Learning winter trekking skills in the hills of Scotland

Kimberlie Dame and I connected on Facebook. She is an experienced backpacker who is planning a three-year hiking trip starting in the spring of 2012. I asked her to share what she has learned so far from her journey so far. She listed 28 things. She'll share them after I ask her three questions:

Francis Tapon: How did you learn about Hike Your Own Hike?

Kimberlie Dame: It was recommended to me by my primary support person for the Arizona Trail who had finished the Appalachian Trail. After asking around about it, turned out almost all of my hiker friends had read it and were just keeping me in the dark about it. So I gladly picked it up!

FT: What was your biggest takeaway of the book?

KD: My biggest takeaway was to learn how to apply the major lessons I was learning about trail walking to my life in general. Trail walking is an action-packed educational lab applicable to an earnest quest for happiness. The book guided me into thinking that way, and transposing the wisdom into every day!

FT: How has being on a long-distance trail affected you?

KD: Walking paces your mind like breathing paces survival. Often, “going for a walk” can diffuse an attack of temper, foster creative ideas, provide an opportunity for intimacy, or reset a frustrating day. For many of us, it is also the relating link to nature and to pure happiness.

Walking long enough, over a period of days, months, or as I’m about to attempt, years, removes it from the realm of an “activity” and places it into a central way of being, with your mind in continuous rhythm.

Whomever you meet is family.

What could possibly have happened on the Arizona Trail to bring me to such an enormous decision? I’d love to tell you.

28 Things That I Have Learned On The Trail So Far by Kimberlie Dame

  1. Modern civilization is but a tiny colonization of an already established culture of nature. We are strangers here.
  2. Planning is just sheer entertainment for the brain. Real life contains events.
  3. Being focused on survival relieves a person of petty anxieties.
  4. Cotton should maybe be eaten instead of worn. It never dries.
    Sunrise on the Arizona Trail
  5. You only need about 1/1000th of the things you think you need. And that 1/1000th should be objects that are very high quality and that you truly love.
  6. The body loves sunshine, water, and dirt.
  7. You can do what you think you can’t do. You can.
  8. Sleep is just about the most beautiful experience that can happen to you when you’ve lived a full day.
  9. You only need about 1/1000th of the activities and relationships in your life that you think you do and that 1/1000th should be ones that are beauty rich and that you truly love.
  10. Relax and accept. Then you will be received and accepted.
  11. Fear turns paradise into hell. If you’re going to die, you’re going to die. Enjoy it.
  12. You can get a lot done with an established rhythm and routine. Contrary to being boring, it
    Kimberlie's private island. No need to worry about rodents stealing your food.
    frees you to entertain crazy thoughts.
  13. Skin is waterproof. It’s truly okay to be very wet very frequently.
  14. Things are actually incredibly weird just about everywhere. It’s not just you.
  15. People are good.
  16. It’s amazing how long an Abba song can remain stuck in your head.
  17. The map is never the territory and the instructions don’t make any sense.
  18. Ask and ye shall receive.
  19. Re-routing is fun, acceptable, and frequently leads to a private swimming hole.
  20. Duct tape is the answer to 80% of all problems.
  21. The human body is HARDY.
  22. Silence is a powerful opiate that affects all other senses.
  23. There are many aspects of societal life that make joy challenging.
  24. It just feels good to be living and in motion.
  25. There is no end to the journey. It’s just a journey.
  26. Whomever you meet is family.
  27. You can’t be found if you won’t stay put.
  28. You can always, always, make other choices.

Kimberlie Dame

Kimberlie Dame

Kimberlie is a walker and freelance writer who is setting off on an incredible three-year journey that includes the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and a gorgeous pieced together network of smaller trails in the United States. She is writing a book about it that will focus on the nomadic lifestyle and the effects of living outside of conventional society. You can participate by backing her on Kickstarter. She offers nice rewards for helping her out. Her blog is called The New Nomads. All photos in this article are hers.


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