You’ve heard a lot about The Dusty Camel and Ian Mangiardi, both on this site and in Appalachian Trials. Ian played a huge role in my thru-hike preparation, and ultimately, the book. For this I am forever grateful.
But the catalyst to all of the AT goodwill began even before Ian took the reigns of Zach’s pre-trail therapist. It was Josh Turner of Camping Gear TV who got the ball rolling, not only by putting me in touch with Ian, but also introducing me to many of the sponsors of his show (including Hi Tec, Eureka!, and Innate Gear).
The good folks of Camping Gear TV have dealt another bout of good fortune to the Good Badger (three goods, one sentence – the grammar equivalent of two girls, one cup.). They decided to let me talk about living in the woods for a half year. On video. And they posted it.
If you’re into the outdoors in any capacity, I highly recommend subscribing to Camping Gear TV (either through RSS, Facebook, YouTube and/or Twitter accounts). If REI and Santa made a superbaby, this superbaby would be Camping Gear TV. In other words, they give you awesome camping equipment for free. Get some.
This past Wednesday, I had a 2nd interview with Google (for those who know me, working for them has been a life long dream). Apparently they’re expressing interest in acquiring the Good Badger. I suppose due the sheer size, technically it would be considered more of a merger. The Google Badger.
But in all honesty, I have no choice but to keep my expectations realistically low. By the time you’re done reading this sentence, Google has received approximately 56 more resumes. Apparently when you have 20 complimentary gourmet cafeterias on your campus- people want to work for you. They have no choice but to be ultra-selective. My competition is Harvard grads. I went into the interview with a huge mountain man beard and a borrowed button up shirt and slacks a size and a half too big (Brandon- you’re too tall damnit). I already looked like a homeless guy, the sheer excitement in my eyes to be part of civilization only compounded this impression. Either way, I’m fortunate to have options available to me on the other end of the trail- one of which is being a professional bum (my current vocation).
homeless man face
Regardless of the outcome, I am finishing the trail. I set out to do something. Damnit- I’m going to do it.
Because arranging the flight to San Francisco required a good amount of guess work in terms of pacing and ability to get to an airport- my current situation looks a tad different than before I left. I arrived into Damascus, VA Sunday- and didn’t get back onto the trail until Thursday afternoon. In other words, Whoop and the rest of the gang are long gone. Badger is flying solo.
Oddly enough, my first two days on the trail after losing the group, I didn’t encounter another human being. That’s the first time I can say that so far. A bit strange, but also strangely awesome. That 36 hour span felt a tad like Man vs. Wild (except I was equipped with 11lbs of Clif Bars and Snickers, and didn’t drink any urine). I have since found other people- but my time in wilderness without fellow human interaction has aroused irreversible animal instincts (I stopped wiping).
This update is brief not due to a lack of information to convey to you but because AT&T grants me 39 seconds of connectivity a week. 37 of those seconds are spent convincing my mom that I’m not dead. More to come later.
For those who read the Good Badger regularly, you’ve probably noticed that I deal a good amount of grief to my poor, poor, Jewish mother. On top of the constant state of near self-defecation I have placed upon her with my upcoming journey, I also take every opportunity I get to take jabs at her highly anxious nature (see: the first part of this very same sentence).
Well, a little known fact about coming from someone else’s insides, is you tend to take some of their DNA with you in the process (I was a biology professor in another lifetime). As much as I try to deny it, I have acquired many of the same high-alert qualities from my poor, poor, Jewish mother. My playful jabs at her are 1) my sick way of expressing love and 2) what Freud refers to as “projection”.
I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to dull the over-active flight or flight response portion of my brain. If 2,200 miles of disease, bears, and snow/lightning storms doesn’t finally finish the job, there’s no hope for me.
That’s why I’m very excited to have my friend, Ian Mangiardi, help co-author this post. Ian is the founder of The Dusty Camel (the Good Badger’s trail posts will be syndicated here), a website dedicated to all-things backpacking with an emphasis on gear reviews. Ian has also successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, and is preparing for his 2011 trek up the Pacific Crest Trail. Ian is a true adventurer.
For the last few weeks, Ian and I have been exchanging e-mails in where he is saddled with the task of repeatedly talking me off of AT ledge. Instead of hoarding all of his wisdom to myself, we agreed to make this discourse more public.
Today, my friends over at The Urban Dater posted an interview with yours truly. If you’re interested digging a little bit deeper into the dark space that is my brain, I encourage you to check out the article.
But why take my word on it? Instead take Matthew Inman’s.
For the few of you who aren’t already familiar with Inman’s immensely popular website The Oatmeal, I encourage you to dedicate a few hours to digging through his hilarious comics. Formerly, just a skilled hobby of his, Inman now dedicates his full-time work towards The Oatmeal, and is thriving in his efforts.
A big thanks to Matt for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to stop by his store and buy a bunch of stuff for all of your friends and family for Xmas and the rest of the lesser holidays. Without further ado I now present you…
Oatview: An Interview with “The Oatmeal’s” Creator, Matthew Inman