Thru-hiking is one of my new fascinations. Thru-hiking is the act of backpacking from one end of a trail to the other, such as the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail or Camino de Santiago, to name a few.
Don’t get me wrong, I would never be able to physically handle a thru-hike or would even attempt one due to various health concerns, but I’ve sort of been living vicariously through people who can do them. I’m drawn to the freedom, as well as to the room a person has to think while on the trail.
You’ll find lots of thru-hike documentaries on YouTube. Here’s the first one I watched. Jessica “Dixie” Mills has several others. In order, here’s her AT video, PCT video, Continental Divide Trail video, and Camino video. And here’s one from Julia Sheehan that she posted about her AT thru-hike.
While preparing for a thru-hike, one podcast I’ve been listening to recommends setting “thought goals.” These are issues the hiker plans to work through while out on the trail.
We’re talking about things such as taking spiritual inventory, potential romantic relationship choices, letting go of something or someone, career plans, finances, grudges, living arrangements, challenging yourself where you are weak, etc.
As soon as I heard the term “thought goals,” I was struck by the fact that I’m often passive. I tend to wait until I’m on a long drive somewhere, and even then, I’m don’t work through a series of planned out thoughts. I randomly contemplate whatever is most pressing.
I’d benefit from setting aside more time in my week to be more intentional about the things I need to think through. Practically speaking, going on daily walks without headphones or taking a daily drive without the radio would be beneficial — all while being intentional about grappling with issues — maybe even from a short list — that I need to work through.
How about you? Do you have thought goals? If so, what’s your process for working through them?