The New Nomad’s List of 101 Truly Compelling Reasons to Do a Long-Distance Hike



  1. Confuse loved ones
  2. Look for your purpose in life through solitude in nature.
  3. Get time off work without having to feign illness
  4. Puff out a flat butt
  5. Lose weight
  6. Gain respect and awe from others without having to really do anything other than walk around
  7. Make people miss you
  8. Make people worry about you
  9. Bond with strangers you wouldn’t ordinarily even say hello to in passing
  10. Good excuse to not bathe
  11. Good excuse to talk and sing out loud to oneself
  12. Let bad hair color grow out
  13. Learn to value the little things in life
  14. Only have little things in life
  15. Learn to value and respect nature
  16. Have mystical experiences
  17. Easy to bluff mystical experiences to those at home
  18. Easy way to disappear with secret lover
  19. Meet soulmate
  20. Unload soulmate
  21. Wean yourself away from the poisoned nipple of modern media
  22. Quality time with recently purchased $500 gadget
  23. Hide from debt collectors, ex-wives, and angry roommates
  24. Keep your adult children from moving back in with you
  25. Put off adulthood
  26. Create more empathy with the homeless
  27. Learn to accept help from others
  28. Learn how to balance a pack on your head
  29. Develop an admirable tolerance for wet and cold legs
  30. Finally get to listen to a song all the way through to the end
  31. Create your own religion
  32. Make yourself qualified to write a book
  33. Join interesting community of people who are just as antisocial as you are
  34. Interesting blog topic
  35. Find Yourself
  36. Find God
  37. Find cool things left behind by other hikers
  38. Make peace with the voices in your head
  39. Avoid being constantly tempted by ice cream
  40. Learn to simplify
  41. Learn how complex protecting a bag of M & M’s can be
  42. Be judged not by the amount of money you make, but by the weight on your back
  43. People just have to take your word for it when you tell them where you are
  44. Become intoxicated with beauty
  45. Become intoxicated with exhaustion
  46. Become intoxicated by idle thoughts of hot water
  47. Create a 3rd use for the Power Ranger costume
  48. No reason
  49. Nothing better to do
  50. Empty nesting
  51. Avoiding nesting
  52. Way to stretch unemployment check
  53. Raise money for charity
  54. Become a charity
  55. Squatting is good for developing balance
  56. Break Facebook addiction
  57. Release from the claws of culture
  58. Ample meditation time
  59. Orgy of tree hugging
  60. Excuse to wear nothing but tights
  61. Breathe clean air
  62. Create natural dreadlocks
  63. “hobo” = “athlete”
  64. Inspire excitement over 10 for $1 ramen noodles
  65. Belong to the earth
  66. Belong to nothing
  67. Belong to whoever has chocolate
  68. Discover yet another 10 uses for duct tape
  69. Save gas
  70. Pay no utilities
  71. Become more in tune with a natural existence
  72. Able to not look at yourself in the mirror for many months
  73. Restore feeling of love for life
  74. Learn how to eat wild plants without dying
  75. Great opportunity to practice otherwise useless skills learned at scout camp
  76. Low exposure to electromagnetic fields
  77. No chance of drunk texting anyone
  78. Confront and overcome fears of the dark, animals, death, storms, and loneliness
  79. Fun
  80. Acquire an unflattering nickname based on a stranger’s misperception of your primary qualities
  81. Develop some mighty fine looking legs
  82. Get that look in your eyes
  83. Give your mother an actually real reason to worry about you
  84. Learn to live high on convenience store fare
  85. You can completely change your personality and blame it on “What happened out there”
  86. Great excuse to avoid commitment in relationships
  87. Learn the distinctions between fine granolas
  88. Eat absolutely whatever you want with no ill effect
  89. Can practice many variations on the lyrics of “Tom’s Diner”
  90. Acquire stories to share for a long long time
  91. Justify purchase of expensive camera
  92. Take your mind off anything challenging going on in your life
  93. Learn perseverance
  94. Potential for pranks on other hikers are varied and numerous and almost always invite use of your Diablo voice
  95. See men in kilts without going to Scotland
  96. Redefine cleanliness, hunger, and entertainment for yourself
  97. Gape in awe at the amount of useless things you own when you return home
  98. Learn to sink into a night sky
  99. Gain survival confidence
  100. Get a groove in your move


101. Get SANE

 Posted by at 12:17 pm

  13 Responses to “The New Nomad’s List of 101 Truly Compelling Reasons to Do a Long-Distance Hike”

  1. I’m going to copy this and claim I wrote it. Walk well. J J

  2. NO WAY!!! 🙂

  3. Great list. Will probably inspire another 100 reasons, such as “learn how to use a Pocketmail while stumbling down a trail”, “realize that dirty hands aren’t really dirty yet”, etc

  4. Can’t wait to see the post hike list!

  5. This story is truely an enchanting gift.

  6. Numbers 5, 9, 21, 33, 45, 61, 73 and 96 are soooo true.
    Number 37 -Black sock, 5 mylar balloons.
    39-didn’t work.

  7. You found ice cream on the trail Shawn??!! I’m so jealous !
    I saw those balloons too.. thought, “wow, I’m where all the balloons go when kids make wishes on them and release them.. Am I supposed to do something?”

  8. Soon to be hiking the AZT, this is inspiration at its’ best !! Thank you for sharing 🙂 Live Strong !

  9. When are you doing that hike? Say hi to Merlin at the Copper Canyon Motel in Superior for me!! Have a great time!!!

  10. […] As a long-distance backpacker, I can relate to so many items on this list: The New Nomad’s List of 101 Truly Compelling Reasons to Do a Long-Distance Hike […]

  11. All balloons were popped, picked up and put in my pack last summer…I HATE balloons =(

  12. […] After having thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, Bruce Trail in Canada, Camino de Santiago across Spain, and England’s Coast to Coast Trail, among others, I could easily identify with this list (and got some chuckles from it): The New Nomad’s List of 101 Truly Compelling Reasons to Do a Long-Distance Hike […]

  13. […] and Top 10 Reasons to Go Winter Camping series we have adapted  the New Nomads  list of 101 truly compelling reasons to do a long distance hike to fit the winter camping theme.  Here are more compelling reasons to go winter […]

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