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#23 - Type 2 Fun: How Adventure Helps You Grow w/ Molly Donahue

In this episode, I talk to Molly Donahue. She is a registered nurse, a Flight Nurse Rescuer, and WAG coach that helps people on their path to learning how to fuel their bodies efficiently through nutrition without depriving themselves. We discuss how to find happiness in your chosen path, food prep for adventures, dealing with nerves, “type 2 fun”, and so much more

Show Notes:

  • (05:52): What is Type 2 Fun?

  • (11:04): Your Own Chosen Path

  • (14:28): Turning Points

  • (23:45): Tips For Your Adventures

  • (32:01): Food Prep When Traveling

  • (37:08): How to Deal with Your Nerves

  • (42:50): Staying Physically Fit

  • (54:52): How do you find happiness in your chosen path?

How to Connect with Molly:




Resources/books mentioned:

The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort To Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self

Man's Search for Meaning


Molly 00:00

That's almost one reason why I did the Colorado Trail initially and why I'm doing something like this, like, I don't have a doubt that I can't do it physically. But I like proving to myself that I can do hard things. And that I don't do it for anyone else. I just do it for myself, like, this is going to be scary. This is going to be hard. This is going to be lonely. But I'm going to come out the other end and say I did this. And this is how it shaped me to be a better person.

Athan 00:30

The Doing The Work Podcast is brought to you by Strive Human Optimization. Train hard, recover harder. Check them out at

I am here with Molly Donahue, who I'm totally excited to be having a conversation with. She went to Syracuse University and rode there she went on to be a medical officer in the army. You have then gone on to be a nurse out in the civilian world. And she is an adventurer and just all around amazing lady and just kind of a wild spirit. And so you've got some really cool stuff coming up soon. And I wanted to get you on the show to talk about it. And I just really appreciate you being on the show.

Molly 01:31

Thank you for having me, Athan!

Athan 01:35

I kind of gave a little bit of a description of what you've done, but like when someone asked you like, who you are, what you do, do you have like, kind of like an elevator speech?

Molly 01:43

Kinda, Cliff Notes. So I grew up in California, Santa Barbara, but wanted something totally different for college. So yeah, I went to Syracuse and wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do after graduation. I have a degree in exercise physiology, thought I might go the physical therapy route, which is what my dad was and decided to kind of just get a job right out of college, and I ended up getting a job as a medical assistant, loved working with the nurses there. So that was my inspiration to go back to school for nursing. I did an accelerated bachelor's program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and was commissioned as an officer in the Army right out of nursing school. So, yeah, 2010 I commissioned and spent seven years in the Army, various places in all sorts of fun, Army, most trauma, er type stuff. And then got out in 2017. And kind of been working as a civilian in various places and things that have all sorts of different focuses, mostly sticking with her, have done some flight nursing and drink COVID did some COVID contracts, travel nursing around the country. So just most recently doing flight, including search and rescue and hoist operations and fire suppression and stuff in Washington County here.

Athan 03:18

Which is such a cool and unique opportunity, like as a nurse, very, very, very few people get to go do that.

Molly 03:25

The past two years during COVID. Like I said, I'd been kind of traveling around the country. But I had flown previously, and I really missed it. And this opportunity came in Texas that allowed me to move back to Austin after being gone for about four years. And yeah, it was I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do that kind of stuff as a nurse, but really cool.

Athan 03:50

I got to see some of the training that you posted on social media. What was that like for you? Like, you don't have to do that type of training...

Molly 04:02

It was so up my alley I was getting paid to put on a dry suit and get thrown into the Kamal and get washed away into some low head dam trying to pull someone out. I've never thought in a million years that would be my job, but yeah, I loved it. And I'm bummed that I'm not doing it right now. Unfortunately, the base that I was at recently closed so I'm glad I had that opportunity and hopefully can continue to do it down the road. But for right now. Just not gonna happen.

Athan 04:47

I think it's clearing a path for some other really cool and amazing things, which we'll definitely jump into. On this episode. When I say the word adventure What is that? Like? What do you think of.

Molly 05:02

I think that it's going to be different for everyone else, my type two adventure is a Type 2 Fun a lot of people say, is not going to be the same type of adventure as someone else would strive to try and try and get to. I think an adventure is something that may not be in your comfort zone, but that you end up realizing that it betters you in some way. Whether it may not be comfortable while you are doing it. But it's something that may not be the norm or that people don't always understand. But that it betters you as a person down the road.

Athan 05:52

You said type two fun, I'm not really familiar with that term. What does that mean?

What is Type 2 Fun

Molly 05:58

What I say is, I'm gonna go do this hike, which we'll talk about, I'm sure. For me, that's an adventure. And that's fun. I wouldn't say that that is the type of fun that everyone likes to have, say, I'm gonna go have fun. I'm gonna go on a vacation to Hawaii and sit on a beach all day.

Athan 06:22

What type? Is that? That type one fun one.

Molly 06:27

It's different from your average fan, I would say.

Athan 06:32

Cuz that's me. I think the reason why I'm so drawn to, like your spirit is because when I think of vacation, when I think of taking time off, I think of doing something kind of crazy. Yeah, I've thought like, many times, like chartering a boat, and just like, basically going and like, living like a pirate for a couple of weeks, or something like that, like, not sitting on a beach or next to...

Molly 07:04

I love that too.

Athan 07:05

Don't worry. To me that doesn't sound fun at all like that at all.

Molly 07:10

I think I can do that in little bits, but definitely not for a long time, sustained right at times. And I think that there has to be something else involved with that kind of vision or have fun, in order to make it enjoyable. For me, also, talking about adventure, I tend to put myself in situations that maybe are just, I don't want to say they're not always dangerous, but they are not your everyday nine to five show up to work show up to your vacation jump to this or that like when I chose to, to start doing COVID contracts, like immediately when COVID hit. I had a lot of pushback from people on that in terms of my, mostly my parents. And that's just worrying, and I understand that. But because this was something that I went to Detroit in April of 2020, when everything hit the fan, and we didn't know anything about COVID and how it spread what it would do, we just knew people were dying in droves. And I saw that as an opportunity not to like, go and prove myself or prove anything to anyone. I was in a situation that I don't have any kids at the time, I didn't have any pets, I didn't have anyone to be come home to every day or be responsible for or, and so if this was something that I could let that nurse that doesn't want to expose their kids or their family, to something that we know nothing about, I'll show up, and I'll go do that. And I just see it as something I can contribute. Right. And I think that was a path I also took going into the army was that like, I have this chance to serve, I have this chance to try and make this country a better place or do something along those lines. And I think that that is also an adventure in a way of just being able to do something a little different than not everyone can or is willing to do.

Athan 09:36

Do you feel like your profession. Some of the things you do even recreationally like do you feel like it's somehow attached to some sort of calling or a purpose or have you spent any time identifying that for yourself for.

Molly 09:55

I haven't put much time in like my reason or my why, because I've just felt that it is a calling that I'm able to do physically, mentally. that not everyone can. And whatever the reasoning behind that is, I don't dive too deep into that. But I love that I'm able to do that.

Athan 10:21

I recently reread Victor Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning or something like this. And he and he were talking about, like prisoners being in a prisoner camp, and how many of them died of a broken heart, and so on and so forth. And his his kind of thing that he brought up was that there's still something that the world needs from you, like, the reason why people didn't just kind of like the ones who kind of stuck around is like having this feeling that there's something that you're supposed to do for the world or something like that. I mean, do you feel that way at all? Or? I mean, is that not something?

Taking Your Own Chosen Path

Molly 11:04

I think that I try to avoid thinking in that sense. And I just do it. I have nothing stopping me. And I know that other people that may want to do the kinds of things that I do, whether it be my job, whether it be the kind of adventures I take are things that I do. There's people that want to do that. I have a lot of people that tell me like, I'm living vicariously through your adventures and all this. And for whatever reason, they can't or they don't, or they won't, but I am. I have been blessed for whatever reasons that I have that I'm able to do these things. And maybe it is for longevity of life and happiness. I don't know if this is the right path, but it's the path I'm taking. And I plan on continuing to take.

Athan 12:11

To be clear. Everyone can do the things that you do, they choose not to. And that's a clear distinction, right? It's just like people who say, I can't I could never, I can't do that. And they'll give you some sort of reason why. And to them. That's the real reason. But the truth is, if you choose to do this, you can do it. And you choose to do it. Like, have you always been this way. Like you're like have you always kind of been, I don't want to put words in your mouth. But like the first word that came to my mind was kind of wild or like, kind of like adventuresome.

Molly 12:47

Not always. I don't know, I had relatively strict ish parents growing up. They always encouraged me to go to school across the country. And although my mother wasn't happy when I joined the Army, like, they both always supported that decision. And even though Yeah, I think some of the choices that I make when it comes to friends and family, there's not a lot of understanding. Everyone's always been supportive, but I don't know, my childhood was great. And I didn't seek a lot of adventure. I would say, three, I didn't become an avid rock climber as a child or do this, I had a pretty standard straight path of athletics and college and all this and I think, kind of joining the army out of college, opened my eyes a little bit to more opportunities that, okay, I do have a little bit of this in me that I want to do. And if I just, I could just let it sit there and pass, but I'm gonna take advantage of what I'm getting.

Athan 14:19

It's interesting how that happens for people. It's like, you have an experience, you do a thing, and it sparks it ignites something inside of you that you didn't even know what's there.

Turning Points

Molly 14:28

I would say that my turning point was probably joining the military and kind of just seeing those kinds of opportunities.

Athan 14:36

Did you were there like, were there people that kind of sparked that for you? Or was it just kind of like the process?

Molly 14:43

I think was the process of like putting decisions about my life into someone else's hands, in terms of where my duty station was going to be? Probably the Turning point would be that I really wanted to deploy, when I was in the army, I was a pretty new nurse, I'd only been a nurse for about a year and a half. And the army started putting out basically recruiting for these cultural support teams, which was basically a group of women that were attached to special forces units and going to these deployment areas that were very dangerous. And it was, but it was this new program that the army was kind of putting out. And we were getting emails about it. And I was like, That kind of sounds cool, like a little different than what I would do. So I responded. And at that time, this was 2010-2011. They weren't allowing nurses to go at that point, it kind of got in my head of like I can't go do this. But we are still deploying to Afghanistan. I think we're out of Iraq at that point, pretty much. But, so I just hassled my commander basically, like, hey, if there's an opportunity to deploy, give it to me, there's an opportunity to deploy, I'll take it. And it paid off that I got a slot with a combat sport hospital, and got to deploy like, as a pretty baby, fresh nurse. But that shaped me a lot in my career path of doing er, in trauma, because I had just been working on med surg is a brand new nurse and then get hauled off to a small world to Afghanistan and basically got to see everything. So that guided me in that sense.

Athan 16:46

Once you've kind of had that kind of experience you really, you have a choice. At that point, you can decide, I never want to do anything like that again. Or you can say like, I've got it kind of breeds something inside of you that maybe like I said earlier, you didn't maybe you didn't even know.

Molly 17:05

I think that that was probably my turning point. And getting to go to Afghanistan as a pretty new nurse and feeling like I thrived there, I thrived in that kind of environment. And enjoy it. And like people always, I had a very different, I will preface it by saying I have very different employment than probably you have had, and many people have had, but that being said, it definitely, like, put me in a place of like this is where I belong, like this kind of situation.

Athan 17:44

We need both kinds of people out there, we need people who are willing to kind of charge into situations like that, and we need people who stay home and stay safe and keep things going back here. So I'm very grateful for people like you who wanted to do it and chose to do it and went out there. So you've kind of developed this sense of adventure or wanting to kind of have these new experiences. And really, one of the biggest reasons that I wanted to have you on the show is that you're planning this upcoming, I call it adventure. So tell me a little bit about what you're planning, what you're going to do, like you said, you take, you're taking advantage of your posts kind of closed down?

Molly 18:30

So basically, so I moved back to Austin in like, six months ago, seven months ago, I'm super stoked on this job. And it was fantastic the time that I did get to spend there. And something totally out of my control and the control of my co workers, our bases. Close. So basically, I had this choice of all right, I What do I do now? I'm very happy being back in Austin. I've been kind of between COVID deployments and this and that, like, I've kind of been all over the place, which I also love, like I haven't stayed in one place for more than a couple years for a while. And that's usually like, my safe space is not being at home in one place. But I wouldn't be very glad to be back in Austin. So I kind of was like, alright, what, what am I going to do now? So as I've been a nurse for 12 years and with my background, no difficulty in getting a job at one of the local ers. But in 2018 When I was I was doing I was working as a travel nurse and I can't remember what actually like sparked this, need for an adventure but as a travel nurse, basically you work for three months and a contract ends and usually pick up another one either right away or you can take some time off. And in that time off in between contracts in 2018, I hiked the Colorado trail. So that's about 580 miles from Denver to Durango. And it was, I kind of, I call it my wild moment, have you read the book wild and are seeing the movie now. So basically, this woman, like, gets divorced, has zero backpacking experience, whatever and packs up her mom dies, she's just going through all these life things. She packs up a backpack and goes and hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, and it's a great book, you should eat it. And I kind of had been through a lot the past couple years prior, and I was like, what, this isn't a thing like I could do and 580 miles, it takes me it took me 30 days. So taking a month off of work is doable.It's not taking six months off of work and doing a 2000 mile trail. It's like there's something to do. So I did that. And I loved it. I, most of the time, obviously, you have your days that you just want to be in a bed or have a shower or not be stuck in the rain for 48 hours or this or that. But I came out of that experience. Like, alright, when can I go on my next hike? And between COVID and life and everything, I didn't think that I'd have this opportunity again. So when I have this sudden, unexpected break in unemployment mark in employment, I decided that I'm going to do try another thru hike. So the Arizona Trail had kind of been on my radar. It's not one of the big three, which is Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail. Those are all three are about 2000 plus miles each take four to six months. Huge commitment in your life. And so the Arizona trails like all right, let me see. Let me see if this is possible. So kind of did some research and basically figured that if I can start in by the first or second week of April. It's not going to be too hot because that's the biggest thing is heat shed in Arizona is that the further north you get, the hotter it's going to be. So there's going to trail is about 780 miles it starts at the Mexican border near Sierra Vista and ends at Utah, near Page, Arizona. So goes through all sorts of different climates areas of Arizona. You go south rim did north rim in the Grand Canyon. And yeah, so kind of got the wheels turning once like, I'm not kidding, like three days after we got the news that our base was closing, I was like, Alright, I'm starting to plan.

Athan 23:04

So what goes into planning for something like that, like, I've done? I mean, I think in my case, most of my adventures were kind of planned for me. I was kind of told what to bring. I was told where I was going, I was told everything because it was all kinds of military bases. I haven't really done anything like that on my own. And so I'm extremely curious because I've, I think I've mentioned many times on this show, but to most people who will listen to me, I've got this deep desire to like go on an adventure like do something solo go do something a little crazy. And when I heard you view doing it, I was like, I've got questions. So what goes into the planning in something like this?

Tips for Your Adventures

Molly 23:45

Really luckily with everything these days, social media is extremely helpful in this planning because you're not the first person to do this. Hundreds and hundreds of people have done it over the years and social media these days, like people are recording it and putting it out there. I mean, even years ago, there's blogs that people made. Now it's more of an Instagram type. But that's been a really helpful source in just getting ideas if you're starting from zero, like hop on Instagram or hop I mean just Google, Arizona Trail thru hike and a lot of people chronicle their journey on Yeah, so Gears kind of one of the the top big things is if you've never done any kind of big backpacking trip or hiking trip or anything, getting a solid tent backpack and like sleep system is like the big three that you have to get and that's just kind of some of its trial and error. Some of its people have recommendations for XYZ, but really, it's just going to REI and talking to Someone there and trying a few things out and figuring out what works, what doesn't work. And you figure a lot out on the trail. But just starting with those three and then working from there in terms of all the little things that you use when you're doing a hike like this.

Athan 25:18

Give me example some little things that you you've got a plan on bringing.

Molly 25:22

Food isn't a little thing, but it's actually the most heavy thing in my bag. But figuring out resupplies for food. Again, certain blogs, social media, things are really helpful in and, like, most of these big trails have foundations, or nonprofit groups that the Arizona Trail foundation puts out a ton of great info on what to expect in each segment. And how far the town is that you can resupply at. But it's also figuring out your physical capacity of what you can carry and for how long you can carry it for little things, I would say. I don't know. Like, I can't even think right now. Like, it's basically what do you use on a daily basis that you need? And what do you use on a daily basis that you don't need? Right? And you think you need a shower every day? Well, that's not going to be possible. So what do you do if you just yet carry baby wipes? And hope for the best? Yeah. Hope you don't have to hug anyone. But like a little, little thing. Where are you going to go to the bathroom? Well, nature is where you go to the bathroom. But there's things about it, like Leave No Trace is really important, especially if we want to keep these trails available to everyone, like picking up every little, every little plastic thing from all the food you use every piece of toilet paper, you carry that with you, so even though your bag gets lighter, because you don't have as much food or you don't have as much water, your trash bag, but you also have to carry along, and hope that some next Trailhead has a garbage can that you can put your stuff in, but that I've gone days without garbage cans you just little things like that, that you don't think about, right? Every little piece of trash that you accumulate in a day you carry with you.

Athan 27:32

So with all this stuff that you're carrying? Like, what do you estimate the weight of your pack to be.

Molly 27:39

Generally so I don't go super ultra light, there's hundreds of different hikers that try and get the lightest bag possible. They cut off the handle of their toothbrush so that the...I'm definitely not that type. But I would say dry my bag is probably 30 to 35 pounds, maybe more. I'm in Arizona. The biggest thing I'm worried about in terms of my journey on it is water. I mean, most people's journeys worry about this in Arizona, just the first 200 miles or so. There's very frequent stretches where there's no water for about 30 miles in 100 degree heat. So my plan is to wake up early, get as many miles as I can before it gets too hot. Hopefully find some shade midday siesta, take a little nap until it gets a little cooler and hike into the evening into the night. And then water wise, just carry probably five to six liters as much as I can. But like when I say that there's water sources 30 miles apart that water source you're sharing it with cows like this is like I'm not joking guys. There's cows that you literally are filling up and it's disgusting water. And so a filter is obviously really important on this trip. In Colorado, I only used iodine tabs, which is not common, but I only also took flowing water and I never had any issues with that so that this is going to be stagnant. Warm cow water. We'll be drinking.

Athan 29:47

I've had a few moments like that in my life. So the trail itself is easily followed. Is it something that I mean, is it I can't even picture it in my mind. But is it something that it's not hard to kind of stay on course to navigate?

Molly 30:08

It's pretty easy. It's well cut out. I think maybe 100 or so people thru hike it a year and then there's access to some of the bigger cities in Arizona. So Flagstaff Tucson is not far. So people come in for day hikes as well. Sure. So it's, it's well paved. You can always get lost on some little horse track here. But again, there's some great sources that I have GPS maps that will alert me when I'm off trail if I want to set that but in general, it's not gonna be difficult.

Athan 30:53

And so when you get to those towns, like you said, You'll resupply, you'll kind of refit, do you plan on staying overnight, any of those places or even staying for multiple nights? Or like how does that all play out?

Molly 31:07

So a couple things resupplies can kind of go both ways. I am sending like three boxes, I believe, to some of the smaller towns where there's maybe 100 miles in between major towns. And that's really only because this is for food. I could, I could probably do the whole thing without sending these boxes. But the resupplies in some of the smaller towns or like a general store or a gas station, that choices might not be as plentiful as something that and I just running out of food, something I don't even want to toy with. And so I always carry too much. And I want to have stuff that I choose. For a little bit. I'm not crazy picky, but I like having that option.

Athan 31:57

I'm envisioning like Mr. E's, like, what are you bringing for food.

Food Prep When Traveling

Molly 32:01

A variety of stuff. So I do have some freeze dried camping meals that you can get from Rei or whatever. I actually did the Colorado trail stove lists, so I only did cold soaking and cold, whatever. So my staples are tuna jerky, instant mashed potatoes. Peanut Butter tortillas are like the life saving vessel for all things. Pretty much, there's other if and then just like snacks, trail mix nuts. I mean, I'm planning on averaging about 15 to 20 miles a day. Some days more, some days less. But basically for these town resupplies, there's going to be some places that I will go into town for the day, resupply, go to the grocery store, if they have one. And maybe stop at a restaurant, get some pizza, get some real food, and then get right back on the trail and continue. But you get to a point that you will pay whatever it takes to just have a shower or just have a bed for a night. Yeah. When I did the Colorado trail, generally those days were after I had really bad weather days, where I got caught in like some really gnarly storms, or just was soaked to the bone. And all I wanted was dry clothes. Laundry also, like I just get desperate for laundry. And now I can go into town and spend a day but generally like I plan so those days are generally called zero days or Nero days, which is if it's a day that you do zero miles, you get to town the day before you spend the night at a hotel or whatever. And you do nothing that day. That's a zero day. Generally I don't take too many total zero days. I'm gonna take a couple I think in Flagstaff, because that's like a mile. It's past 500 I think so I'll be definitely ready for Yeah, I'll be ready for a little zero day on that. But generally, if I'll take a zero or a Nero day, which is like, I'll camp three, four or five miles from town, and then sleep in, wander in town that day, spend the night there that day, and then leave first thing next morning.

Athan 34:28

You said you send boxes, where do you send boxes to.

Molly 34:32

Generally post offices? You can mail a box and they'll hold it, address it, general delivery and with your name on it, and they'll hold it for 30 to 60 days. And it'll just be waiting there. So the only problem with resupplying that way, like relying on resupplies that way is you don't know what day you're going to show up in town and it fits on a weekend or Sunday. The Post Office won't be open and You have to wait for the next day. So some other because these towns, these small towns in Arizona are in Colorado so they know that thru hikers are coming through a lot of the businesses, you can mail boxes to like the pizza place in town and they'll hold on to it. Oh yeah. You just like to put your approximate date of when you think you'll be getting there. And they'll just hold on to it. The small towns have these amazing communities of supporters for hikers. And they come as trail angels basically like they leave coolers of beverages, like, a few miles from town, just so you have something like, yeah, people are really supportive and are really great. In Arizona, a lot of these trail angels actually go to the remote, they drive to the remote trailheads that are nowhere near towns, so they spend hours of their time to leave water for thru hikers, because they know what they're encountering. So it's a really cool concept.

Athan 36:11

It's so cool. And nice to know that there are people out. And it also I think gives, because the thing that's on my mind is fear, right? I think the reason why most people would never even consider not even remotely doing like, even a couple of days of hiking staying over would probably freak a lot of people out. For decent reasons. Can they do it physically? Can they? Do they know what they're doing? Do they know? What if all the what ifs? You get into a survival situation? What if there's a bad guy out there? What if you can imagine all kinds of things? And I'm curious, you mentioned that not getting water is one thing that you're afraid of? And but are you like, are you afraid of anything along this walk?

How to Deal With Your Nerves

Molly 37:08

When I decided I was going to do the Colorado trail, one of the things that I knew I would encounter was something I've had a fear of for a long time. So for some reason, since childhood, as long as I can remember. And I I always thought I would grow out of it, but I really never did. I don't want to say irrational because I don't always think it's irrational fear of getting struck by lightning. I hate thunderstorms, haiping outside and storms. But like, mine's not just like, oh, I don't like to be hiking when it's thundering lightning like, I don't like to be outside when there's a thunderstorm always. And I'm almost 40 years old, like this is still a thing. So anyway. Being in Colorado in the summer, there's daily thunderstorms, and you're hiking 10 - 11,000 feet, so I knew this was something I was going to encounter. And I knew I was gonna have to face it pretty much. And it's my first few days on the trail Sure enough, like afternoon rolls in big clouds start rolling in here thunder from a distance like and immediately like my anxiety kind of kicks in. And I started obsessing about it kind of like the storms rolling in which ways the clouds are coming? Like it's a storm coming towards me. I'm going up in elevation. Should I stop here? Should I not? Should I set up camp now? I've only put in 10 Miles like what should I do? And I found myself yeah, like, obsessing about it and fearing about it. And I, I kind of had to like, have a come to Jesus moment of like, Alright, you're not even going to enjoy this experience if you're going to continue this. So I kind of ended up like having a little heart to heart with myself and just being like, I had a little mantra that I kind of like would say as I was going and countering these storms was like, Don't worry about it until it's something to worry about. And there were times that I had to worry about it. I got caught in a ridge thunderstorm like a lightning storm like literally lightning striking all around me at 12,000 feet.

Athan 39:32

Wow. So finding your fears...So exposure therapy.

Molly 39:37

I did the Colorado trail like probably 80% solo. You find other thru hikers, especially certain months, that it's popular to do these hikes. But mostly I was by myself. This particular day of this particular bad storm. I just happened to be leapfrogging Hang with these three Canadian guys that like one day I passed them and then they pass me and we did. We were doing this for about three days. But this day in particular, we just all happened to be going together. We were like on the same ridge. So I was like these three guys and I actually think that kept me from totally going crazy because I was like, Well, this guy is taller than me. So if we get struck by lightning, it's gonna...

Athan 40:26

The whole thing you don't have to build out run up here. Just have to be all run by the other guy.

Molly 40:31

Situations like that. So 100% like I encountered that fear. And I think it built some character in me. And I'm not saying I still like going outside and thunderstorms, but I definitely don't have as much. Anxiety about it? Yeah. Which is silly. But in terms of things I know I'm going to encounter or potentially encounter on this trip. Wildlife is a little bit more of a concern. rattlesnakes are rampant there. And it's just being situationally aware, like I'm real bad about like throwing my headphones in a full blast, and just like tooting along, but I know like, I can't do that here because I will, I could potentially step on a rattlesnake and there are there are mountain lions, and there are bears, and I'll start saving critters. But I am there. They were there before I got there. So I just got to be aware and smart. And I never had any major fears of other people. I've never been in Colorado, I never encountered one person that I got bad vibes from right. I'm not saying it can't happen. But she also happened walking down the street in Austin, probably more likely to happen walking down the street.

Athan 42:02

I really don't think there's too many. Like, I mean, sure there's like psychopaths out in the world. 100% It's possible that they may try to plot some sort of thing on a trail like, but for the most part criminals and psychopaths and sociopaths and all that stuff.

Molly 42:17

Where the psychopaths kind of go out.

Athan 42:22

There not, there's many more opportunities and other places.

Molly 42:25

For that reason, I know some people do carry a sidearm? In these situations, I don't just because I don't, I think I would be more uncomfortable with it than feeling safe with it. But I'll have my pepper spray, I did carry bear spray in Colorado. I'm still debating whether I'm gonna bring that along with me or not.

Staying Physically Fit

Athan 42:50

One thing, this is a great opportunity for me to advocate for one thing that you've been a couple of things that I think is massively important for all people, no matter if you're going to go on an adventure like you're going on or not. But number one, you are physically fit. And in fact, I met you because through fitness. So you work on your strength, you have the ability to run, you can run fast, you can run long, you are physically strong, if you had to do anything, not just a person, but you had to if you had to climb up a steep cliff or something like that. And the other thing that I mentioned that you do that I think all other people need to do is that you practice Brazilian jujitsu. I think all people need to learn how to grapple, they need to learn some sort of method of being able to handle themselves if there's a situation in which someone puts their hands on you. And I think that's really smart on your part. And you're gonna probably fare far better.

Molly 43:50

My shoulder like I did.

Athan 43:52

But you'll survive that situation.

Molly 43:56

Getting into jiu jitsu, one of the things that I found very helpful as I had done combatives in the army, and like getting those hands on 100% Is it empowers you in other ways, rather than just like, oh, I have my gun, I'm okay. You're not always going to put it in a situation that you can defend yourself that way.

Athan 44:19

I've talked about this in other episodes, but like, the fact that you're even, you have a level of confidence, and going on something like this, again, many Most people will not do a trip like this for hundreds of reasons. And you've done things in your life to create some confidence why you aren't using those as excuses why you can't go do this. And I think that's really important. You physically mentioned to me earlier before we got on the show, I know I'm physically able to do this, and there's a large part of the population who do not feel that way about themselves.

Molly 44:55

Regardless of what path I take? With my adventures from here on out, staying physically fit is always going to be one of the top priorities in my life. It allows you to do so much more with everything, every aspect of your life.

Athan 45:18

It's just a gateway to so much. And obviously, as your vessel is more tuned, you're just, you get to it, you get to enjoy everything around you better, you're just more physically, your relationships are better, your work lives better, everything's better. One thing that, like, I'm one of the reasons why I'm desired to go do something like you've done on these, these trips that you've gone on, is the opportunity to to be alone, which is actually when you when I think of fear, one of the things I'm afraid of, because being alone with myself, and my thoughts, to me, is scary. I tend to busy myself with tasks, I tend to just surround myself with people, so I don't have to deal with myself. And I'm curious about you. What is it like to be on a trip like this already? And you're about to embark on another one. Are there thoughts about aloneness like what you seek? Some people desire, like they like it that way? So I'm just curious about your thoughts on aloneness.

Molly 46:29

I feel like I'm this mix. I'm not an introvert or an extrovert. I love being social. I love having friends and doing group activities and stuff, but I definitely seek those alone times for sure. I think I do seek discomfort in certain ways. And being alone can be very uncomfortable in certain situations, especially this kind of situation where, like I said, when I was in a scary, almost getting struck by lightning situation, I was glad I had someone else there. But the fact that like, I know, I'm not going to have someone to talk to or to comfort me, or to have these when I am uncomfortable or scared or I hear sticks breaking while I'm trying to sleep, the fact that I don't have someone to be like, Hey, what is that? Or I have to figure that out myself. It is difficult, but it also like, when you come out of it on the other end, you realize how much more you can do. Yeah, that you things that you don't think that you can do? Yeah. And I think that that's almost one reason why I did the Colorado trail initially and why I'm doing something like this, like, I don't have a doubt that I can't do it physically. But I like proving to myself that I can do hard things. Yeah. And that I don't do it for anyone else. I just do it for myself be like, this is going to be scary. This is going to be hard. This is going to be lonely. But I'm going to come out the other end and say I did this. And this is how it shaped me to be a better person.

Athan 48:19

I will actually recommend to me the comfort crisis, which I was completely enthralled with. It's a book by Michael Easter, anyone who's listening, picked that book up and read it. You recommended it to me, I devoured it in like a very short amount of time. And there he goes through several different concepts of being uncomfortable. And for different reasons, and all these other things, and one of the I'm gonna mess up the term, but it's the Muskogee Mossad. I'm pronouncing planning something that you probably got a 50 50 shot at doing something hard. For no other reason than doing something hard and also dealing with the failure, like, like, like, the way that that in that concept he talked about, it's like, he failed many times. And the ones that he's done, other people do, too, and having to deal with failure brings as just just as much growth as in, in fact, probably more growth. Then finishing something that you already knew you could probably do anyway.

Molly 49:23

And that's like I don't even consider this, that. Because of course, there's a chance that can fail. Of course, there's a chance I can run out of water and end up in the hospital or get bit by a rattlesnake or fall and break my ankle and not complete this thing or just be lonely and tired and decide, alright I'm done. But one of the other things that he mentioned is that it's not something that you share with anyone else. This is just for you. You don't put it on social media, you don't talk about like, you can talk about it, but like, you don't promote it, you don't share it. It's it's just something you do for you, that's a chance with the tools just to make it hard and don't die. Like, and that's it and have it be like a 5050 chance that you will either complete it or you will fail it. i This is not that. But I plan on putting myself in a lot of situations he talks about in that of solitude and the discomfort of not having, like, I'll have my phone, but I'm not gonna have service and I'm not gonna have anything downloaded on it. I'm bringing a book and some music, maybe I'll listen to maybe, but even that, like, that is something that puts you into your little comfort zone. So I usually have a rule that when I hike in the morning, I don't have headphones in until noon. Like I give myself that time of like, but then it's just more of about, like, if I'm gonna put these miles in, like, if I want to hit 20 miles, I need somebody.

Athan 51:15

I gotta do something to keep me going.

Molly 51:17

Motivation more than anything. It's not even about discomfort. It's like, Oh, my God, I just don't want to do any more miles.

Athan 51:22

But you're I'm sure you're also dealing with having to conserve battery. You can't just, you have to manage all. Well, I am just, like, freaking, I'm pumped for you. I mentioned before we got on, I'm jealous, like I wanted, I plan on doing something along those lines, something really hard, something really challenging, something alone. For my own growth, something that I need to do for me, it's been calling me for a long time. And so watching you do it lets me know that it's possible. And I can do something similar.

Molly 51:59

One of the reasons, I like sharing my experiences, but I don't share a ton on social media. But I do put it out there that I'm doing this. And I like that people see it, and make it think that it's something they can do. Because I totally believe anyone can do this with the right motivation, and making putting that effort in. And so that's why I share and because I relied on other people sharing for me to be competent enough for this to happen in my life. Like, maybe I can be that for someone else.

Athan 52:40

You're certainly doing that. And I can speak for one person for sure. And I know probably many others are watching you and being inspired. And so I'll be definitely cheering you on and appreciate it.

Molly 52:54

Come join me for part of it.

Athan 52:56

I saw that you put that out there. Somehow I saw that you were asking people that maybe. And I am strongly considering that. And so you're more than welcome. Let me find out. I'll have to get your itinerary and see where I can link up with you. So okay, in closing, what I always like to do on this show, I started this podcast, to talk to interesting people, people who are either experts, or inspirational or anything like that. And then I like to get to know three things, or one of three things so I'm gonna say three terms. And you pick one and say what's resonating with you? And we'll just kind of talk about a little bit. So Optimal Health. Deep Human Connection and Self Actualization. When I say those words, optimal health, deep human connection, and self actualization, which one kind of like resonates with you which one kind of like what good, bad, whatever.

Molly 54:03

Probably self actualization. We're all constantly changing who we are, what we believe. And the journey to figure ourselves out is going to be never ending till the day we die. But any moment that you can take that opportunity and do something, to understand yourself a little more, I think is essential for overall happiness.

Athan 54:37

So what kinds of things do you do? I mean, I don't want to make any assumptions given the conversation that we just had. But what does it look like for you to become more self actualized?

How do you find happiness in your chosen path?

Molly 54:52

Situations that I put myself in, whether it's an adventure that I'm going to do part of my job? What Fitness route I'm taking, I always try and ask myself, like, is this the right path? For me? Is this the path that is going to make me happier and benefit me more? And I think you need to ask yourself that every day. And what is this doing for my life? Is this benefiting me? Is this benefiting the person, people. I surround myself with the people, I love the people that are important to me. And by doing that, you make yourself better and realize? What makes you happy?

Athan 55:48

It's powerful, what you just said, it just can't be undervalued enough that when you are working on yourself, you are making it sound selfish on the surface, right? It's making it about you, it's about me. But you are in a better place to contribute and serve the world, when you're at your best. And that's not selfish at all. And the world needs your best. You're the people who you love need the best you. And it's something I struggle with, personally based on how I grew up, and like some of my experiences in life, like I default to the other all the time, and I think it's something that I'm trying to learn skill in and is it sounds even, like, it's hard to even say the words like me first, or prioritizing myself or something like that. But I know it's something I need to work on. I know, there's a lot of people listening to this show right now who really feel that way that, that maybe, and I think I'm in this boat, or at least until recent years, maybe I've never done anything for myself even things that like seemingly on the outside look like it was for me. So I love the year going you have done many things because you said you're trailblazing for people like me who get to see like, No, this is clearly something that because you're doing something all alone out there on a trail like you're not. That's something for you.

Molly 57:20

But I'm hoping that the outcome of it all also helps the people that I eventually surround myself with and I think it will. And I think it does.

Athan 57:33

Well, I love that. I'm massively grateful for you. I'm so glad that we're friends and I get to see you do these things. And I just really appreciate you being on the show and sharing your story and what you got going on.

Molly 57:48

Definitely. Thank you Athan!

Athan 57:52

I'm so grateful that you joined us for this episode of doing the work podcast. Providing you with value is why I do this and I hope you got something out of this episode that you can put into action into your life. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please share this episode with your friends and family who are looking to level up in life. Sign up for our email list at To receive special offers and discounts from our sponsors. subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and anywhere podcasts are hosted. Thanks again for Doing The Work Podcast. And we'll see you in the next episode!

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