With less than 2 weeks until the launch day, September 7th, 2021, I wanted to talk a bit about why I decided to go and publish a book rather than just let it live online.
When I started my 2019 hike of the Pacific Crest Trail on Feb 26, I knew I wanted to write poetry of my experience. I’m not good at traditional journaling, I get distracted a lot since my brain moves so quickly, so poetry is perfect for me. It can be as abstract as I want it to be.
I wanted to capture what I was experiencing while I hiked for 6 months so I could look back on it and be taken right back into the memories, no matter how long it’s been. When I got back home, I saw all my little notebooks I had written in and had the amazing idea to put a book together! It kept me close to where I wanted to be and I believe it did help with my post-trail depression.
For those of you that don’t know, post-trail depression is where you get insanely depressed because EVERYTHING is different. You went from being able to live each day with minimal structure (wake up, eat, poop, hike, rest, hike, camp, eat, sleep, repeat) only to come back home feeling like you don’t belong. Everyone else’s lives continued on while we hiked. Suddenly, we are berated with advertising at every corner and everything is so loud!
Returning to ”normal“ is totally jarring and extremely difficult to readjust into being to go out with people, like to your local pub you loved pre-hike. Suddenly it’s super overwhelming with all the music and people and social interaction. A lot of your stories are great, but also hard for people to relate to, so one can feel isolated in a sea of people.
Keeping myself busy with the book helped me not feel so lonely because I was always thinking back to the incredible experiences I had on the PCT with the fantastic people I had the pleasure of meeting along the way. I love my friends of back here in Washington State, but they don’t know what it’s like to long distance hike. Luckily, they were patient with me and helped me get used to all the crazy city life things. Telling me about all the pop culture I missed, etc.
What really kept me wanting to publish it was the idea that by making this book, I can inspire other people to take the time to heal from their traumas. I was so affected by my history, I struggled to keep a job, let alone have a steady emotions. I was very quick to get upset, which did continued on trail for a good while. It wasn’t until I restarted my hike in Oregon where I started to feel more like a version of me I wanted to become. More calm and ready to look at problems with solutions, even if they weren’t the best solutions, I wasn’t giving up or avoiding them anymore.
I grew so much in those 1100 miles. I thought through and realized so many thing in my life that were actively upsetting me, but I wasn’t aware of them until I was face to face with these overwhelming thoughts. I had no place to go or anything to really do to distract my mind, so all I could do is work through it.
My goal is to put something out there for people who feel alone and burdened with trauma to know that they are not alone and they do have the option to take time, even a super long time like I did, and sort out their emotions and tackle what their brain is struggling with.
You have to do the work if you want to go from surviving to thriving. The good news? It can be done. That is what Taogoi is all about. So I hope you pick up a copy of our book, 1100 Miles, and start your own journey of healing.
Hope you are having an incredible summer!