What I love about hiking
I love the physical swing of my legs as I move down the trail. I love how my connections with other people happen so naturally while hiking. I love the mental aspects-- the clarity, awareness, looking, watching, finding and sensing the world around me. I love watching the ideas flow through my mind and then seeing how my mind relaxes as I settle into the pace of the natural world. I love experiencing the changing weather and terrain. I love feeling tired and hungry afterward.
On hiking every weekend
As I've mentioned before, I've hiked every weekend for the past five years, only missing a week if I'm really sick. It's my passion and as essential to me as eating and sleeping. Honestly, there is nothing I love more than hiking. (As you can imagine, this has not always gone over so well in my relationships.) During the busiest time in my life, while I was finishing my thesis and working harder and longer than I ever have, ignoring practically everything and everyone, consumed only with writing and thinking about my research, I still hiked every Saturday. During that time, I brought my notebook with me and wrote down lots of ideas about my research while on the trail, and the flashdrive with a copy of my dissertation stayed in my pocket the whole time ('cause you never know if the whole university will burn down and destroy all my precious writings and data). The week before my PhD defense, as I was hiking along, I was so consumed with thoughts of my research that I walked smack into a tree and got a huge bruise on my forehead, which, thankfully, no one on my committee commented on at my examination. But I knew I needed to hike especially during this time because it calmed me and got me through it, relatively in one piece.
I've made certain choices to have this life filled with hiking. I don't have a house, marriage, pets, or kids. When the conversation turns to sports, TV, or pop culture, I have embarrassingly little to contribute. While other people my age go out on Friday night or stay late at work to further their careers, I go to bed early so I can be on the trail early the next morning. I've simplified my life, and I've made these choices deliberately. That's how I get to hike so often.
|The red bump on my forehead from walking into a tree.|