Thru-Hiking in 2021 and also… NaNo!

Appalachian Trail Map!

Hello everyone! How are you making out these past couple of months? I am doing well. Is anyone doing NaNoWriMo this year? I am going to give it another shot this year. It’s a lot of fun trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days! My NaNo is https://nanowrimo.org/participants/damsteelman

Also, I am officially doing a northbound (NOBO) thru-hike in 2021! My YouTube Channel is https://youtube.com/channel/UCdep36F5tj95Ro-J7e6TTYA – – I will be blogging and vlogging my sober adventure through the wilderness of the mountains! I will be incorporating some sobriety into some of my videos but I’m not going to be an overbearing, hostage holding, drama llama… promise!

I have been purchasing hiking gear and equipment over the last few months so I don’t have too buy so much while I am getting ready next year. Also, doing some gear comparisons (tents, sleeping bags) in an Excel spreadsheet and watching a lot of hiking videos and reading hiker blogs. I am so excited!

I was on the fence about northbound (NOBO) or southbound (SOBO) but after discussing with my hubby, I decided NOBO is what I want to do. It seems to be the most common choice and it just feels right.

What are you up to this month?

One Foot in Front of the Other

Me on the AT 2020 ©All Rights Reserved.

Hey. How are you? I’m living the dream and doing some serious soul searching. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Where do I go from here? All deep questions that I have contemplated for the last several months. I feel disconnected although my deep connection with nature is strong when I am out in it.

I ordered some more supplies to do longer hikes. I might start with just one overnight and see how that feels. I know there are people who have never hiked in their lives and completed the WHOLE AT and now have popular YouTube Channels and give great advice (I’m looking at you Dixie of Homemade Wanderlust).

I often wonder what more I could contribute to life since there are so many people living now that make great contributions… Like, what could I add? I think I could really add the aspect of my perspective – which is a sober one. Other than that, I have no idea. Still searching on that one.

I know I am tired. I am almost through with realtor school and then I will study and take my test. According to most, it is a thankless job that only pays a commission, but my plan is to use it to go in different directions. Again, we’ll see.

I have hiked many points on the PA part of the AT. Probably a good 230 miles of it is in PA and I have hiked roughly 60 of those miles in various places. It’s been sorta chilly and we have been leaving later than I like to, so we don’t see many critters, just lots of mushrooms and other hikers. Also, many overlooks… I can’t lie, I have wondered what it would be like to just ‘accidentally tumble down one.’ but then I put that thought right out of my head. Suicidal ideation is something I have dealt with for decades. I don’t talk about it because who wants to listen to that? So, I just post a happy quote up on my Facebook page every morning and fake it ’til I make it.

This coming weekend I am hoping for nice weather. I’m not sure about doing any sections of the AT this weekend – I might skip it. There are some parks I really want to explore like WORLD’S END STATE PARK. We drove through it once, but my daughter hiked there a few weeks ago and it looks fun.

If you feel like giving up, just keep moving. Look for something, anything to hold onto. There is always something… a loved one, a pet, a book, a memory, anything. ❤ Keep on keeping on.

Appalachian Trail, Come Back!

What’s going on everyone? I am doing well. The hubs and I are officially hikers (I guess?) and we recently hiked 12 miles on the Appalachian Trail this past Sunday. We didn’t see any critter like the other time, but there were some nice views once the fog cleared and a few people as well.

And lots of mud.

Me about to embark on the Appalachian Trail for a few! ©2020 DAMcGarrity

My husband and I recently started getting in shape and besides eating better food and drinking more water, we’ve taken up walking and hiking. We’re having a lot of fun getting in shape. I even came up with an official YouTube Channel name since the first one was Darlene A. McGarrity, blah blah blah. Now it is Sober Adventurer. I love it. Hopefully, they will let me have the name as I get more and more subscribers. I looked all over YouTube and the like for sober adventurers. I looked all over the hiking community for people who like to have fun and not drink.

Overlook ©2020 DAMcGarrity

And hey, if you are a drinker, that is totally cool! I have no beef with you. But there are people who struggle for ideas and with concepts of having fun without drinking or getting high. I know this because I was once that person.

As I watched all the videos of hikers finishing states and taking Zero Days, and finding restaurants, I noticed how many of them were talking about alcohol, drinking alcohol – it made me fee kinda sad for anyone on the AT or other hiking that wants to unwind afterwards without alcohol.

As I still struggle to find my purpose and calling (I have been so many things including right now being in real estate school and also an internet DJ!) I always navigate back to nature, every time.

So, we hiked and hiked – came upon two overlooks – we stopped and started. We laughed and we kinda got snippy with each other. Not only are we exercising more but we are both doing NutriSystem.

The whole premise to my chaos is to be able to hike the entire AT from top to bottom (or bottom to top) at some point in my life. Completely sober. I will be posting a new video soon! So make sure you subscribe to my channel.

As always, thank you so much for reading my blog! Be well. )O(

Back from the Pandemic – onto Life.

Hey everyone! How are you doing? I am finally back from the pandemic… we were able to keep our home and business, and had to pool our resources in order to do so. I was keeping my attention on the shop and the home and so didn’t really have much time to blog or write. Didn’t even write for Medium really.

But now, that has changed.

Bald Eagle in Pennsylvania ©2020 DAMcGarrity

Since we have been back, our customers – who are super loyal – have been diligent in making appointments and getting tattooed. We love you all! I am now the shop manager, which means we have a system and appointment software. The shop is doing well.

My husband and I have started hiking… after a few years of just walking on trails in the woods and local parks and some spots at the Lehigh Gorge and maybe .01 miles on the Appalachian Trail right off of Route 611 last year, we walked about two (2) miles last weekend and inadvertently wound up on the AT. Two days later we went back to hike the AT for a bit longer – coming in right around four (4) miles. This time we brought more water but didn’t have proper footgear. We didn’t have any incidents, but yesterday I went out and bought hiking boots because I am serious about hiking. And I also bought a proper backpack. I had been using a little fashion pack to carry with me, but it is floppy and impractical.

We watched AT YouTubers last year and gave it a lot of thought, but with both of us working crazy hours and me being in school before, it didn’t make a lot of sense. This week, we are back to watching AT YouTubers and their journeys fill me with such joy. Especially Liz ‘Handstand’ Kidder, Evan, and also Dixie. Three great YouTuber AT people you will want to watch if you are interested.

Black Bear on the AT ©2020 DAMcGarrity

We have seen many critters on our travels, mostly some birds and bugs, a few deer and a snake or two. However, we were finally able to see a bear! Oh my, it was so exciting. As soon as we saw each other, we both froze… then he started walking again as I continued to stand still. I managed two pictures because I was so full of shock and glee. I keep thinking about that bear and it just fills my heart with peace and joy.

So, my husband and I have decided that we are going to start our own AT & hiking journey and possibly document it with video and blog entries. It is so close to my heart and soul of things I want to do with my life. And close to my husband’s as well.

What do you think?

One life.

Thanks so much for reading guys… I appreciate your support and love. Take care, hang in there, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Darlene

Detaching from the Parking Spot

Isn’t it great how we all have favorite things? I love books, music, and nature. I also have other odd favorites, like bread butts, burnt baked goods, and finding whatever I need when I ask the universe for it. So, it’s no surprise that I once had a strange attachment to a parking spot which caused me a great deal of anxiety and grief.

Image: Pinterest

It started at my old toxic job after co-worker #1 got sick of the bosses shit and quit. Enter, Susan. A quirky senior citizen born and raised in New York only evident by the way she says ‘reguleh’ and ‘wehk’ (work). She moved to Pennsy in her early twenties. It turned out we both lived in the same town (an hour from the office) and both liked to be early.

The first time I saw her car in my parking spot, I was like, “OK, Susan. You’ve only worked here for like three months. That’s my parking spot.” I said it jokingly, but was serious. I had ten years seniority on her at the time! How dare she! This went on for a number of weeks until I came home from work one day and vented to my husband about her disdain and blatant disrespect for me.

He was kind of shocked at my attitude. “What happened to letting go and letting the Universe? What happened to detaching?” I thought about that long and deep.

What the hell was I thinking? A parking spot? Really, Darlene? So, I did what any level-headed human would do… made a cup of coffee and wrote out a list of my resentments and the why’s of it all. It turned out my attachment was the basis of my misery so I had to detach.

It was difficult for a day – after I prayed on it and looked at it for what it was, I asked the Universe to remove my shortcomings and the attachment…

I wanted it removed, believed it removed and so it was removed. Ironically, after I let it go she stopped parking there.

Go figure.

Have you ever gotten attached to anything like a parking spot, mug, etc?

Reflection of the Day: Isolation During an Epidemic

Many writers isolate by nature… writing is a solitary act for the most part so it is no surprise that despite the horror of the world at the moment, many of us are sighing with relief of not having to participate in social activities or put on pants to go shopping.

Also, I broke a rule of mine and have been watching the news, which is terrible… most of it is fear mongering and updates on our government and their childish, schoolyard ways.

What else have I been doing for the last few days?

  • gardened out front
  • threw out a bunch of stuff
  • napped… a lot
  • plotted my next novel (inspired by true events!)
  • finished the damn laundry!

We were out briefly on Sunday and noticed that there were others out and the six foot buffer rule was not being adhered to… I went to get gas to fill up (never know when the bonafide apocalypse will hit!) and the lady in the store tried to shake my hand! WTF woman?!

On the upside, it seems some people are calming the eff down thanks to stores implementing purchasing rules that should have been in place from the get go. If only there would have been quantity limits in the beginning, there wouldn’t be horror stories of mothers sobbing because there is no formula for their babies. 😦

Lowe’s has dots on the floor to keep people six feet apart while standing in line.

I think the upside of this lockdown is that there are less people driving and the planet is healing.

undefined

Be safe my friends…

How I’m Handling the ‘Lock Down’

Image: KTSM.com

First of all, I’m not. I went out to WalMart today expecting something from a Stephen King book and it was pretty average. All the poultry was sold out from the meat department which intrigued me. I bought a pack of hamburgers and moved on with my life.

I have stuff already in the house and truth be told, I am not the kind of person that panics, ever. I did walk around a couple of stores not really sure what I was looking for but putting things in my cart when I found them. Like a first aid kit, Advil, and peanut butter. Sugar and coffee, too. I know what’s important!

It was strange to me the types of things that were still on shelves but then I remembered how many kids these days are allergic to peanuts and board games so it all kind of made sense.

As a die hard introvert, this whole ‘stay in your house ‘ thing is exciting for me. I mean, I don’t have to make up excuses why I don’t want to come outside.

“Um, Corona Virus, y’all… see ya in two weeks.”

I firmly believe that the media is a bastard when it comes to blowing stuff out of proportion. Telling us that Tom Hanks and his wife tested positive, people buying all the hand sanitizer just to resell it at black market value in other places. Yes, I get that it is a dangerous thing that can infect and hurt a lot of people. But I think freaking out over it and buying up all the supplies is a bit much.

I will say, though, that my living in an RV idea is looking more and more doable!

How are you handling the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Reflection of the Day: Life is Supposed to be Fun

Life is supposed to be fun, right? I mean, if we’re not enjoying ourselves, what’s the point, really… I quit a toxic job back in November of 2019 and life has been quite the adventure since.

My husband and I went on our Sunday Drive today (it’s kind of a ritual for us from March through November) and snapped a few hundred photos with my new camera… Here are some of my favorites! I am happy with more sunlight to enjoy because that means our adventures are longer. We started at a Perkins Restaurant in Bethlehem, PA and wound up near Hawk Mountain today. The center was closed, but it was nice to be up that way.

We did a lot of zig zag driving between the two spots… we left the house at 10:30 this morning (which is late for us!) and got home about 8:00 pm! If we can’t pull off the RV life right now (hubs has a business) then it is for sure something we are going to do after we retire.

We also stopped at Sheetz and got some amazing smoothies! Life is supposed to be fun and I hope you are finding some fun things to do despite all the Corona Virus insanity. I’ve definitely been washing my hands a lot more and have been more aware of touching my face and putting my fingers in my mouth.

How are you holding up during these trying times?

Reflection of the Day: Follow Your Heart

Image: Pixabay – Alexas_Fotos

There is a little song called ‘Follow Your Heart’ by a Canadian band named Triumph and whenever I need that extra push in life, it always seems to find its way into my day.

“Living for today, forget about tomorrow

Follow your heart (you got to follow your heart)

Any other way will only lead to sorrow…”

Triumph

It is easy to confuse the head with the heart… It makes sense that the brain would lead us in the right direction, but the brain is made for survival, so the brain will always take us to the center of the mountain, the heart takes us to the edge. The heart wants us to live, the brain only wants to keep us alive… is it that easy to get them mixed up? I say yes. I get them mixed up a lot.

Do you like to live on the edge or in the middle?

Reflection of the Day – Consistency (or lack thereof)

©2020 DAMGarrity. All rights reserved.

Consistency is great depending all on how you look at it. I have a real problem with directional consistency and I am trying to change that. One ‘keep my ass in the seat and write’ moment at a time.

It has been brought to my attention that I am kind of all over the place with ‘what I want to do with my life.’ Is it possible I am going through a pre-mid-life crisis? Maybe. I am being consistent about my indecision, however. I really just do not know and there is no sense in asking people. All I get from people are standard ‘this is what I would do because my life is rooted in fear’ answers.

  • Get a real job.
  • Continue with administrative work.
  • Find a 9-5er.

Yes, all consistent ways of living… consistently BORING because I have done them all and I hate it. Hate it. Why are we telling people to live in ways in which they wish not to live? Because that is how we (if you are over 35) were raised to live and quite frankly, I disagree with it.

If you want to have an office job where you’re treated right and doing what you love, that is awesome. I am not job shaming anyone. It was something I aspired to a long time ago and it fit me well. But that part of me is gone now and I aspire to do other things.

How consistent are you when it comes to staying on task?