Why would someone who had no prior experience backpacking want to hike long distances for the rest of their life? The answer is surprisingly simple. For me at least, the wilderness is where I feel the most un-influenced; free to explore who I am at my own pace. I have noticed in my life that I am terribly affected by my surroundings, whether it is from being around too much concrete or the vast amounts of people, I get exceedingly anxious. All the energies from people reflect off the concrete, but in the outside, those energies have room to be expressed.
I remember when I was about 13 or so, I started developing an eating problems to where being in a restaurant would give me such bad anxiety that I would get nauseous and sometimes vomit. I still get uncomfortable sitting in restaurants, but now I focus on the people I’m eating with, that positive social experience, and that has helped quite a bit. Now, a new issue for my eating habits has arisen; I am prone to kidney stones. I had a kidney stone on the PCT in 2020 (about two weeks off trail to deal with it) and it was the most frustrating thing. Doing anything was difficult and so I am now trying to find low oxalate foods I can bring hiking with me! It’s going to be a long process, but I plan to share my findings here on Taogoi.com.
Eating out on the trail is absolutely amazing. Having a stunning view, good food and some company was my favorite thing during the long hiking days. Even when it was just a snack break, it always made me smile. The really simple things in life have become where I find the most joy. While a lot of people strive to get wealthy, I strive to have enough to be comfortable and live a life I love. Living is the point of life and I have found I don't need a money as much as I do time. Time is really what determines personal wealth, I like to think.
One thing I really enjoyed on the PCT was learning how to spot wild onions, learning about miners lettuce, yucca, and how there are roughly 20 different variants of huckleberry in the Pacific Northwest! Wild edibles had captured some of my attention while hiking, so while I wait until my next hike (I sprained my knee pretty badly at my current job), I plan to study a bit of the wild edibles I might encounter, but the low oxalate alternatives are higher priority. I have a lot going on; I’m always pushing myself to learn more. Burnout does happen, but I’m trying to not put so much pressure on myself to do my hobbies. Some times you just want something to be fun, not necessarily work at it like a job.
What are your favorite activities that bring you joy when you venture outside? Let me know by leaving a comment!