“AWOL on the Appalachian Trail” by David Miller

Flipping through the last pages of a well-liked book is like coming to the end of a great friendship. Both people and books take you places and make you experience the world in a different way. When I reached the end of “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail”, I felt as though I had hiked the trail with him and I was sorrowful that it had to end.

AWOL’s journey resonated with the wanderer inside and, if only for a moment, made me escape the humdrum of my daily life. In 2003, David Miller gave up his day job to spend five months grueling up the eastern United States. The Appalachian Trail (AT) is over 2,000 miles long and goes into 14 states.

When David got on the path, he took the trail name “AWOL” to represent the abandonment of his stable job. Perhaps also to show the escapism involved with hiking a 6-month long trail. He went AWOL from his life and set course for Maine.

This book is heavily descriptive and lingers on the what it’s like to live in the woods. It doesn’t romanticize hiking in heavy rain or sleeping in uncomfortable shelters but it creates an enticing environment where AWOL ventures into the wilderness. He encounters bears, snakes, handfuls of foot injuries, and a myriad of hikers. Nonetheless it is an interest read.

I highly recommend this for anyone who is caught up in the 9-5. Similar to Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, AWOL explains aspects of modern life that we seem to forget. He writes about the openness of hikers, and the community that he quickly finds himself immersed in.

After spending two weeks reading this book I’ve decided that I want to hike the AT. It may be a while before I do but it’s a journey I want to take in my lifetime. Again, I highly encourage you to read this book.

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“Damn Good Advice”

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“Damn Good Advice” by George Lois arrived in the mail today and I’ve already read half of it. I had no idea how much of an influence one man was to our society and to the advertising world. The book is organized as one-page pieces of advice that Lois gives.

The whole book is unapologetic and oriented towards the people who will go after their dreams. It tells stories of various ad campaigns that Lois has been part of and his background. Even though I’m only half way through, I’d recommend it to anyone who is unsure of their artistic abilities. It’s encouraging and builds confidence. The people who love art, and need that final push, are motivated to get out and conquer the world after reading it.

I plan on finishing it tomorrow during my lunch break and I’ll get back to you all on it. I just wanted to write about it because I think it’s already affected me. I feel more confident about my work and who I am as a person. It’s given me a sense of self and determination. As a result, I feel more unapologetic about myself. I’ve realized how short life is and I feel the need to put my self out there. If I don’t say it now, when will I be able to?

More later.

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