Chronic Illness, Mental Health, Phase 3

Goal: 50 by 30

While I am no longer in DBT, during my period working through it I spent some time working on coming up with goals. This was in attempt to come up with reasons to stick around and not give up hope. We were meant to list all sorts of things, but my lists invariably comprised of travel. These kinds of goals are really helpful for me, because they are attainable, fun, and I can never run out of places to see. My main short-ish term goal is to visit, even just passing through, every one of the 50 US states. I’ve already been to 28, and we’re about to add another, with plans for 6 more in the nearish future.

A few days ago I had an urge. My girlfriend is amazing when I get these. They help me navigate what’s reasonable and what’s not. I wanted to just take off on a road trip right then, but they reminded me that while that would be fun, we had frozen groceries in the car. My car also needs some work before it’s roadtrip worthy. Did you know that if the hood latch fails on the interstate, the hood will fly up and not only shatter the windshield, but also bend the hood itself out of shape so much it can barely close? I do now. We’re still yet to fix the hood to be roadworthy, but it works to putter around town. Zip ties are amazing things when you use them right.

Anyway, we went home and began planning. Last year I discovered that I love backpacking and hammock camping, so we decided that getting a second hammock would be cheaper than a tent and that set up (we were barely right). It’s also more space efficient, seeing as we will have to carry everything the whole way, and a whole ass tent would not be fun to lug up and down the trail. Also, freakin’ hammocks. Come on.

There are several states right nearby that I haven’t been to, and figured this would be a great excuse to do so. However, after some research, I realized that it’s still cold in Michigan and Minnesota right now, so the original itinerary is going to be postponed. The original plan was about 30 hours of drive time, hitting, in order, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, backpacking in Michigan.

Instead, we’re going to go backpacking in Arkansas, then going down through Louisiana (state number 29) to Florida, where we plan to go to the beach under the full moon.

With COVID isolation for almost 3 months and only working at home, I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass, so I’m apprehensive about how my stamina will be on this hike. The last time that I went on anywhere near this long of a trip was almost a year ago. We plan to make a slower pace. I found this to be incredibly important on my last long hike. There’s no destination, you’re just walking for the sake of walking, no reason to wear yourself out by booking it. We also got two different style and shape backpacks, so when one gets uncomfortable, we can swap. I made sure to get trek sticks that were tall enough for me, even though the trail isn’t all that rough. Trying to take into account my abilities and instabilities, experience with this kind of activity, and the general attitude I’m approaching the hike with has been really helpful in alleviating my anxiety.

Some time in the next month I will hopefully be posting about backpacking as a semi-disabled person.

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