What If I Told You I Had a Crazy Idea?

No shit, Brad. What else is new?

Well, this idea is a bit crazier. It has been brewing for a couple of years, but I never really considered following through. It was always some far fetched dream for the future, but a couple weeks ago I realized I was planning rather than dreaming.

I intend the thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2014.

Obviously this is still more than a year away, so a lot can change. However, with sheer force of will, I think it’s quite possible unless I just lose interest in the idea before then.

What?

The Appalachian Trail is a ~2,180 mile long trail running from Georgia to Maine. Each year a couple thousand people attempt to hike the entirety of the trail, called thru-hiking. It generally takes 4 to 7 months for someone to complete a thru-hike, depending on a multitude of factors.

70% of thru-hike attempts fail.

People get sick, get injured, lose their motivation, and sometimes just get bored.

Why?

Honestly, I haven’t quite nailed that down completely yet. I can tell you that it’s a bit of a calling and it’s been in the back of my mind since I first heard about it. I want to go on a grand adventure and this seems like a fantastic opportunity. It’s not that I’m looking to runaway, but a break from “real life” is something I would be in favor of.

I’ve lost my notion of why people work endlessly in jobs they don’t like. The vast majority of people are just spinning their wheels, saving next to nothing, and generally muddling through life. Why am I working and saving money if not to occasionally do something that I’ll enjoy?

I don’t expect that taking  6 months off of the traditional career path will really mess with my success in life…it certainly didn’t last time. However, it may give me some much needed perspective about life.

To Bring It Back Around to Entrepreneurship…

The massive amount of research and reading I’ve been doing for the past few months (…okay, years) has sparked my brain with a new idea. Recently, I’ve been working on the foundations for this new project – an online AT thru-hiking game. It will be loosely based on the model of Oregon Trail.

I’m hoping to program the game in Ruby on Rails, which is a new platform and language for me, but it seems pretty straightforward so far. Perhaps I can then “convert” it to be an android app using one of those fancy web to app programs so I can play when I’m bored on my phone.

Designing an actual game is a break from just building out websites, so it’s a really exciting project for me. I’ve been story-boarding and graphing resource gain/loss for an average play through. For a really simple game idea, it’s quite involved already. It’s difficult to comprehend the complexity of large RPG games. But then again, I guess they probably have hundreds of people working on them full time for years.

2 comments

  1. Brad… love the idea! You should put it out on Kickstarter and get some funding… I’m sure a ton of people would fund it, with Oregon Trail being such an icon of our childhood…

  2. Excellent suggestion Dale! I hadn’t thought of that – I’ll have to consider it before I get too far along.

    My current idea was to build it out and then have a crowd-source donation thing on the side instead of ads and use the money to fund my thru-hike. I figure that is the crowd most likely the play the game, so those that enjoyed the game might drop a few dollars my way.