The AT will, at times, feel like an entirely different world. Social conventions will be different. The scarcity of other humans really changes how you behave when you cross paths with someone. Walking around town you brush past hundreds of people a day. But in the woods, every person you pass is an opportunity to connect, enjoy a conversation, share stories, and swap news about the conditions of the trail ahead. You learn to appreciate the individuals you meet more because they are so few in number.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes, communicating with the outside world. I will be taking a smartphone with me, and every time I have internet access, I will update on here from my phone. I don’t know how often that will be. I expect to only turn my phone on once every few days when I am in a town to resupply and I have a decent chance of getting a signal. I know I’ll have cell service more frequently, and I’ll be calling family once a week to let them know I’m doing well.
It’s funny the things you can’t fully appreciate until you go without them for a while. In my normal life, I bet I never am more than 5 minutes away from internet access. The constant flow of email, texts, G-chat, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, and phone calls makes it so I always feel connected to people.
But I find that it also makes those connections more superficial. Does a “like” on a Facebook status count as staying in touch? Does it let someone know you care? Or is it just a cheap substitute for actually talking to them to find out about their life? Sometimes it’s easy to feel connected to lots of people, but never really spend time with them.
So although I won’t be able to spend time with friends or family while I’m hiking, I do want to have at least a superficial exchange with the folks at home to let people know that I’m alive and doing okay. Hopefully this blog will serve that purpose, and let folks know the basics of what I’m doing.
But I’ve realized that this will not be an adequate medium for conveying everything about my adventure hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer.
For that, we are gonna have to connect, enjoy a conversation, share stories, and swap news about the conditions of the trails ahead.