Real Life Outdoor Odyssey: Outdoorists Journeys

“The Odyssey” is one of two major Ancient Greek poems attributed to Homer.  It is the sequel to “The Iliad”.  In essence, Odysseus goes on an extraordinary journey full of unknowns, challenges and accomplishments.  Sometimes, in your life, you are faced with an Odyssey.  “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Laozi (604bc to 531bc).

Odysseus lived a long time ago in Homer’s poem.  You wonder, by chance, how does a 10 year journey apply to the 21st Century?  Take my journey with, which began 3 years ago, when I took a Coursara on-line course called “Creativity, Innovation and Change” (CIC).  My 20+ years in the Outdoor Industry as a regional wholesale representative built the foundation for my Odyssey.  Outdoor Adventures are in my DNA.  The engenderment for us, here at, has brought us to this point.  The seed has been planted to help expand existing loyalty/rewards, which permeate the Outdoor Retail Industry, toward building the classic “points for purchase” to include the concept of “points for participation” in the Great Outdoors.

There are two wonderful Odysseys that we want to share with you.  One occurred in the mid-20th Century (1955) and one in the mid-90’s (1995).  These journeys were both very personal and pushed both of these amazing women to the very edge of their physical strength as well as their mental stability:

In 1955 Emma Rowena Gatewood (Grandma Gatewood), at the age of 67 and Mother of 11 children, walked the Appalachian Trail (2,168 miles) wearing sneakers (Keds), carrying a wool Army blanket (Woolrich), a raincoat, a shower curtain and a change of clothes in a homemade bag which she slung over her shoulder while hiking.  For food, she foraged for wild plants, carried dry meat, cheese, nuts and dry fruit.  This was the first of 3 successful hikes of the Appalachian Trail she accomplished. A book titled “Grandma Gatewood’s: The Inspiring Story of The Woman Who Saved The Appalachian Trail” by Ben Montgomery 2014.

In 1995, at the age of 26, Cheryl Strayed (creative name she chose) embarked on an Odyssey walking/hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (1,100 miles).  Her endearing mother had just died from lung cancer and Cheryl just divorced her husband.  Her journey has been captured in her autobiographical book and subsequent movie called “Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”.

Below are two links to inspiring articles of their Odysseys:

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