Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thru-hiking: The AT

I know I've gotten behind on posting, and I'm sorry.  August just kind of flew by.

I had my first ever job interview on Tuesday, it looks like I'm a step closer to knocking "Be a waitress for a year" off my list! I'm not going to be hired for a serving position, but it's still in a restaurant.

So, I'm starting to plan my Appalachian Trail thru-hike.  Before I can really settle on any plans I have a few decisions to make.

  • 2015, or 2016? Obviously if I go in 2016 that gives me more time to plan, and save money, but will I really spend that time planning, or save that money?
  • Nourthbound or Southbound? (NoBo or SoBo?)  This is a big question for some thru-hikers, and most choose NoBo.  Going from Georgia to Maine is easier.  In Maine there's Katahdin, and 100 miles of nothing right away, from what I've been reading.  It means you're carrying around 20 days worth of supplies from the start! New Hampshire is also (one of) the hardest section(s).  However, because I live in New England I won't need a plane ticket or anything to get to Maine, so I plan to go SoBo.  (10% of AT thru-hikers go SoBo, and only about 10% of those finish)
  • Gear?  I've been reading a lot about what other people pack for gear.  It's not helping.  It's really just up to personal opinion, there's no one who can pick gear for you.  I'm going to be researching what I think will work best for me (I'm hoping to pack somewhat light, or lighter items, because I'm very small, and not very strong - yet), and I will post them here! A little bit at a time until a few weeks before I leave, then I'll post a complete packing list.
There is one problem if I decide to do my thru-hike next year starting in late-June, though.  I planned my first long distance biking trip for next summer.  What I think I'll do, if I decide to thru-hike next summer, is do my long-distance bicycle trip in April, or May, and then thru-hike starting in June.

The one question every thru-hiker is asked is "why?"  A lot of people do it as an escape from their everyday lives, or after something big happened in their life like getting divorced, or losing a job.  Personally, I'm doing it for the challenge, and because it's not something everybody's going to do.  I need to prove myself (to me, of course) on something "small" like this before I'm 100% sure I can do something like climb Everest.  The longer I wait to start the bigger things on my list the less likely I am to do them at all.  I know myself well enough to know that if I don't prove I can do it soon, then I won't.  That would be fairly tragic, I think.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Why I Want to Bicycle Around Europe

Originally, I planned to road trip, backpack, or hitchhike Europe.  There's only one reason that I decided to bike instead:


Let me clarify, nobody says that females cannot drive, backpack, or hitchhike around Europe.  They don't allow women in the Tour De France.

One of my goals was to ride in the Tour De France, I have never watched the Tour De France, and I didn't know much about it, but I wanted to race in it.  I didn't care if I won or not, obviously.  Then, when I started reading about it, I found out that only men are allowed in the race.

To adventurous girl this came as almost a shock, I thought that cases of sexism like this only happened on a small scale in certain places, but a famous race?  The biggest bike race there is?  Really?

Here's a pretty good article about the subject.  The comments are really worth reading as well.  Personally, I believe that if we can't be in the men's race that we should have our own at least, but as mentioned in the article, not as many people would watch, and sponsors would be harder to get.  That's a problem in my opinion.

Perhaps the only reason I care at all is because I'm still upset that I can't race in the Tour De France.  I do intend to do as many races that I can enter as possible.  If more women riding is the way to get our TDF then I'm in!

I'd say most little girls in America learn to ride a bicycle, I don't really know about other countries, but I'd hope that it is the same most places.  If it is, then why is there a problem of fewer female cyclists?  Assuming the same number of girls learn to ride bikes as boys (which is a pretty big assumption I know), the same number of girls should be encouraged to ride as well as the boys, then there wouldn't be a problem with this.

So I am going to bike around Europe in my own mini-protest of sorts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Proving yourself, to you.

You might hear that the only person you need to prove anything to is yourself.  That's true.  However, if you're extremely competitive and/or like to prove people wrong, you're going to have to work at it.

Here's five things you can do to be able to do anything!

  1. Work at it.  Captain obvious here to inform you that you do have to put some effort into what you want to do.  Work up to it with smaller goals.  Want to ride your bike 65 miles in a day?  Ride the area you're going to be riding and just see how far you can go in 30 minutes.  You might surprise yourself!
  2. Believe in yourself.  Everyone's telling you that you can't do it?  Who cares! Do it anyway.  Show them, and yourself that you can do whatever you want. 
  3. Challenge yourself. So you're working at it, and you have a strict schedule you're sticking to, but what if you can do 100 sit-ups a week before it says to do so on you "30 day sit-up challenge"?  Try it.  If you don't make it that's okay! You just know you need to work at it a bit more.  If you make it then you know you were ready! Always push yourself to go just a little further. "In life, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything." - Unknown.
  4. Be spontaneous.  You're at the beach, it stormed earlier that day.  It's still chilly, and it's still windy.  You want to go in the water, but you're afraid it'll be too cold for you.  Do it.  You might be perfectly comfortable.  You might be extremely uncomfortable, but hey, at least you didn't let your fear get the best of you.  "You'll never even know if you never, ever try" - Hall of Fame, The Script feat. Will.I.Am.
  5. Fail, but don't lose hope.  Let's face it, you're going to fail.  Failure is a fact of life, it's going to happen.  The way to prove to yourself that you can do it is to try again. "Let's go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday" - Steve Jobs
Proving to yourself that you can do anything isn't easy.  In fact, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do, and that's the point.  If you can do the hardest thing possible, you can truly do anything.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Productivity - how to stay focused in order to reach your goals

You have something you'd really like to do, say you want to climb Mount Everest, you need a way to stay focused to train instead of getting on Tumblr for six hours a day.

Well you have some options.

Downloading an app or extension for you browser that limits your ability to visit certain sites.  Personally I've downloaded Stay Focused for chrome.  I immediately setup the nuclear option, AND turned on the thing that doesn't allow you to change your settings unless you can type in a message (over 420 characters) without making a mistake.  Any mistakes and you have to start over.  Caps, and punctuation count.  Also you can't just copy and paste because it counts the number of characters you type in! It's pretty difficult, and I typed "The procrastinator is often remarkably optimistic about his ability to complete a task on a tight deadline;" about a million times because I'd only make mistakes after that point...

You have to enjoy your training! If you don't like it then why are you doing it?  I understand that sometimes you don't have a choice, but if you're riding a bike as exercise when you hate riding a bike then find another option! If you just plain hate exercise then Everest is not for you, and I suggest you sit at home on Tumblr.

Maybe you just don't have the right tools at home in the right place for you to want, or be able, to do it?  Put all your exercise equipment in one place, a place where you walk by often.  That way you'll see the equipment and think "Oh hey I should use that".  You're more likely to do it, at least at first, I promise.\

Another good idea is making it a habit.  I've heard it takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to form a habit, so you're going to have to commit to it!

Some people might say "just do it", however, if you're as distractable as I am then that'll be hard for you! I'm great at remembering things like numbers, names, dates, dance routines, etc., but I'm so easily distracted that most things never get any attention, or at least not as much attention as it needs!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why a backup plan is important - Learning the hard way

  You should always have a backup plan for something to do.  If you're going to climb Mount Everest but you break your leg before you can, have a backup plan for what you're going to do until your leg heals for the next season.

  Today I was planning on seeing how far I could ride my bike in a half hour, and then it started thundering.  I didn't have a backup plan for today, so I didn't really do much.  If I had thought "well what happens if it thunders?" I might have had a more successful day.  For tomorrow I'm going to have a plan, and a backup plan.

  This has happened to me several times, like I planned to sail on the Titanic II in 2016 (when it was supposed to set sail on its maiden voyage), but now it's not scheduled to sail until after 2018! That throw my plans off a bit because I didn't have a backup plan.
  Now I've decided to put off Thru-hiking the AT until 2016 so I can earn money and do some extra training for my other list things! It worked out, but it took a while.

Your backup plan doesn't need to be settling for less, it should be a slightly different adventure.  Always go back and do your big adventure if you still want to.  Just remember everything you do is up to you.

Also, my 24 marathon is going to happen this month, and I'll be doing hourly updates for anybody who wants to do it with me, or who just want to see where I am!
  I'll be watching all of season two in 24 hours.  Starting at 8AM on either Tuesday the 19th, or Tuesday the 26th.  This isn't as much of an "adventure" as it is an excuse to stay up for over 24 hours and blog constantly. Hooray!
  It's safe to say that I'll be drinking a lot of coffee that day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hope for humanity?

  I just finished a movie called 13 Sins.
  It makes you wonder, "what would I do for money."
*Spoiler alert*
  In the movie the main character is given 13 tasks for a grand total of over six million dollars.  He doesn't know what the next task is until he completes the one before it.  At first they're simple "kill the fly", but by the end they're much, much more difficult "kill a family member".  The "game", as it's called, is to prove that anyone can be corrupted when enough money is involved.
  The outcome is different.  The main character changes his mind after challenge 10 or 11, but he's already in too deep.  He's gotten a few million already, but if he backs out it all gets taken away, which is why he took it as far as he did.  He was getting married, had a baby on the way, a mentally ill brother to take care of, and had just lost his job.  When they started asking for murder he couldn't do it.

  How many people would go for it?  How many would complete the 13th challenge?  Maybe they'd justify it in their own minds somehow, after all, some police officers are in on it, they erase everything if you win.  All you have to deal with afterwards is a guilty conscience, that's if the experiment fails.  Since the goal is to transform you into a terrible monster of a person you shouldn't even feel guilty afterwards.
  Personally, I wouldn't have been able to do the second challenge "eat the fly you just killed", even for $3,000, so I wouldn't even have to get to the worse ones.

Update on my bike riding.  I did over 6 miles today in just under 40 minutes.  Bam.  That's with hills and everything, I'm considering going along the flat trail that I plan to bike next summer and just going for 30-45 minutes one way, and then back.  We'll see.

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last few days, I'm occasionally a busy person.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Yesterday I was reading about some mountaineering workshops, while I was reading the requirements I noticed that physical requirements were being able to carry a 60 lb backpack up 4,000' in elevation.  60 lbs is over 50% of my body weight, and I've never actually climbed 4,000' in elevation at once.   Knowing I can't do this I started looking into fitness training for preparing to climb.

The plan I found to begin with is 3 days a week after 30-45 minutes of cardio, and 2 days of weight training, with the weekends off.  My plan is to use bicycling as my "cardio".  

Since my list includes riding in the Miner's Revenge bike race in MI I figured using cycling as exercise now will help with that.  I also plan to "thru-bike" a 65-mile trail nearby next summer.

Starting with riding my bike three days a week, and at least six miles a day (I'll increase that gradually) hopefully I'll be ready to do my thru-bike, and it'll be good exercise! At least until is starts to snow, and then who knows... So I have until October or November, and then from April until July to be ready! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Kilimanjaro, barefoot?

I just found this amazing documentary on The Adventure Blog that a small group of climbers made about climbing Kilimanjaro, but it wasn't a normal expedition.  They climbed barefoot.

If you have 40 or so minutes to kill I highly recommend watching it.  It's incredibly inspiring to see how much the body and mind can take when you really put it to work.  It makes you realize just how much is possible, and honestly, I look up to anyone who goes out of their way just to show that they can.

There isn't much more I can say about it, you'll have to watch it for yourself!