Zach Davis tag

the Good Badger Live, Uncut, Unraveled, Uncensored, Unlocked, Uncle, Unnecessarily Long Title

Hey team,

I ran out of un’s.  If I missed any, feel free to throw them in the comment rectangle at the bottom of this weblog.

BUT THIS POST IS MUCH BIGGER THAN UNS.  This post is about REI, YOU & ME. 

If you live in the Bay Area, you have the rare opportunity to see the Good Badger in front of a projector screen, taking you inside the mind of a thru-hiker, talking about running away from serial killers, and of course, showcasing the half-year evolution of a ManBeard.

Here are some relevant details:

When: Tuesday, August 7th; 7:00 – 8:30pm.  The talk is 60 minutes.  The Q&A is 30, or until someone forces me to go home.  I will warn you, I’m very strong.

Where:  REI – Saratoga. 400 El Paseo de Saratoga, San Jose, CA 95130.  They call it Saratoga’s REI.  The address is San Jose.  Your guess is as good as mine.

What:  This is the description REI is using:

“In March 2011, Zach Davis set out from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail-2,181 miles to Mount Katahdin, Maine; he’d never backpacked before. Tonight, Zach will share his perspectives on making a successful thru-hike, including highlights from his new book, “Appalachian Trials-A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail”. As Zach shows images of his journey northward through the spectacular wilderness lands of the East Coast states-Great Smoky Mountain and Shenandoah National Parks, White Mountain National Forest, and more, he’ll discuss the nuts and bolts of gearing up for an adventure of this magnitude, as well as the remarkable impact of the trail on the body and the spirit. If you register for this free presentation at www.rei.com/stores, we will hold a seat for you until the scheduled start time. Seating may be available at the door, even if registration is closed.”

Here’s my description:  Do you want to know what it’s like to walk ~2,200 miles without actually having to doing it?  Ok, come to the talk.

Why: Because you’ll surely get your money’s worth.

Cost:  Free.

If you know someone who lives in the Bay Area who enjoys doing things, can you please pass this along?  Have them tell me you sent them, and I will give them an uncomfortable bear hug in front of everyone.

Also important, if you do plan on going, you must register for the event.  Not only does this get the planner person off my case, but it ensures that they save you a seat.  Win, win.

[SIGN UP HERE]

Also, I’ll be selling some copies of Appalachian Trials (at a discount), followed by my scribbling in your book upon request.

I think that’s all the relevant information.

Truly yours,

Zach

Appalachian Trials- Available in Print!

Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis

HOLY HOT DAMN

Five words:

Appalachian Trials, Available in PRINT

“Sorry, I couldn’t hear you, can you say that again please?”

Sure.  I said…

MOTHER-F*#(NG APPALACHIAN TRIALS, AVAILABLE IN MOTHER-F(&!NG PRINT.

Sorry it sounded like there was golden joy sauce pouring directly into my ear cavity.  Maybe you can say that one more time?”

Appalachian Trials: A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail, as of today, February 8, 2012 is available in print.

Here’s a short video on why you might enjoy reading it.

Read the first chapter for free

To make good on my promise, for those who purchased both the Kindle version, as well as the print version by February 15, 2012, I will send you a signed copy of the book, on the (Good) Badger.  E-mail me both of your receipts at theGoodBadger@gmail.com, and I will dedicate your book in any way you like (I’m a pretty good artist.  And when I say good, I mean laughably bad.  I’m the Nickleback of artists.  But some people like Nickleback.  Those who don’t, can at least laugh at them.  That’s the equivalent of my artistic ability.)

For those who may have noticed, the Amazon sell page isn’t completely filled out yet.  Apparently that takes a few days (Amazon’s doing, not mine).  Eventually, all of you fine folks who left wonderful reviews for the e-book version (by the way, THANK YOU), will show up on this page as well.  Again, you are doing me a huge favor by doing this.  I’m sincerely truly, truly grateful for all the wonderful words you guys have left thus far.   To be clear, I would never ask you to leave a dishonest review.  Appalachian Trials only wants to earn your 5-star review.

I’ve consumed a lot of coffee so I’m going to continue to ramble. Feel free to jump ship to the Appalachian Trail book page whenever you want.

So some of you may be wondering why the reviews matter so much?

Honesty = Best policy.

Aside from being a heavy ranking factor in Amazon’s search algorithm, it’s what fellow Amazon shoppers use as their gauge for making a purchase.  I will paint out each of the following scenarios for you:

Scenario 1 – Only a few reviews:  Badger gets few reviews on his book revealing a mixed opinion on quality.  Some think it’s garbage.  Some think it’s compost (which is only slightly better than garbage).  Appalachian Trials dies in its tracks.  Zach’s aspirations to become a word writer on published paper dies along with it.  He’s forced into the only other career path available to him (eye brow model: see intro picture).

Zach has many great years flexing his forehead muscles on the catwalk and on prominent billboards, but his true passion for life, expressing the insanity that lies behind the eyebrows, never gets fulfilled.  He grows bitter and recklessly decids to spend all of his eyebrow wealth on purchasing the first HondaCopter (Honda’s first car/helicopter hybrid).  Because Zach is impatient, he arrogantly believes he can fly his HondaCopter without formal training.  Turns out he can.  Right into a tree.  Zach survives, but must spend the next half year in a hospital bed.  The nurse brings him some reading material to help pass the time.  It’s the latest New York Times Best SellerPacific Unrest – A Psychological guide to hiking the PCT.

NOOOO!!!!!!!

Scenario 2 – Lots of happy reviews:  Zach makes a modest living talking about HondaCopters and making lots of awesome new friends in the process.  The end.

It’s up to you.

But in all sincerity.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for everything thus far.  You don’t have to do anything, I’m already indefinitely grateful for all of the support I’ve gotten.  You guys have made this an insanely fun journey.  Without you, I would be a paralyzed eyebrow model.

Thank you.

Also, I would like to give special thanks to the following people.  Without you, this book would either not exist or exist in a much shittier fashion.

Co-Editor: Michele Weiner-Davis

Some may refer to you as the best-selling author of Divorce Busting, I of course, refer to you as “mom.”  Although we often did not see eye-to-eye on this process, you refused to quit on me- even when I was an intolerable ass (see: often).  Thank you.  I love you.

Co-Editor: B. Hanson MacDonald

B- to put it bluntly, you are fucking amazing.  Not only did you make this book a much, much, much, much more polished version than the one I handed you, but your consistently kind feedback and passion for this project fed right back onto me.  You deserve so much credit in this.  Thank you!!!

Cover Design: Paula Murphy

Paula, flat out, you’re a genius.  You too had to put up with my volatile mind-changing antics, but in the end, the finished product is one that makes me very proud.  I hope you feel the same.  For those looking for some highly professional and creative design work, PLEASE check out: branditarians.com

Website Design (coming soon): Adam Nutting

Although you haven’t seen it yet, we have a new website for the book coming out very shortly.  It was designed by Founder of Hiking the Trail, Adam Nutting.  Adam gets shit done.  Adam is a great support.  Adam is a great guy.  Thank you for everything thus far Adam!  (side note: more big news coming out of the new site – stay posted!)

Contributors: Ian Mangiardi, Aubby Duggan, and Miss Janet Henley

Ian- I’m done talking about you.  The only name that exists in the book more than my own, is yours.  I kid.  You are a living manifestation of benevolence.  Without your help, it is quite likely I would have joined the 70% of hikers who fall short of Katadhin.  Without your help this book wouldn’t be possible.  Thank you.  (Side note: check out Ian’s site The Dusty Camel.  He has an amazing PCT documentary coming out later this year – I got a sneak peak.)

Aubby (Cayenne) Duggan – Your story adds an emotional layer to this book that would otherwise be missing, but even aside from that, I am truly glad our paths crossed on the trail.  I am very proud of you for sticking to your goal.  You are a badass and a kind soul.  Thank you.

Miss Janet – It is spirits like you that make the AT the surreal experience that it is.  Aside from the wonderful words of wisdom you offer in this book, the countless others that you help along the AT makes you a trail angel in every sense of the word.  Thank you.

By clicking here, I acknowledge that I will be linked to the greatest Appalachian Trail book ever written. 

Last note, this book is written for:

  1. Aspiring thru-hikers
  2. Those on the fence about hiking the AT
  3. Those who want to know what goes on inside of the head of an AT-thru-hiker
  4. Those following loved ones on the trail.
  5. Those looking for inspiration to accomplish a major accomplishment in their life

Although the book will make you laugh (I hope), it is by no means a comedy.  It is also not a “Zach Davis hikes the Appalachian Trail“, although there are stories about my hike.  The most accurate description is the book’s subtitle: A Psyschological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail.  If you’ve enjoyed this website, you will enjoy the book, but I wanted to be clear about our expectations here.

I am fielding suggestions for the next book :)

Good chat.

Love,

Zach

Appalachian Trials Available On Kindle!

Appalachian Trials: "Hi, I wrote a book"

After months of writing, editing, formatting, fighting with myself and others (mostly myself), and designing, the day has finally arrived….

Appalachian Trials is here!!!

Assuming “here” means “available in e-book form”

So the print version is still a little ways away (days, not weeks), but the Kindle Version of Appalachian Trials is up & active:

APPALACHIAN TRIALS on KINDLE

Reasons to buy the Kindle (e-book) Version Read more

Get YOUR NAME in MY BOOK: And More Delicious Appalachian Trials Info

Get YOUR NAME in Appalachian Trials

Hi team,

So, my Appalachian Trail book, is finished (official launch coming soon).

Well, almost…

I have every page written, except for the last.

That’s where YOUR NAME goes.  Only your name.

Yes, I’m serious.  No, I’m not drunk.

Imagine flipping through the final pages of this soon-to-be-released Appalachian Trail super-book, and the last thing you see – the reader’s final impression – is your nameThat’s what’s happening.

I’m going to auction off the last page of my book on eBay.  The highest bidder wins their name, and their name only, on the last page of the soon-to-be-announced-release-of-Zach-Davis’-first-book-Appalachian Trials.  It’s easy as that.  I will start the auction at $0.05 with no reserve.

100% of the proceeds will go to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (eBay takes their cut because they’re capitalists*)

* – “9.0% of the item’s total cost to buyer with a maximum charge of $100.00.” (Every penny that eBay doesn’t take from Zach will go straight to the ATC).

Here’s how you can get YOUR NAME on the last page of Appalachian Trials:

  1. Go to this link to view the auction page
  2. Bid to get your name in the last page of Appalachian Trials
  3. The auction will end on January 31st, 2012 at 10:00 AM CST.  When it does, the high bidder wins their name in the last page of my book (sorry for sounding like a broken record).
  4. That’s it.

Some notes about the promotion:

  • As you know by now, I get a good chuckle out of potty humor, but I won’t put a dirty word on the last page of the book.  Sorry, I don’t believe that your name is “Farty McBallSlap“.
  • Appalachian Trials will be released both as a print and e-book.  Your name goes in both.  One name, two formats.
  • I have contacted the ATC about this promotion (still waiting to hear back).  Those who know me already know that I wouldn’t ever try to pull a Bernie Madeoff on anyone.  For those who don’t know me, know that at the conclusion of this promotion, the ATC will be expecting a check from me.  If I would try to pull a fast one, they would very quickly make this public and then Zach would be forced to live under a bridge for the rest of time.

Reasons Why This Promotion is Worth Your Bid

  1. I had to write 40,000 words to get my name in it.  You can accomplish the same thing with ~39,998 fewer words.  That’s a good deal.
  2. High upside.  I’m pretty confident that we’ve got a winner on our hands here (really).  Getting your name in a book that could potentially be popular within this very beautiful niche, is an exciting proposition.
  3. It’s ridiculous.  Your name would stand alone on the last page of Appalachian Trials.  I haven’t taken the time to research if this has ever been done before, but considering most books go through traditional publishers, and traditional is Latin for boring, I’m guessing not.  (Side note: Appalachian Trials is currently scheduled to be released under Good Badger Publishing (aka self-published).  If in the future a traditional publisher wants to give me a cruise ship full of cash for the rights, I won’t let the last page with your name on it fall by the wayside.  It’s there for the long haul.)
  4. It’s funny.  Is it not?
  5. It’s for a good cause.  Did I mention that 100% of the proceeds goes toward the ATC (the wonderful volunteers and workers who maintain our beautiful 2,181 mile path of wonder, mystery and love)?
  6. Good Advertising.  I will announce the winner of this contest on this website.  Ultimately when someone reads the book and searches “Appalachian Trials + [your name]” the post announcing your victory will be what shows up in Google.  They will see that your donation went to the ATC.  In addition, I will let the winner write a short statement and link to the website/cause of their choice.  That’s right.  In-book advertising.  What is that worth to you/your company?  (*Note*  No URLs in the book itself, only in the victorious post, which will still be seen by a lot of people.  Also, I’ve had people ask if they can pool their money together and then make a fake name- YES.  I love the creativity.  Just no potty words, offensive phrases, or competing products.)

So, go check out the eBay bid, throw a couple dollars at the idea of your name being on the book, share the promotion with others (like this page, retweet it, e-mail friends, shout it at strangers) so we can help raise more money for this worthy organization.  And then probably consider checking out Appalachian Trials.

Last note- I will announce the winner on this site and the Good Badger Facebook Page.  I suggest “liking” it so I can let you know when you win YOUR NAME on the last page of Appalachian Trials.

Questions? E-mail me at theGoodBadger[at]gmail[dot]com.

Here is the link to the auction page.

 

 

3 Learning Lessons from 2011

3 learning lessons from 2011

Holy Moldy Mayo, Batman!

2011 has been a monumental year for Mr. Zach Davis; this is a simple fact.

It all started with a post

January 2011

I was suffering from a fairly severe case of life dissatisfaction.  As is a common scenario amongst the employed population, I was at odds with my boss.  So- I did what any over-worked, under-appreciated, and slightly over-confident employee does to their boss- tells them to shove it.  Unfortunately, in this particular scenario, I was the boss.

So, in search of some life answers, I decided to shake shit up a bit.  Me, the class clown, computer nerd, sheltered son to a highly over-protective Jewish mother announced that he would be spending the next half year backpacking through the woods of Appalachia.  Not knowing the first thing about backpacking, camping, or really anything related to being outside for longer than 9 innings, I was eager to take on the biggest challenge of my life.  And by eager, I of course mean anxious as fuck.

One of two things was going to happen:

1) I was going to find the life answers I was so desperately in search of, or

2) I was going to end up in a bear’s digestive tract.

December 2011

I am happy to report that not only did I avoid #2, I made decent progress down route #1.

And because so many of you have spent so much time with me during this journey, I’d like to share some of the insights that have found me along the way.Read more

[Guest Post] Reunited and it Feels So Good

[editor's note] I am hesitant to post the following essay from good friend Jack Borgo only because I hate to be the second best writer on my own website. I spent the previous weekend in my old stomping grounds, Madison, WI, to watch my football team disembowel the #8 team in the country, and more importantly, to catch up with old friends. Jack was the first person that I met up with. Little did I know he was leveraging my friendship merely to further his writing career. Just kidding. Not really. In all sincerity, Jack, thank you for the kind words. Your enthusiasm for the great outdoors was an inspiration in my undertaking. And, please, keep writing.

Jack Borgo

Jack.

Last weekend I was reunited with one of my closest friends, Zach Davis (aka “Badger” to his trail-mates, “Good Badger” to his readers and “Undeliverable Address” to child-support collectors), at our former education/inebriation grounds at the University of Wisconsin. Though excited for 48 hours of bad beer and worse decisions, I was also pensive.

I knew and loved the pre-trail Zach Davis; a perpetually witty, easy-going Chicago sports fanatic who preferred a coffee-shop and laptop to “wilderness”. This Zach was so ill-equipped for time in the woods that if you asked me to list his Top Skills Essential to Survival in Nature, “an affinity for bandanas” would have been #1. Despite this outdoorsy ineptitude, when Zach told me that he had decided to hike the A.T., I knew his determination and love of exploration meant inevitable success.

However these conversations, coupled with postings on his blog, were also unnerving. For 5+ months Zach would trade his Apple for the Appalachian, baristas for bears. He was embarking on a potentially transformative journey…did the beginning of Badger mean the end of Zach?

Read more

Sensory Underload: Ninety Minutes Inside An Isolation Tank

Because 5 months in the woods wasn’t enough to isolate me from the surrounding world, I decided to kick it up a notch.

While on my little walk thingy, I became a big fan of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.  It served as my social fix when I wasn’t in the mood for actual interaction.  For those who are unfamiliar, Joe Rogan is a stand up comedian/UFC commentator/host of Fear Factor/Carlos Mencia basher.

One of the many reoccurring theme’s on the podcast is Rogan’s fascination with introspection.  In several episodes, he would reference a “sensory deprivation tank” (aka isolation tank/flotation tank) that he had set up in his house.  The tank, as Rogan puts it, “is the most important tool that [he's] ever used for developing [his] mind“.  This, coming from someone who is an outspoken proponent of both psychedelic drugs and marijuana.

Naturally my curiosity was piqued.

For those who are unfamiliar (me, as of 3 months ago) an isolation tank is basically a giant metal coffin with about a foot of salt water at the bottom.  The water is heated to the same temperature as a human body, eventually resulting in an inability to feel the water.  After an individual gets inside and shuts the door behind them, there is only total darkness.  Once the water settles, the only sound you can hear is your own breath.  Because the water is extremely dense – about 800 lbs. of Epsom salt is dissolved into it – a human body, which is made mostly of water, floats very easily.  The theory goes that because there is no sensory input causing distraction to your brain, the mind is left to more freely wander.  Beneficial claims include everything from pure rest and relaxation, to improved health and vitality, to being a shortcut toward enlightenment.

Read more

14 Days Later: Life After the Appalachian Trail

Is this real life?

I’ve been awake for about two weeks now. The previous five months were merely a dream.

You see, reality comes equipped with these little nuisances, we call “responsibilities”. In the dream, there was only one responsibility: “don’t die”.

Over the past five months I have stripped myself of excess. This not only refers to the physical comforts: a wardrobe, electronic entertainment on demand, artificial scents, food that expires, etc., but also all of the artificial bullshit that comes along with it. I wasn’t concerned with schedules – hell, over the last two months, I didn’t even have a watch. There was only day, night, and whatever shades that lie in between.

Today, I’m confronted with the task of re-integration. For anyone who hasn’t spent a half year removed from reality, you may have trouble empathizing with how difficult a task this really is. I’m not asking for your sympathy, I am fully aware how spoiled a lifestyle a long distance backpacker lives.

On a regular basis, I would come across a beautiful mountain overlook, waterfall, boulder field, etc. On a whim, I could stop, lie down, and soak in the day- and I often did. You sleep when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, relax when your lazy, and walk when you have energy. In the dream, you do as you please, when you please. The dream was awesome extract.

Read more

Three Weeks

They say it takes three weeks of repetitive action before a habit develops. Last Sunday marked my third week on the Appalachian Trail. If the saying is true, then I have developed the following habits:

  • My natural state is walking.
  • Hiking poles feel as if they’re extensions of my arms.
  • I consume the same amount of calories as a buffalo.
  • I am incapable of getting full.
  • My “bedroom” smells like the inside of a guy’s high school locker room.
  • My diet consists of almond butter, trail mix, snickers, pop tarts, cookies, Clif Bars, beef jerky, summer sausage, and Gatorade.
  • I poop in the woods.
  • I hitchhike.
  • I sleep without a pillow.
  • I often put on damp/sweaty clothes in the morning.
  • The sun determines my sleep schedule.
  • I shower twice a week. On the off days, I rub my stinky spots with a baby wipe or two. Some days, I’m too tired for any form of hygiene (which are the days I actually need it most).
  • I chafe (except for when I remember to use Enzo’s Chamois Cream).
  • I hang all of my food in a tree at night.
  • I sleep with a knife no further than 12 inches from my face.
  • I am in constant awe of the beauty around me (keep in mind- I just came from southern California).
  • “Shaving” has left my vocabulary.
  • I see myself in a mirror at most twice a week.
  • Regardless of temperature, I break a sweat by at least 9am every day (usually earlier).
  • I am less consumed by the ongoing barrage of my own thoughts.
  • I am used to, and borderline expecting, everything to be dirty all of the time. Food included (muddy, sweaty hands go straight into the trail mix bag with zero hesitation or consideration).
  • I consume anywhere from five to eight liters of water per day. Eight liters of water is insane.
  • I have very little stress in life, and the stress that does occur is deserved.
  • I am used to my legs being covered in bug bites.
  • I itch.  All the time.
  • I can sleep with a stranger no more than eight inches on either side of me.
  • My water source is whatever stream is closest to me.
  • I appreciate toilets.
  • I appreciate a warm meal.
  • I appreciate clean clothes.
  • I appreciate a clean body.
  • I appreciate running water.
  • I appreciate a stranger’s willingness to give.
  • I appreciate good health.
  • I appreciate.

Wayah Bald

Goodbye, Me.

So I’m leaving for a six month hike.  Today.

And I squeezed in one last guest post at the buzzer.  EHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Jen Friel – a super awesome human, lifecaster, creator of Talk Nerdy to Me Lover, and the one responsible for getting the ball rolling with all of our sponsorship, suggested swapping guest posts prior to my becoming a vagabond.  She’s good at ideas like that.

You can check out mine below:

Goodbye, Me.