A small note about music, podcasts and audiobooks.

I started hiking the trail with the best intentions of embracing nature and everything it had to offer and minimizing distractions. I brought headphones because I figured I might want to listen to music in my tent at night. Oh, but no, I wouldn’t listen while I was walking and miss out on something. Let me tell you. A tree becomes just another tree. A creek is like all the others. A mountain, is just a mountain folks. And the pain in my ankles, knees, toes and shoulder were constantly talking to me. This is not to say by any means that I didn’t see some amazingly beautiful things. And they were all unique. But some days, the 10th creek we saw (or walked through) wasn’t beautiful enough to distract me from focusing all my attention on my pain. Or how much further I had to go. Or how many damn hills we still had to climb. The mind is a powerful ally or a pretty freaking evil enemy. Mental discipline to overcome the pain and monotony sometimes required a bandaid. In my case, it was almost always music. Many people listened to podcast after podcast. Kudos to them for learning stuff. Most of the time all I ever heard was talk talk talk talk. I mean that is what a podcast is, no? But for me, I often wanted them to just get to the damn point. I listened to audiobooks on occasion but I only had access to so many and my habit of picking history books to listen to led me down a rather boring path. But music for me, was just enough of a distraction to keep me moving and inspire me to get up the hill.

I use Spotify to listen to my music and I created and downloaded several playlists to mix it up some. I didn’t listen to much music in the desert and almost none in the Sierra because it was just too dangerous and using the phone meant using precious battery power. However, once I got back on the trail after taking my spill in the Sierra, I listened almost every day for a little while. When I was home recovering from my fall, I had a genius idea. What if Terry’s kids create playlists for me? So I asked them and they (and Terry) did. Their unique tastes in music (an entire playlist of musical soundtracks, anime music, movie soundtracks and Weird Al) definitely diversified my music selection. Spotify created an “on repeat” playlist for me. All the crap I listened to over and over. You’re curious, aren’t you? I mean of course you are. Everyone wants to know what music inspired me to get to Canada. I won’t bore you with too much but know that I must have listened to MmmBop dozens of times because it made the cut. I know, aside from the grocery store, when was the last time you heard that song? I put it on a playlist so there’s all the insight into my psyche that you could possibly need. Lots of 70s and 80s rock, Ray LaMontagne, Nahko, Dolly (of course Dolly), Paul Simon. And my theme song for the second half of my journey: Break my Stride by Matthew Wilder. “Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride. Nobody gonna slow me down. oh no. I’ve got to keep on movin!”

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