Many people in the world acquire an idea to set out on a journey at some point in their life. It is rare when people decide to actually embark on the journey and even rarer when people complete it. Whether that journey is for self-discovery, inner peace, or a multitude of other reasons, these journeys normally end with a transformation and a revelation. Kyle Rohrig embarked on his own journey by taking on the 2,170 mile hike along the Appalachian Trail. He was so inspired upon completion that he chose to write about it and self-published through Amazon his book, Lost on the Appalachian Trail.
Granted, Rohrig did not become lost while embarking on the trail, but rather lost an old part of himself to acquire a whole new part he never knew existed. His summary for his story is as follows: “A tale of grand adventure… about losing yourself in the wilderness, only to find the things that truly matter.” With this being perhaps one of the shortest summaries for a book out there, readers will instantly become intrigued about what its pages contain. Rohrig does not disappoint as he relives his story to take anyone along with him through the written word.
Lost on the Appalachian Trail is a wonderful read for hikers, nature lovers, those who have tried and/ or succeeded in completing the Appalachian Trail themselves, or even for those who prefer skyscrapers over trees. Every reader will find themselves taken in by Rohrig’s witty writing style and becoming entranced by his inspirational journey. Rohrig certainly has a large story to tell and due to its length and the amount of detail he uses, it can take a bit to get into its flow and it can take a while for readers to finish reading it; however, the length and detail are excellent elements of his story for it makes readers feel as if they have taken Rohrig’s journey with him.
There are so many wonderful elements readers will find in Rohrig’s story. Due to his witty writing, there are many laugh-out-loud moments readers will come across. His close relationship with his dog, Katana, is very adorable and the moments he shares with her along the trail are amazing. The pictures at the beginning of each chapter give the story a nice touch, though it would have been nice to see more images throughout the story. Luckily, readers can check out Rohrig’s blog and find even more pictures.
Rohrig also shares many important life lessons all people can live by on a day to day basis. “Bend and flow with your circumstances, don’t let them break you” (Rohrig 95). “You learn not to care about your appearance, because you realize that appearances don’t matter. It’s the people underneath them that matter and every single one of them has a unique personality and story” (Rohrig 112). “You only have one life, and its ending one minute at a time… Figure out what makes you happy, then do everything in your power to make it your reality” (Rohrig 165-166). “Never let your pride get the best of you, because you can always be better than you are, and you’re always learning. Recognize it and be humble, while helping others grow as well” (Rohrig 246). Readers will find these inspirational lessons and more while learning from Rohrig that we, as human beings, need to appreciate the good and bad in life for that shapes who we ultimately become.
Journeys can be compared to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, The Hero’s Journey. Everyone who embarks on a journey is, in turn, the hero of their journey. Taking the first step is perhaps the most difficult step in the whole process and the hero is usually doubtful to begin. However, once the hero decides to embark on the journey, he or she will be transformed and will not return the same. Rohrig’s “Hero’s Journey” is very similar to that of the indie video game Journey or even to Bilbo Baggins’ journey in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. He had the idea to take on the 2,170 mile hike along the Appalachian Trail and chose to take on his idea. Through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, and everything in between, Rohrig completed his journey and wrote Lost on the Appalachian Trail to share it with others while also encouraging others to pursue their own journeys.