Or is it something different?
The draw of nature can be a desire to separate ourselves from connection to media, the routine we get caught in day to day. To catch a breath, refocus, and find our relationships to ourselves and likeminded people. When we are aware, we want to connect to the physical wild world again.
You (yes, YOU) have an abundance (and at times, an overload, don’t deny it!) of information.
*a note on phones and the internet*
Knowledge, nonsense, news, drama, research, gossip, relationships, answers. These things are just a peek into the lives most of us have come to know on a daily basis and we don’t give it a second thought. People have the power to access anything they need virtually with a glance downward. This can be a blessing, and at times can become like a curse.
*a note on entertainment/ games*
The unlimited access I have online can feel like the movie the Grinch: Whos swarm and feed the Grinch a deluge of delicacies and desserts as he gags and gorges on his way to become the holiday Cheermeister. This scene makes me think of my intake of media and the consuming we do as a culture. How the scrolling reels us in. There are choices we make to influence our lifestyle and there are choices that we subconsciously let be decided for us.
If you play Animal Crossing, you know that when you play every day you start to feel the urge, almost obligation, to complete a set of daily tasks. The game is this: you live on an island with a collection of anthropomorphic animals, pulling weeds, planting trees, fishing, and building houses and a community. The way the game is designed (as I am sure you are aware of most games) is to make you think it can’t go on without you. After maybe a month playing the game every day, I missed a day. After a week I came back to it, and *behold* it was the same. The villagers hadn’t actually starved to death in my absence. It was eye-opening that I didn’t actually have to be in the village every day pulling weeds and fishing. The game was still where I left it.
These might be silly examples, but they work for me.
Pause and Reset!
My point is society can keep moving without us. We don’t have to be part of this system and let it consume us. We choose most of our media intake, and this is the power we hold for ourselves. It’s our job to recognize this.
I have a feeling that many of us have come to this trail community to change up the pace, to be aware, and to live intentionally.
The Appalachian Trail is going to be a resetting point for me. I’m hoping to disconnect from the pace of the lifestyle I have been caught up in as I spend 6 months hiking. I’m taking a step back from expectations and setting my own goals. What about you?