About Saying Never

I’ve said never quite a few times in my life . . . As in, “I would NEVER do (enter current thing I’m adamant I won’t do).” For some reason my personality pushes back against expectations or trends. I usually tend to say never when 1) people think I should do something or it seems like an obvious action for me to take, 2) things are trendy or new and I haven’t bought into it yet, or 3) I really don’t want to be that person . . . About whatever “that” thing is at the time!

Like when I said I would NEVER move back in with my parents after college (thanks for having me, Mom and Dad!). Or, when I said I would NEVER live in Newberg, Oregon or attend or work for George Fox University (simply because its what people did in my family). I’ve done all three – lived in, attended, and worked at – and I am so grateful to have called that place home and that community my own. And, now I live in Portland after saying I could NEVER live in a big city (I’m a farm girl–I need my space!) but I actually love it.

So, when I said I would NEVER write about my experience thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in further detail than what I put on Facebook during my journey I meant it. Not a peep. I would not join the trend and ranks of people writing about the thr100. 1 Southern Terminus 1 4x6u hiker experience. I am especially adamant about this when people ask me if I heard about the PCT from Cheryl Strayed (No. No I did not.).

Oh, wait. With my track record of saying I’ll never do something, looks like I’ll be writing a bit about my experience on the PCT!

Also, add blogging to the list of things I don’t do. I’ve tried a time or two when traveling internationally but it never becomes my thing. I do, however, write blog entries. I have a folder on my computer of blog entries I’ve written and topics I want to explore but nothing ever goes live. They’re just sitting there . . . Waiting. It’s like the practice of writing it is helpful enough so I have just let it be.

Perhaps the real reason these blog posts are written but not posted is that being vulnerable, especially online, is hard for me. Online there are people you don’t know who will read your stuff. They might comment and not like something you say. Online there are people you do know who say harsh things and then you run into them the next day at the local coffee shop. Gulp. It’s scary out there.

At the time of my PCT hike in 2015 I felt strongly that the experience was for me alone. I was focused on being fully present in each day, not worrying about what my next blog post would be or spending time writing. Yet, as I have processed my PCT experience over the past few months, I keep coming back to the exercise of writing and continue to feel drawn to share. I have no idea why or what may come from what I write but I’ll let the entries go from my grip, release them from my secret blog entry folder, and free them to speak to someone. I’m following the advice of Mary Oliver who, in her poem Sometimes, tells us:

Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

So, from someone who will NEVER write about her PCT experience, I’ve decided to “tell about it.” As of now, I think there will 13 posts – one post each week for the next 13 weeks. Thirteen is my favorite number so that works out well! Who knows? Maybe there will be a bonus entry by the time we arrive at the end. Maybe I’ve unleashed my inner blogger and I can’t be stopped (comments or no)!

Saying never has a way of coming back around, at least in my life. What are you saying never to right now? You might want to be on the lookout.

If you’re looking for gear, food, and hiking advice I am happy to offer that information if that’s what you want. Contact me personally so we can hang out and talk trail. While these posts may contain some of that info, they will more so contain stories of my learning, awareness, and transformation over the course of the experience.

Happy reading!

Side note: If you grew up in the 80s with me you may appreciate that this song is what was going through my head the entire time I was writing this post.  

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5 thoughts on “About Saying Never

  1. Michelle Dickson says:

    Yayayayayay!! I’m super stoked that I get to read more of your experiences on the trail. Also, I LOVE Cheryl Strayed, but as someone someone who grew up hiking portions of the PCT (with the accompaning awe and reverence and mythology it inspires) I can only imagine the supreme ANNoYANCE and disgust that question would evoke.
    P.S. High fives for the number 13, birthday twin. 🙂

    • Tami Ankeny says:

      Thanks Michelle! I love that you have had the experience to get out on the PCT. I’ve heard such great things about Cheryl Strayed’s writing and hope to some day soon delve into Wild. While I understand that for some people their only context to the PCT is through Wild, there has definitely been some annoyance for me at the assumption that everyone hiking the trail heard about it from her when PCT has been around for years. The book has had a lot of positive impact for the PCT so I’m on board with that!

      Glad you like my use of 13…of course you would!

  2. David says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience Tami. I can certainly identify with the ‘never’ sentiment as I follow that path often. As someone who has been shaped by spending days hiking, I look forward to learning from your posts. Good job putting your journey out there!

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