Notebook

I was living a comfy-but-unfulfilling life in 2015 when I met my first thru-hikers, my heralds, my calls to action. They said it was "never too late," and even though I didn't think I was too close to death's door, I saw they had a point. So nine months later I quit my job, put my furniture in my parents' basement, and started my NOBO thru-hike, which, when a stress fracture grounded me 675 miles later, turned into a LASH. But the trail taught me what I needed to know about myself, which is that although I will never like lashing rainstorms on mountainsides, I can survive them. This fact gave me the courage to start a freelance life, one that is breathtakingly more authentic than the one I had before. If you're on the fence, leap. If you want to read more of my writing, check out www.mathinacalliope.com Hugs, Notebook.

Posts

Four Ugly Truths and Four Beautiful Realities About the Suck

Four Ugly Truths and Four Beautiful Realities About the Suck

The suck is an inescapable aspect of long-distance backpacking; no one eludes it. It is savage and unrelenting. It also, if you manage not to flee

Jan 8, 2018 : Notebook
Sharing Thru-Hiking’s Power with a Nonhiking Audience

Sharing Thru-Hiking’s Power with a Nonhiking Audience

Sometimes it takes a long time to make meaning from dramatic events in our lives. I got off the trail fifteen months ago with a broken foot, not

Sep 20, 2017 : Notebook
6 Ways a Thru-Hike Is a Hero’s Journey

6 Ways a Thru-Hike Is a Hero’s Journey

Maybe you don’t feel heroic out there, but make no mistake, a thru-hike is as epic an undertaking as any ancient tale. Joseph Campbell, the

Jul 26, 2017 : Notebook
The Single Thing I Wish I’d Known Before My Thru-Hike That Nobody Told Me

The Single Thing I Wish I’d Known Before My Thru-Hike That Nobody Told Me

One evening, damp and full of anguish, I arrive at a shelter and basically fall apart. I can't believe—I'm, like, refusing to accept—that there is no

Jan 17, 2017 : Notebook
Sleeping with Strangers: Part 1

Sleeping with Strangers: Part 1

Oh, hi, class of 2018! Notebook here. Congratulations on your decision to take the plunge and make a thru-hike attempt! That took a lot of

Dec 22, 2016 : Notebook
Timing Quitting Failing … Winning?

Timing Quitting Failing … Winning?

A few days before I was set to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2011, my cousin, Ken, flew out to D.C from Chicago to join me for the race. All

Sep 27, 2016 : Notebook
On Purity

On Purity

We had finished dinner at a restaurant in my hometown, my girlfriend and I, and she was listening with wide eyes to my trail tales—the bear ones

Sep 13, 2016 : Notebook
The Waiting Place

The Waiting Place

You don’t start a thru hike casually. The parts of your life you have to move or put on hold are just too big. You end a lease, quit a job. You leave

Aug 25, 2016 : Notebook
5 Things I Got Wrong About Hiking the AT—and 2 I Got Right

5 Things I Got Wrong About Hiking the AT—and 2 I Got Right

What I Got Wrong 1. Because I’m a woman I won’t lose weight. On day hikes before I planned my own thru-hike, I encountered male and female

Aug 24, 2016 : Notebook
They Say It’s the People; They’re Right

They Say It’s the People; They’re Right

This one time, at Fontana Village, back in early May, I was hanging out by myself in the lower level of the lodge when I heard the door open behind

Aug 18, 2016 : Notebook