Saturday morning brought the family to The Art Café for a German/Austrian breakfast. As the five of us sat around the table, Life Lessons from the Trail began to trickle into the discussion. Here are some of the things that came up.
“We just take a positive perspective. Negative people can get you so down and I’m like, ‘Why are you here?’ It’s just such a waste of time [to be negative]. Even on the bad days like that horrible day (when it was snowing and freezing and Gretel got lost), I say ‘Some time today I will get to the shelter and somehow I am going to be warm and tomorrow it’s going to be sunny.’”
“I realize I don’t need anybody else to make me feel better about things. If I’m not feeling good, I just think about Pirates of the Caribbean and I feel better.”
“What we are doing is crazy. But when I think about it, the things people worry about in normal life are crazy. I’m in a tent in a snow storm and the people back in DC are all up in arms about whether or not NPR can get enough funding.”
“I can’t judge anyone. People tell their stories and I would have had no clue.”
“People treat us differently in towns in a positive way. Because we are helpless and dirty, they know that we are not going to judge them. So they feel more comfortable.”
From Two Bad:
“One thing about thru-hikers, everyone is reduced to the same common denominator. We met a guy named Calculator (that’s his trail name). Big guy, wears a bandana. He takes his bandana off and he has a huge mohawk underneath. We asked him how he got his name. He says, ‘I got a PhD in mathematics… No just kidding.’ He’s just good at math. But the point is, anything is possible. For all we knew, he could have had a PhD in mathematics. Anybody could be anybody.”
“Anything you have materially is irrelevant. It’s all about what you have in your pack and how many miles you did and how your boots are feeling.” They talked about meeting hikers who probably are very wealth in the real word, but in Trail Life, everyone is on an equal playing field and economic status means nothing.
“It’s all about your metal capacity. You can research and have all the best stuff, or you can be like Grandpa, do no research and have nothing.” The people that make it to the end are not necessarily the ones who planned every stop and have the latest and greatest gear. Your most valuable piece of equipment is your own mind and your determination.
Manda and Hansel