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Time for some mushiness!

I have been doing a bit of digital prep today. Basically, I have been letting the hordes of fans that I have on my several thousand other blogs (you can stop laughing now) know that once I am on the trail, my blog presence will be mostly here. If anyone is bored, and maybe actually wants some more insight into what this trip is all about for me, feel free to visit these posts/blogs:

  • A Fresh Canvas — where I describe in detail the ultimate WHY of this trip.
  • Going on a stroll … — a little gratuitous self promotion (like this) in an attempt to get more people along for the ride.
  • Peace Child — a last ditch attempt to save the world before I explore it.

For the geeks among us, I have also added a plugin that should make any pictures I share here nice and albumized (is that a word?).

I would like to thank ...

I would like to thank …

Now that I am done trying to make myself look good again, I wanted to say thank you … while I am thinking of it. Just in case I neglect to do it later, I want to be sure that EVERYONE involved in this endeavor truly understands how much I appreciate them. First and foremost of course I want to thank THE Idiot, our friend Mark, for creating this adventure in the first place. As far as I am concerned, you are still coming along, and I will be thinking of you the whole trip … especially when I am wondering why the hell I am torturing myself in such a way. Which reminds me, I need to get some skittles! I want to thank those of you who have made charity donations; those who have given moral support from the beginning (in many cases the same people); those who have offered advice; those who have helped with the preparations (whether financially or otherwise) — even if blood relations guilted you into it. And I want to thank of course my newest partner in crime Maytag … for jumping aboard, being VERY enthusiastic about it, and keeping me on my toes as we prepare.

Even though the fundamental nature of the hike has shifted form (several times), I still view it as a group effort. I still have dreams of making this charitably profitable. I still hope to join people from the blogging (and social networking) world on or off the trail, even if just for an hour or two. Contributions of any sort are still welcome (care packages are always a good idea haha), and will be throughout the hike. In a way, this is more than just a hike, this is an experiment in the power of digital friendship. I am considering the idea of dedicating each week to a specific charity, where maybe others can raise pledges based on the distance travelled for that week. If anyone likes this idea, and/or has a specific charity/cause that they are passionate about … let me know. Spread the word. I also welcome suggestions on other ways this can become more of a group event. The very thought energizes me and I suspect it will help motivate on those days when the muscles are screaming or the weather is drenching or the insects are swarming.

OK that is enough gushing for today. I still have some fine tuning to do on packing and such. I probably will till the moment we leave. Catch you all again soon!

Taking the tongue out of the cheek for a bit

The adventure begins very soon.

I can’t wait.

I generally get one of three reactions when I tell people about my plans. Some can’t imagine WHY I would do such a “crazy” thing. Others think it is a cool idea and wish they could do something similar. Most fall somewhere in between, thinking it is very cool but also thinking it is kind of crazy. I know I have explored the reasons before, and the reality is there are many. But as we get closer to actually starting, it seems those reasons are clarifying even for me. The many are merging into one, the true essence of what this adventure is about.
Before I bore you all with words though, I want to share a song that actually does a very good job of displaying my “why”. This is performed by a young prodigy who will someday (possible very soon) be a star. I have shared another of her songs before, but this one is the newest and … well … kind of says it all. Call it an my theme song.

 

OK now the boring words.

As our world grows more and more “advanced”, it seems we drift further and further away from the basics. We lose ourselves to technology; to the love of things; to celebrity worship and placing value on gossip that entertains while ignoring any truth that makes us uncomfortable. In an age where information is available to so many with the simple statement or typing of a question, we seem to have lost the ability to distinguish between what is truly important and what simply PLEASES us. We are losing the ability to live WELL in our pursuit of the ability to live EASILY. And this often happens at the expense of those who do not have such a choice.

Modern culture is defined by addiction. Addiction to ease. Addiction to wealth and comfort. We would rather have someone or something else do for us … instead of doing for ourselves. To the point that we have often even lost the ability to even THINK for ourselves. Yet some call this progress. I too have been sucked into this addiction by the most insidious method … social networking. The ease obtaining information via digital media is both a blessing and a curse. For it most who have access to such technology become digital addicts. Even in areas where it is a struggle to just survive … everyone has their cell phone. For years we have been bombarded with spam for the senses, numbing us while at the same time frequently hiding that which we SHOULD know, that which we SHOULD care about. We are becoming less than human, while other suffer in the shadows.

Personally  my soul has sickened from this addiction, and it is time for me to gain sense of what is truly important back. THAT is ultimately what this journey is about. To unplug. To get back to the basics. To relearn the value of life; the value of doing. To embrace the one thing that we all share … our humanity and its origins. It is an escape from pollution of the soul to visit the core. Lately I have been dreaming about the hike, to the point that I sleep as much as I can until I actually get to it. I am longing for the simplicity of simple day-to-day living, while at the same time embracing the joy of  life itself. I am seeking to purge myself of the shadows anger that so-called “progressive” and “modern” society coats my soul with, and maybe in the process learn how to medicate against this digital addiction in the future. That, ultimately, is what this hike is about. Isn’t it ironic that I have to use the monster itself to make it happen. Life IS irony.

Note on progress: 

Maytag and I both pretty much have all the equipment we need. My funds are drying up so such things as food for the trip are still kind of an issue, but it will happen. My Go Fund Me Campaign has not been all that fruitful, which is really no surprise since I am not a cute child dying of a disease, have not suffered from a major disaster, and have no celebrity whatsoever. But I do appreciate ALL the help that has been offered, even if it took the form of advice. I suspect the original dream of grand happenings from this adventure will probably fall short, but it will still be well worth the effort.

Next time I won’t be so gloomy folks! 🙂

The countdown continues …

Now that we are approaching the end of 2013, it dawns on me that it also means that 2014 is …

RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!!

This means that this hike thing is coming up very soon. I am not saying I am nervous or any such nonsesadgjsokdlbks

Sorry. Dropped my keyboard.

I still have a LOT to do, mainly cuz I am one of those people who has mastered the art of doing things last-minute. One of my challenges is still the whole funding thing. I have not been so successful in actually earning the money I need … which really does not surprise me seeing as I always do things the hard way. I am far from giving up, but I figured opening up possible resources is never a BAD thing, so I started a Go Fund Me Campaign:

//funds.gofundme.com/Widgetflex.swf

These seem to be very useful at times, so definitely worth a try. As always any help is appreciated … but not an obligation by any means. I also still encourage people to use this adventure as an excuse to make donations to charities. With so much happening in current events, Typhoons, War, Poverty, Health Issues … there is no lack of people in need. Donating really does not require a specific reason other than the will and means to do so, but if this hike adds additional encouragement, then it is a good thing. Not to mention knowing that we might be doing something good will keep us on our toes (literally). One new cause that some might be interested in is the Wounded Warrior Project. Partner Maytag is affiliated with them, and let them know what we are trying to do, and they seem all for it.

Again if financial contributions is beyond your means or desires, no hard feelings. Just the moral support is appreciated. But feel free to spread the word to others that may be interested. I still have dreams of this becoming something notable … but if not at least we tried. A few updates on training and planning:

  • I have gained a few pounds back, which means I need to tighten the discipline a bit and get my arse back in gear. Working on it (anyone know a good dominatrix type trainer?)
  • Maytag makes some mean Jerky, so starvation is no longer a major concern.
  • While my equipment list has not actually grown, the list of WHAT I need and want is definitely getting clear … and long. Poor Santa!
  • I am still walking several times a week to the “office” (granted on that is not doing the diet any good … but good on the exercise front) with a 20 pound pack on my back. I even do it in the rain occasionally. Not sure how safe it will be in the snow though.

The goal still is to get started on March 20, 2014. But I need to make a bunch of things happen first. Mayday has done a good job of helping the cause so far. As far as I can tell I am the weakest link. But nothing a good whack up the side of the head won’t cure!

Later y’all!

A little heathy(?) begging

It seems that time has done one of those funky things again. One minute my trip is, “Plenty of time … it’s not until the end of March.” All of a sudden it’s, “Holy crap … it’s at the end of March!” I still have most of my equipment to buy, but my budget is about as lucrative as that of the US government. Unfortunately, I don’t have any credit with Russia or China, and my attempt to shut down the kitchen until I go what I want really was not all that productive. But I will not give up. I will am going to try that always so effective budget tool, and ask the average man on the street to fund my personal projects. I have one advantage that the Gummint Guru’s do not. I don’t have to call it taxation. Instead I can call it Crowd Funding.

will hike for foodFor those of you unfamiliar with Crowd Funding, It is basically a way for the average joe to ask other average joes (and maybe even the occasional above average joe) to help fund a project. There are several forums in which this can be done, I think I will be using Kickstarter.  This does not mean someone just posts somewhere, “I need a million dollars to put a pool in my back yard,” and suddenly people start showering them with money. Rather one needs to make a proposal, and sell their project, and hope people find it worthwhile enough to make a contribution. This is usually done with a good solid video or the like … basically a commercial.

So my challenge is to come up with a valid reason WHY someone might be willing to help out in this endeavor. Basically I need to let everyone know what benefits THEY might get for a contribution. I tried going to the streets and asking a few men (and women) on the street. After getting bailed out and the black eye healed, I figured it might be safer for me to try the internet instead. So I am once again looking for some feedback here.  What would be an incentive for someone to maybe throw a few dollars my way to help me make this trip happen?

What my commercial will explain:

Reasons for the hike …

  1. For Mark, and Michelle, and anyone else who has had big dreams derailed by that mean bastard called Life.
  2. For myself, just to prove that I can do it.
  3. An inducement to folks to maybe help others who might be in need (via charities).
  4. A reminder to an over industrialized and technologied worlds that humans are actually capable of doing things the simple way still.
  5. To remind people that nature is, and always will be, part of our world, and needs to be cherished and nurtured for our world to remain healthy.
  6. To provide the material for a book.

Ultimately, my goal is to put together about $5000 dollars. How will the money be spent? About $2000 will be for the basic equipment needed. The rest will predominantly be food (and logistics) with a healthy buffer for emergencies and any replacement equipment that may be needed. Anything left over at the end of the hike will either go towards the book or charity.

The bit that is the most challenging is incentive. Most people will be thinking “What’s in it for me?” on some level. I can offer such things as a free book to anyone who contributes. If the contributor is say a business or an organization, I can offer publicity. But are these incentives enough? What else might someone want? That is my challenge at the moment. Any suggestions are most welcome, and will probably be used …. because I am that short on ideas. The one thing I DON’T want to do is to bully or guilt anyone into doing it, nor do I want to make anyone feel obliged in any way. In my mind any help will be appreciated, and even if no one is able … the trip will still happen. I will just have to find another way 🙂

Brace yourself. An idiot is thinking.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. –Albert Einstein

Einstein has always been one of my “idols”. And it is not just because of his cool hair. The man just made sense. Granted in order to understand some of the sense he made on needs a degree in physics and a slightly “different” mind, but it just so happens I HAVE a degree in physics. And a probably more than slightly different mind. This particular quote of his is one of my favorites, specifically because it is so obviously true on an empirical level. It seems to me the true key to Einstein’s genius was his ability to see what is right before his eyes, something severely lacking in most of us.

Unfortunately, by this definition, I am frequently quite insane.

I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone though.

My particular brand of insanity usually comes with often timely head whacks that wake me up though, which, while painful, usually help me straighten my course for a bit. Until the lure (and ease) of insanity draws me back in. In other words, every once in a while I recognize that I am spinning in circles and make an attempt to move in a different direction. Sometimes it even works!

Anyone reading this might be thinking “What are you on about already?” Well I will tell you … as soon as I remember.

Hey you over there, would you mind whacking me in the head?

SMACK!!

Oh yeah. That was it. This grand plan started off … well … grandly. But due to that often pesky bugger known as life, it has suffered a few derailments. For instance, the blog did not become a worldwide phenomenon overnight for some reason. The expected media frenzy about the idiots who plan to torture themselves for charity just did not happen for some equally unexplained reason. No doubt because it did not involve Miley Cyrus, a Kardashian, terrorism or Obamacare. The planned on sponsorships from major outdoors companies just don’t seem to be appearing. Yep this adventure is not quite taking off like was originally planned. Of course that does not mean it will not happen. It just means if I want to actually get the masses involved I will have to try something different.

Not that I have a clue what that might be.

In the mean time, here is what is going on so far:

My new partner Jeff is definitely organized, and keeping me on the ball with equipment prep and the like. While I have not yet purchased most of what I need, I have a pretty solid shopping list now. One of the things I still need to figure out is how to finance the trip. It will probably cost on the order of $4000, which is a fair amount of money for someone with no steady income or savings. But I will figure it out. I hear drug testing labs pay a lot of money. Jeff recently brought up another very important issue, and this one I need serious help with.

I need a Trail Name.

Jeff has a nice one, a long used nickname that seems perfect for a Trail Name as well. He chooses to be known as Maytag. I think it is a great name. Now I need to get on the ball with my own name. I have had numerous nicknames throughout my life, some of them not necessarily suitable for polite audiences. But none of them are jumping out at me as a nom-de-trail. So I figured what I would do is throw it out to the masses (even though the masses are not yet seeing the blog).

So I put it to you guys. What do you think would be a suitable Trail Name for a sometimes insane idiot on a mission? If I get several suggestions, I can even set up one of those fancy blog polls and have a vote. I might be throwing myself to the wolves here, but I am a partially insane idiot after all!

I look forward to the suggestions. This could be fun (or painful)!