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maxNcathy
01-09-2007, 10:49
How do you think you will cope with being away from your family and friends and pets? Will you get homesick? If so, how do you plan to manage this depressing mood?

I wonder if many hikers this year will get off the trail and go home because of this.

And you veteran long distance hikers, please share your stories or advice.

My plan is to hike 4 weeks then meet my wife and hike with her a week then return home with her ...to see my dog and cat and mow the grass and kayak and ride my motorcycle....return next spring and repeat.....when wife retires and my dog dies we may hike the whole trail together. So you see I am a wimp when it comes to being away from loved ones.

4eyedbuzzard
01-09-2007, 10:54
We do tend to accumulate many interests and responsibilities through this life don't we? Sounds like a wonderful, well-balanced plan. :)

bigcranky
01-09-2007, 11:05
Yeah, sounds like a great plan. We've found over the years that we are happy being away for about 3 weeks, then we want to be home. So that's what we do. Whether it's a three week hike, or a driving/camping trip, or whatever, we just plan it that way.

Things will change, of course, and a thru is a possibility (probability?) someday.

Michele
01-09-2007, 11:44
I think this will be my greatest challenge this year on my thru. I also think the reasons someone is out there will have a lot to do with it and if your family/spouse is not supportive, that is especially difficult.

I'm fortunate in that my family is supportive of my hike, and I try to keep it in perspective. 6 months is a speck when compared to to a lifetime and whereas we tend to focus on the negative aspects of separation, there are some very positive things that can come out of it as well, such as a greater appreciation for one another.

Jan LiteShoe
01-09-2007, 12:02
How do you think you will cope with being away from your family and friends and pets? Will you get homesick? If so, how do you plan to manage this depressing mood?

I wonder if many hikers this year will get off the trail and go home because of this.

And you veteran long distance hikers, please share your stories or advice.


I think I would have to take breaks too, given your situation.
I don't see that as wimpy, but loving.

When I did my thru in '03, I was lucky enough to be relatively unentangled with home, significant other, pets, work, etc. I was in a transition phase, and that is very liberating.

I think this is an unexamined piece of the thru-hiking puzzle for some, because in such a transition, the air hangs heavy with POSSIBILITY. There is such a freedom in that, and I felt much like I did as a teenager with a life of possibily ahead of me. What a gift, to feel that again!
:)

This is not a PRESCRIPTION for anyone's hike, by the way, just a DEscription of mine. That's just how it was, and that intoxicating freedom with multiple possibilities added deeply to my enjoyment of the hike. At no point did Iwant to get off the Trail before Katahdin.

Now that I have returned to purchase land and build a little yellow cottage in the woods, plant my roses, blueberries and organic garden, spend weekends with my sweetie and care for the work, community activities and pets that have found their way to me, it would be much harder to do. I think I would grow very homesick.

That said, even in transition, life does not GIVE you a thru-hike. You have to make it happen, carve out the time, if you want it. It's a huge undertaking. Tha's why you see so many post-school and post-retirees out there, along with post-layoffs, post-divorces, etc.

My hat is off to anyone who rearranges their life to do so. It is no small undertaking.

PJ 2005
01-09-2007, 12:22
The trail was much more of a social experience than I thought it would be - I was homesick for the first week or two and the last week or two. The last week was by far the most difficult from an emotional standpoint.

The only drawback I could see from that plan is that you'll make friends and not get a chance to hike with them very long. Leave your options open if you can.

Doctari
01-09-2007, 12:46
Not wimpy, realistic.

What I have found: the more tired (hungry? cold? thirsty?) I get, the more homesick I get. SO, if I stop, take a rest day (Eat, warm up, drink alot) I feel better. This works even if I'm not in town where I can talk to my wife.

Also, someone suggested that DAILY letters home (in addition to your diary / log) can help. I plan on trying this next trip.

Your plan sounds good, the first 3 weeks you can hike in anticipation of hiking with your wife, then you get to hike with her. Bear in mind that you will be 3 weeks ahead of her in: trail savy, conditioning, etc.


I envy you! My wife LOVES being outdoors, but absolutly CAN NOT sleep on the ground, and I cant get her to try my hammock. She won't even lay in it once. Also will not give me a reason for that, SIGH! So, I solo hike, & tell her all about it when I get home.


Doctari.

Blissful
01-09-2007, 15:41
For me the next six weeks after I leave my hubby at NOC (he will hike the first 2 weeks with us) will be really tough. We may not see him again until Damascus. We have never been apart for that long, so it will be hard for both of us. I just plan to hike, hike, get in late, cook, fall asleep, so I don't get to thinking. And I'm going to leave him upteen million ideas of things to do. If it gets too bad, we will make the time for him to drive down and spend a day or two if we need to. We're just gonna take it step by step, like everything else in this journey.

Lilred
01-09-2007, 16:58
I did a long section 2 summers ago. Started at Standing Indian. My husband met me at Newfound Gap and when he went home, I got so homesick for him that I quit my hike and went home. Immediately regretted it and after two weeks home, went back out again and hiked to Irwin. This last summer told hubby no way was I going to have him meet me. If I ever do a thru, I told him no getting together before NY.

leeki pole
01-09-2007, 17:08
I think I would have to take breaks too, given your situation.
I don't see that as wimpy, but loving.

When I did my thru in '03, I was lucky enough to be relatively unentangled with home, significant other, pets, work, etc. I was in a transition phase, and that is very liberating.

I think this is an unexamined piece of the thru-hiking puzzle for some, because in such a transition, the air hangs heavy with POSSIBILITY. There is such a freedom in that, and I felt much like I did as a teenager with a life of possibily ahead of me. What a gift, to feel that again!
:)

This is not a PRESCRIPTION for anyone's hike, by the way, just a DEscription of mine. That's just how it was, and that intoxicating freedom with multiple possibilities added deeply to my enjoyment of the hike. At no point did Iwant to get off the Trail before Katahdin.

Now that I have returned to purchase land and build a little yellow cottage in the woods, plant my roses, blueberries and organic garden, spend weekends with my sweetie and care for the work, community activities and pets that have found their way to me, it would be much harder to do. I think I would grow very homesick.

That said, even in transition, life does not GIVE you a thru-hike. You have to make it happen, carve out the time, if you want it. It's a huge undertaking. Tha's why you see so many post-school and post-retirees out there, along with post-layoffs, post-divorces, etc.

My hat is off to anyone who rearranges their life to do so. It is no small undertaking.

Well said, Jan. And thanks again for your wonderful journal. I enjoyed every entry of it and look forward to 2013, when I'll make the trek.

Sectioning now but thru-ing soon...Keith :sun

Mother's Finest
01-09-2007, 17:50
maxncathy,

you are not a wimp

sounds like you have your plans pretty well dialed in.

family and home life can break a hike before it even starts.

peace
mf

Heater
01-09-2007, 19:44
I envy you! My wife LOVES being outdoors, but absolutly CAN NOT sleep on the ground, and I cant get her to try my hammock.

Can she sleep in a cot? Luxurylite makes a backpacking cot that might just do the trick.

http://www.luxurylite.com/cotindex.html

superman
01-09-2007, 20:17
Early in my AT hike there was an excellent hiker. He had all the right stuff and knew tons of stuff about the flora and fauna. He could hike with the best of them....except....he was home sick. From morning to night all he talked about was what he was missing at home. Every one around him got to know his families schedule as he ticked of the various family members daily activities. I was a nice guy and personable but wasn't happy on the trail. Finally one day I said to him "you know you don't have to be here. If what you want is to be home you can go there." It was like it hadn't occurred to him. He went home at the first opportunity.
What I explained to people on the trail was that "hiking the trail was my reward, not my punishment." I'd wanted to hike the trail in 1968 when I'd gotten out of the Army but I got married, had kids, been responsible instead. I'd done my duty and hiking the AT was my turn for me. It was the biggest and best thing I'd ever done just for me.
I feel that when it's your time you'll do it. When it isn't your time something will take you off the trail. Simplistic view but I'm a simple guy.

superman
01-09-2007, 20:21
He was a nice guy....not I was a nice guy.

Doctari
01-09-2007, 22:25
Can she sleep in a cot? Luxurylite makes a backpacking cot that might just do the trick.

http://www.luxurylite.com/cotindex.html

Thanks!

See PM.

Doctari.

Heater
01-09-2007, 22:33
Thanks!

See PM.

Doctari.

This guy has a lot of great ideas. He does not get mentioned much though.
I am really considering one of his hiking sticks.

I inquired with another poster on this site about the cot some time back and he seem happy with it. If you get one please post a review.

I just wish he took Checks or MO's. I just might have'ta drive down there.

the_iceman
01-09-2007, 23:19
Missing the family will be the biggest challenge for me for sure. I will have daughters that will be home from college for the summer and I won’t be around to enjoy it. The youngest is going to start with me until Neel’s Gap on her spring break. The older one left for Europe on a semester abroad on 1/2/07. She will return home after my start.

I am feeling a little self inflicted pressure to get done before they head back to college in late August. With a 3/5/07 start that gives me 5 ˝ months. I need to pace myself and not let outside pressures push me into an injury.

maxNcathy
01-10-2007, 16:55
Missing the family will be the biggest challenge for me for sure. I will have daughters that will be home from college for the summer and I won’t be around to enjoy it. The youngest is going to start with me until Neel’s Gap on her spring break. The older one left for Europe on a semester abroad on 1/2/07. She will return home after my start.

I am feeling a little self inflicted pressure to get done before they head back to college in late August. With a 3/5/07 start that gives me 5 ˝ months. I need to pace myself and not let outside pressures push me into an injury.

Iceman, it sounds like you really want to spend time with your girls this summer...maybe skip the hot boring parts in and around Pa. Make your hike an even 1600 miles. That would be twice the distance that Bill Bryson and his buddy Katz hiked. Leave that section for another time...some spring or fall with your girls with you.

In any case I hope your hike is very satisfying and that you don't get injured.

Sandalwood

Blissful
01-10-2007, 19:55
I am feeling a little self inflicted pressure to get done before they head back to college in late August. With a 3/5/07 start that gives me 5 ˝ months. I need to pace myself and not let outside pressures push me into an injury.

That's our challenge too as Paul Bunyan needs to be back by late August to start college. Wish we had all the time like many do, but we don't. That is also why we did the section in VA too - SNP to Harper's Ferry, to give us more time. And pacing will be a challenge for me as I am a time keeper.

Grandma Dixie
01-10-2007, 20:10
Another person with the same problem. I need to get back home to start college as well... If I make it that long.

Blissful
01-10-2007, 20:19
Another person with the same problem. I need to get back home to start college as well... If I make it that long.


Sure you'll make it! :)

We start March 1st and "Paul Bunyan" will be 16 1/2. Sure he would like a hiking bud along the way - you can PM him too.
BTW - his grandparents live in Scotia, NY, down the road from you.

VictoriaM
01-10-2007, 22:43
Another college student here. I'm taking spring semester off for this, can't afford to miss fall, too.

Homesickness will be a big problem for me as well. I just got married last May, so I'll be on the trail on my 1st anniversary (unless he finds a way to visit me that day, but still). I'll miss my husband terribly. I'm doing the best I can to get him involved so that we can stay connected while I hike, but I'm still worried about how I'll do - how we'll both do - while I'm away.

rafe
01-10-2007, 22:54
I'll prolly take ***** for this, but cell phones are nice for keeping in touch. I leave the sucker off while hiking and use it sparingly. It hasn't detracted one iota from my "hiking experience." I might feel differently about this on the PCT or CDT, but not on the AT.

roaddamage
01-11-2007, 10:21
Practice, practice, practice.... korea,iraq,egypt,iraq, have helped me to deal with homesickness. I'm looking forward to finally going somewhere where no one wants to kill me, I think I will be less homesick when I'm actually enjoying myself. You can always stop in a town and use a phone, or write letters...and you can also have letters written to you, but that means the senders need to have a post office list, know how to mark the letters, and send them so that you get them in a timely manner.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or forgetful, this trip might show which is true for you in your relationships.

maxNcathy
01-13-2007, 10:16
Another college student here. I'm taking spring semester off for this, can't afford to miss fall, too.

Homesickness will be a big problem for me as well. I just got married last May, so I'll be on the trail on my 1st anniversary (unless he finds a way to visit me that day, but still). I'll miss my husband terribly. I'm doing the best I can to get him involved so that we can stay connected while I hike, but I'm still worried about how I'll do - how we'll both do - while I'm away.

Cathy and I met a thruhiker, "Overflow" who was recently married when she hiked all the way to Maine. She kept a journal on www.trailjournals.com (http://www.trailjournals.com)
Sandalwood

the_iceman
01-17-2007, 23:50
I have already sectioned the Northern 3rd. Katahdin to the Hudson River. Do the other 2/3 thirds is not a thru hike for me.

Everything else in my life says the time is now so I have to make the choice and take the chance. I am going to try and take neros versus zeros and may take a week off if family friends visit the US from France.

maxNcathy
01-22-2007, 17:31
Does anyone plan to leave a sweetheart at home?

Michele
01-22-2007, 18:45
Does anyone plan to leave a sweetheart at home?

Yup....my partner has a new job as an executive chef. I already told her boss to keep her really busy while I'm gone (he laughed and said THAT wouldn't be a problem).

I worry more about her than me, simply because I'll be the one experiencing all the new and exciting stuff.

We've been through some separation before though...when I was in the military. This won't be nearly as bad though, because I know in the back of my mind that if at any point I just need to go home for a week.....I can. No biggie. We're also planning probably 2 visits between GA & ME...one in Virginia for sure where we're going to spend a week w/some friends who live 20 min. from the trail.

My tactic will be this....when I start feeling homesick.....I will take the time to write my thoughts down, because those are the things that we all forget to tell our loved ones when we see them everyday. I am excited about the positive things that are going to come out of some time apart.

Much like hiking over that mountain when you don't feel like it....it's about perspective. Don't fear it, embrace it.

Tipi Walter
01-22-2007, 19:33
Practice, practice, practice.... korea,iraq,egypt,iraq, have helped me to deal with homesickness. I'm looking forward to finally going somewhere where no one wants to kill me, I think I will be less homesick when I'm actually enjoying myself. You can always stop in a town and use a phone, or write letters...and you can also have letters written to you, but that means the senders need to have a post office list, know how to mark the letters, and send them so that you get them in a timely manner.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or forgetful, this trip might show which is true for you in your relationships.

Going somewhere where no one wants to kill me -- that's got a good ring to it. Thanks for the perspective.

I guess books could be written on the varied emotions in the human heart, especially as it relates to backpacking and being in Nature. Loneliness can be paralyzing and crappy whether I'm in a town, overseas, or in the woods. I guess homesickness is a spiritual malaise, something all humans seem to contain, a lifelong thorn in the heart alleviated only temporarily by serial relationships. We are like moths to the flame and all that rot.

Now this homesickness as it relates to nature, camping and backpacking will be studied by nearly everyone who pumps nylon, no matter if they are free floating or have a loved one at home waiting. I guess there are two main types of people: Those who are seeking someone and those already with someone. In my fetid opinion it is far easier to deal with the outdoors when there is someone waiting and missing me than not. But I imagine many people hit the trail seeking a partner, the usual thrill of the hunt thing, and god knows I've spent time in the outdoors in that mode. But not all of it.

Here's my question: Let's say you decide to spend the next 10 years living on the trail or living outdoors(and working minimally), would your loved one join you or dump you?

Blissful
01-22-2007, 21:18
Does anyone plan to leave a sweetheart at home?

My hubby will be with us sporadically on the trail but he will be at home for a good chunk. He plans to spend time sending us mail drops with nifty food he is creating from an AT menu book he got from the ATC (made some energy bars today).

WhoAh
01-22-2007, 21:30
Does anyone plan to leave a sweetheart at home?

Yes - my wife and soulmate of 22 years. This will be the longest we have been apart since we got married - of all the things that I see as "tough" that this journey will bring, being away from her will be the toughest.

She is very supportive of this hike - I will owe her like big time when I get done - the brownie point-pool will have been reduced way below acceptable limits, and I am doing all I can right now to bring that level up just as high as I can before leaving....

Lacbe
01-22-2007, 21:41
Does anyone plan to leave a sweetheart at home?(Yes- my wife of 34 years) I will miss her and my 2 daughters. What concerns me the most is not seeing my 2 grandsons, if I fail its because I'll be missing them. My world revolves around them. Its a shame you got to have kids to get to grandkids :eek:

maxNcathy
01-22-2007, 22:17
Going somewhere where no one wants to kill me -- that's got a good ring to it. Thanks for the perspective.

I guess books could be written on the varied emotions in the human heart, especially as it relates to backpacking and being in Nature. Loneliness can be paralyzing and crappy whether I'm in a town, overseas, or in the woods. I guess homesickness is a spiritual malaise, something all humans seem to contain, a lifelong thorn in the heart alleviated only temporarily by serial relationships. We are like moths to the flame and all that rot.

Now this homesickness as it relates to nature, camping and backpacking will be studied by nearly everyone who pumps nylon, no matter if they are free floating or have a loved one at home waiting. I guess there are two main types of people: Those who are seeking someone and those already with someone. In my fetid opinion it is far easier to deal with the outdoors when there is someone waiting and missing me than not. But I imagine many people hit the trail seeking a partner, the usual thrill of the hunt thing, and god knows I've spent time in the outdoors in that mode. But not all of it.

Here's my question: Let's say you decide to spend the next 10 years living on the trail or living outdoors(and working minimally), would your loved one join you or dump you?

Hi Tipi Walter,

You are an insightful guy.
To answer your question, my wife would not join me for very long if I chose to rough it outdoors. She is good for a short period.
Now she talks about renting an RV and hoboing in it for 2 months. She loves short hikes but not long dirty cold wet ones. She's a wimp. hahah

Sandalwood

rafe
01-22-2007, 22:26
Does anyone plan to leave a sweetheart at home?
My wife. We're quite fond of one another but she doesn't hike much. So I'll be calling her every day or two on that evil electronic thing buried in my pack. She understands that reception can be spotty. Once she got a short garbled message... something like, "this [crackle] phone [hiss] sucks [click]" She was OK with that.

Tipi Walter
01-22-2007, 23:41
Hi Tipi Walter,

You are an insightful guy.
To answer your question, my wife would not join me for very long if I chose to rough it outdoors. She is good for a short period.
Now she talks about renting an RV and hoboing in it for 2 months. She loves short hikes but not long dirty cold wet ones. She's a wimp. hahah

Sandalwood

You've set up some interesting threads of late and they get me to thinking. Maybe there are two kinds of partners: One kind that will be there when we get back after a long stint in the woods and the other kind that won't.

I guess 10,000 years ago we all lived together in the woods but those days are gone, sob.

J Link NJ
01-23-2007, 01:37
my dad's doin the first week, uncle's doin the 2nd week, g/f?'s doin about a month in may, dad and his friend are doin a long weekend when i get to windgap, pa, and my friend might join me when i get to jersey and go as far as he can before school starts. i deffinately do think that getting homesick can be a problem, but i will try to look foward to when i will be meeting up with someone, rather than the fact that i could go home. Plus i will be making friends with all of you! 53 more days till the start of my thru hike!!

maxNcathy
01-23-2007, 10:56
my dad's doin the first week, uncle's doin the 2nd week, g/f?'s doin about a month in may, dad and his friend are doin a long weekend when i get to windgap, pa, and my friend might join me when i get to jersey and go as far as he can before school starts. i deffinately do think that getting homesick can be a problem, but i will try to look foward to when i will be meeting up with someone, rather than the fact that i could go home. Plus i will be making friends with all of you! 53 more days till the start of my thru hike!!

That sounds like a fun way to keep you motivated and on the trail having fun.

Sandalwood

maxNcathy
01-23-2007, 11:00
You've set up some interesting threads of late and they get me to thinking. Maybe there are two kinds of partners: One kind that will be there when we get back after a long stint in the woods and the other kind that won't.

I guess 10,000 years ago we all lived together in the woods but those days are gone, sob.

Yes, from the woods to concrete jungles...progress!!:mad:

Tipi, have you found a great woman that let's you do your thing, or better still, enjoys being with you in the woods?:sun :sun

DjangoRob
01-23-2007, 11:28
I think I've nailed this motivation thing; my flight home (gotta get back for university) is in Bangor :D

Tipi Walter
01-23-2007, 11:47
Yes, from the woods to concrete jungles...progress!!:mad:

Tipi, have you found a great woman that let's you do your thing, or better still, enjoys being with you in the woods?:sun :sun

Little Mitten(her trail name)will wait for me no matter what. If I'm out for 2 weeks or 6 months she'll be there when I get back.

We've gone on several trips together but not enough, and one trip was almost enough: http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=155199

It was her introduction to the fitful world of nylon pumping on some hellish wilderness trails but the trip didn't go south until we attempted to do the mean and nasty Brush Mt trail in the Citico Wilderness.

Living out is not for everyone but I've found my calling and she understands.

ed bell
01-23-2007, 12:01
Tipi, I had some friends that included the Brush Mountain Trail in a 5 day Kilmer/Slickrock trip. The group leader was lucky to make it home alive after a near mutiny because of that tough trail. These fellas had 20+ years of skills under each of their belts, but they said that was about as confused and turned around as they had ever been. Maybe I'll give it a shot someday.:eek:

Tipi Walter
01-23-2007, 12:19
Tipi, I had some friends that included the Brush Mountain Trail in a 5 day Kilmer/Slickrock trip. The group leader was lucky to make it home alive after a near mutiny because of that tough trail. These fellas had 20+ years of skills under each of their belts, but they said that was about as confused and turned around as they had ever been. Maybe I'll give it a shot someday.:eek:

Wow, it has a reputation! It's a Dual Level Trail: Either it takes me out or the companions with me take me out. For some reason your quote "lucky to make it home alive after a near mutiny" made me smile in fond rememberance.

jlb2012
01-23-2007, 12:38
Tipi, I had some friends that included the Brush Mountain Trail in a 5 day Kilmer/Slickrock trip. The group leader was lucky to make it home alive after a near mutiny because of that tough trail. These fellas had 20+ years of skills under each of their belts, but they said that was about as confused and turned around as they had ever been. Maybe I'll give it a shot someday.:eek:

Interesting - looks like Brush Mtn. Tr. is on the list as a trail that "may be abandoned" - http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/cherokee/rec/trails.shtml

Tipi Walter
01-23-2007, 13:07
Interesting - looks like Brush Mtn. Tr. is on the list as a trail that "may be abandoned" - http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/cherokee/rec/trails.shtml

Yeah, I heard the scuttlebutt on that thru the forest grapevine but thanks for the link. My first thought was, well, I'll keep it open! And then I thought, heck, all the trails in the Citico(especially the North Fork)look abandoned, at least by the forest service. And then I heard Ken Jones tell me a school group from Asheville will be doing two trips to the North Fork for volunteer trailwork this March so yippee!

I might be wrong, but I think ALL Citico trailwork is now on a volunteer basis(non-contractual).

maxNcathy
01-27-2007, 19:14
I wonder if I will be homesick or lonely when I hike north this spring...sure hope I find at least one person who likes hiking with me.The young folks will probably think I am just another old buzzard.

mike!
01-28-2007, 04:34
hah theres no way you can be considered old with a name like max! also, you 'old buzzards' always have the best stories around the campfire.
I'll be looking out for ya,
mike!
P.S. the only thing i've missed on a 2+ week hike was my dog, I'd love to bring her along, but i know its best for her health to stay home for day hikes.

Marta
01-28-2007, 08:03
I...sure hope I find at least one person who likes hiking with me.The young folks will probably think I am just another old buzzard.

You might be surprised. One type of hiker who might be drawn to you is female hikers quite a bit younger than you are. The age difference will offset the gender difference in terms of hiking speed and endurance, and you'll make her feel safe. Hopefully you can take that as a compliment. ;)

Wanderingson
01-28-2007, 08:50
Howdy All,

I'll begin by saying I never experience being homesick. I do call it "hitting the wall". After 26 years in the military with multiple deployments and extended seprations, I have "hit the wall" on multiple occasions. I always discussed this at length with each of my troops because at some point and time, each of us "hit the wall".

So what exactly do you mean by hitting the wall? Well, let me expalin: Whether long distance hiking or on any extended trip which involves seperation, you hit that wall.

Hitting the wall is nothing more than a series of events that triggers that emotional dispair that we just can't pinpoint. It comes a little bit different for each of us and it certainly comes at different times. It's that little voice inside our heads that makes you want to say "F" IT--I quit.

This time normally comes when we are emotionally, physicall, and spritually (however you define that) bankrupt. The intensity and duration are subject to our own unique experiences.

So, how do we get though this thing we call hitting the wall? I'll tell you what works for me. I grab the very first person I know and I unload. I have found that just pouring my heart out and having someone else who knows exactly what the heck I'm talking about give me that ***** eating grin and says, Dude I know what you mean. Well, that typically snaps me out of my funk and gets me going again.

You may call it homesick, but I choose to call it hitting the wall. We may call it home sick because when we face these challenges, we tend to go back to our comfort zone--HOME.

Ok--that's my 2 cents worth, but it looks like it will cost the Govt 10 cents.

Tipi Walter
01-28-2007, 09:30
Howdy All,

I'll begin by saying I never experience being homesick. I do call it "hitting the wall". After 26 years in the military with multiple deployments and extended seprations, I have "hit the wall" on multiple occasions. I always discussed this at length with each of my troops because at some point and time, each of us "hit the wall".

So what exactly do you mean by hitting the wall? Well, let me expalin: Whether long distance hiking or on any extended trip which involves seperation, you hit that wall.

Hitting the wall is nothing more than a series of events that triggers that emotional dispair that we just can't pinpoint. It comes a little bit different for each of us and it certainly comes at different times. It's that little voice inside our heads that makes you want to say "F" IT--I quit.

This time normally comes when we are emotionally, physicall, and spritually (however you define that) bankrupt. The intensity and duration are subject to our own unique experiences.

So, how do we get though this thing we call hitting the wall? I'll tell you what works for me. I grab the very first person I know and I unload. I have found that just pouring my heart out and having someone else who knows exactly what the heck I'm talking about give me that ***** eating grin and says, Dude I know what you mean. Well, that typically snaps me out of my funk and gets me going again.

You may call it homesick, but I choose to call it hitting the wall. We may call it home sick because when we face these challenges, we tend to go back to our comfort zone--HOME.

Ok--that's my 2 cents worth, but it looks like it will cost the Govt 10 cents.


Very good post from someone who knows. When I was in the Air Force in '72 I was stationed in the Republic of Panama for 2 years and I was all messed up. I hit the wall or hit bottom or whatever you want to call it, I remember having a long emotional conversation with my first sergeant in his car, I guess I "unloaded." I can't imagine what those guys in Vietnam experienced. Emotional despair about nails it. To me it felt exactly like a bad weight on my shoulders and one I couldn't shake.

But not everyone hits the wall, or do they? Some people's nervous system is more fragile than others and one big reason I love the outdoors and need to sleep outdoors all the time is because the woods offers a high-strung type like me solace and peace. It is predictable, steady, familiar, relatively pristine and beautiful, all the things Panama was not(and the human world is not).

So when I think of the youngsters and kids starting out on the AT and staying out for 5 or 6 months, I have to remember how I felt when I was 19 and know that many of them will have their own periods of despair and hitting the wall.

Wanderingson
01-28-2007, 10:21
But not everyone hits the wall, or do they?

Oh, I would imagine most of us hit the wall to some degree. Just think about a few factors: rain, pain, blisters,rain, cold, heat, wet, twisted ankle, rain, drab food, rain, cold, heat, tip and fall, gash on leg, gash on forearm, gash on forehead, rain, heat, cold, roots, rocks, another fall, aches, pains, rain............ Oh yeah, sooner or later we hit that wall.

maxNcathy
01-28-2007, 12:10
Hitting the wall reminds me why some people hike looonnnggg looooonggg distances up high high hillls and mountains...

" WHY did the little moron bang his head against a stone wall?

BECAUSE it felt so good when he stopped."

Sandalwood

rafe
01-28-2007, 14:10
" WHY did the little moron bang his head against a stone wall? BECAUSE it felt so good when he stopped."

I think you're onto something, there. Going without makes you so much more appreciative of what you've got.

Wanna "experience" a four day hike? Here's how. Avoid all all indoor plumbing. For four days straight. See how it goes. :)

ATwalker48
01-28-2007, 14:13
I had started my Thru-hike March 20, 2006 the last thing I figured was to get homesick. The lack of good food yes but homesick no. Well that is what got to me the most. There were alot of things with work and giving up 20 years with a co. BUT missing my wife was what made me go home. I still try and find a way to start over with my dream. My wife supported me 110%. She even told me to stay out longer to make sure that was what I wanted. married for 28years and never away more then 2 weeks from each other took it's toll. The funny part was when she drove right pass me at the bus station.:eek: She did not know it was me. I was the only person there.
Walker
PS I have not found a way to get pass the homesick part of a trip. I am looking for answers if anyone has any.

rafe
01-28-2007, 14:16
PS I have not found a way to get pass the homesick part of a trip. I am looking for answers if anyone has any.

Phone? Dunno for sure... my longest sections in recent years have been about 10-12 days at a time. The phone really helps.

maxNcathy
02-04-2007, 12:22
I had started my Thru-hike March 20, 2006 the last thing I figured was to get homesick. The lack of good food yes but homesick no. Well that is what got to me the most. There were alot of things with work and giving up 20 years with a co. BUT missing my wife was what made me go home. I still try and find a way to start over with my dream. My wife supported me 110%. She even told me to stay out longer to make sure that was what I wanted. married for 28years and never away more then 2 weeks from each other took it's toll. The funny part was when she drove right pass me at the bus station.:eek: She did not know it was me. I was the only person there.
Walker
PS I have not found a way to get pass the homesick part of a trip. I am looking for answers if anyone has any.

How to overcome homesickness for your dear wife: carry a personal list from your wife of all the nasty things your wife wants you to do around the house and property.
Such as:
1) clean the toilet bowls on Mondays and Fridays
2)scrub the bath tubs in both bathrooms each day
3) paint the bathroom and wallpaper the 3 bedrooms
4) go through the filing cabinet and sort each file and decide what needs to be thrown out
5)put new roofing on the house
...

mambo_tango
02-04-2007, 15:18
My BF is going to be gone all summer anyway... so even if I went home he wouldn't be there. So I might as well stay on the trail. He would be the only one I would really really miss. I plan on putting my cell phone in my bounce box so that my friends and family can leave me voice-mail. I will probably call home every once and awhile so I can cry and have my mom comfort me.

maxNcathy
02-07-2007, 11:00
hah theres no way you can be considered old with a name like max! also, you 'old buzzards' always have the best stories around the campfire.
I'll be looking out for ya,
mike!
P.S. the only thing i've missed on a 2+ week hike was my dog, I'd love to bring her along, but i know its best for her health to stay home for day hikes.

Thanks, Mike. have a great hike. Hope to meet you on the Trail.
Sandalwood/Max

maxNcathy
02-07-2007, 11:02
My BF is going to be gone all summer anyway... so even if I went home he wouldn't be there. So I might as well stay on the trail. He would be the only one I would really really miss. I plan on putting my cell phone in my bounce box so that my friends and family can leave me voice-mail. I will probably call home every once and awhile so I can cry and have my mom comfort me.

Too bad your BF couldn't go with you hiking.

superman
02-07-2007, 13:12
"I can't imagine what those guys in Vietnam experienced."

I was 18 when I went to Vietnam. I was an RTO and later an FO in the Big Red One. I was there for two tours from 66 to 68. When I was an FNG I didn't know which way was up and I couldn't imagine lasting a year. The guys who had been there awhile stayed away from new guys and would barely talk to me. Even when they did say something it was hard to figure out what they meant. I was worse than a deer caught in the headlights on my first operation. Finally one of the guys said to me "give yourself up to the jungle." It was like he was talking a foreign language....what the heck does that mean? That translated to mean, "if you want to see home again...stop thinking about it, stay alert and don't ---- up."

When the class of 2000 finished the AT many of us stayed in touch. One of the very intelligent, very excellent hikers tried to compare hiking the AT with doing a tour in Vietnam. The differences are huge, it's not even close!

http://groups.msn.com/OldGUYthenandnow/shoebox.msnw

Webs
02-07-2007, 16:03
I like the idea someone once suggested of making a letter-journal, where you record what you did and messages to your loved ones at home, then send it to them periodically. Double duty: remember what you did for years to come, while simultaneously keeping in touch with family. Snail-mail is a lost art. :p

maxNcathy
02-08-2007, 11:45
You might be surprised. One type of hiker who might be drawn to you is female hikers quite a bit younger than you are. The age difference will offset the gender difference in terms of hiking speed and endurance, and you'll make her feel safe. Hopefully you can take that as a compliment. ;)

Marta! I do like being around most people who like the outdoors no matter if they are male or female or young or old. It would be nice to make some good friends.

I do wonder how many hikers spend a lot of time boring others about what ultra great super hikers they are...telling everyone how many trails they have hiked and how many years they have hiked and how many miles they have hiked and how many mountains they have climbed and ...

maxNcathy
02-17-2007, 11:03
Marta! I do like being around most people who like the outdoors no matter if they are male or female or young or old. It would be nice to make some good friends.

...

And it is fun and helpful to hear the tales of those veteran hikers.
When you feel that I fit right in with others with similar passions then I think of them as family and don't feel so alone and homesick.

Sandalwood

maxNcathy
03-05-2007, 09:10
Those who are sick of home may not get homesick at all.