I am very proud of my book, Becoming Odyssa. But I am NOT proud of everything I did in Becoming Odyssa. Perhaps, the thing that I value most about the book is that it is a honest, authentic retelling of my first thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. I share the good, bad, and ugly – even when I’m the one being ugly.


I make no efforts to hide the fact that I was an entitled wanna be thru-hiker when I started. And yes, some of my superiority complex had to do with poor trail etiquette practiced by section hikers that I encountered early on in my journey. But that is not an excuse! Thankfully, my sense of self-importance finally went away. And, it only took 1,000 miles ; )

I remember very clearly, mid-way through the hike, arriving at a shelter just south of Harpers Ferry and meeting the most wonderful weekend hikers there. We all slept in the lean-to together. We were also joined by a few thru-hikers who decided to party and smoke pot two feet away from the pre-teen girl who was spending her first night on the trail...

WHAT?! Thru-hikers could be so inconsiderate!!!

That’s what I thought and that is what I expressed in my book.

The bigger lesson, for me, was that it was never fair to characterize an entire group based on the actions of one or two individuals. At that point I no longer felt that I owned the trail. I realized that I was very fortunate to have 4-6 months to hike the trail. Many section and day hikers would be thru-hikers if they didn’t have commitments at home. And it is arguably harder, and certainly more expensive, to complete the trail over several years - as opposed to several months. I also find that section hikers have a better memory of the trail than most thru-hikers. They savor every bite as opposed to scarfing it all down at once.

With one of my favorite section hikers! He stated the trail in 1967 and finished in 2011. Talk about perseverance ; )


When I wrote, Becoming Odyssa, my editor said it was important for me to let the reader draw conclusions and not always state exactly how I felt or how I changed. But my biggest regret concerning the book, is that many section and weekend hikers finish reading it and still feel put-down by the language that I used and the feelings I expressed in the first half of the memoir. It was obviously not clear that my thoughts and impressions of other hikers changed the farther down the trail I traveled.

I speak and write for a living, so I am going to make mistakes and I am going to say things that I regret. I apologize for being a snob when I started the trail, and I apologize for not making it clear in Becoming Odyssa that the trail is there for EVERYONE at EVERY phase of life.

By the way, I now that I have an 11-month old daughter, and I am 300 miles into my A.T. section hike.