After extensive internal debate, I’ve decided to offer up an invite to EFI, my little orange octopus of a mascot, to join me on this year’s northbound Appalachian Trail thru-hike.
The observant reader might recall seeing EFI on the first draft of this site’s About page, or as the original lead picture for my Bus Question post. I kept trying to drop him in here, there, anywhere, because he’s hugely important to me.
In 2008, after graduating from college, I cycled coast-to-coast, from North Carolina to California, with 29 other young adults. We rode with Bike & Build, a nonprofit benefiting affordable housing. The 3,600 mile journey took 9 weeks.
Early on in the trip, a few riders and I pulled into a flea market in North Carolina. It was at this flea market that I bought EFI for a few dollars. Before riding out of the parking lot, I zip-tied the little stuffed animal to my top tube, where he stayed for the remainder of the summer.
Today, I would pay many times EFI’s original cost in order to hold on to him. Simple, seemingly worthless objects can take on tremendous meaning in our lives. I don’t fully understand why or how, so I won’t go into details, but Radiolab did a great podcast on the subject. It's definitely worth a listen.
Why name him EFI? It stands for “Every F’n Inch”, which is the mantra I used on that summer’s harder rides. This mantra, as well as any other type of reminder we give ourselves on a daily basis, can (I think) have a dramatic impact on how effective we are at achieving our goals, and also how happy we are in our day-to-day lives.
One of my favorite authors, and a local Boston guy to boot, put it best:
“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” - Thoreau
Anyways, I’m taking EFI along because the trade off is worth it. He’ll add an ounce and a half to my pack weight, but if and when I get lonely on the trail or stray from my ultimate goal of reaching Katahdin, then a quick look at his goofy grin and the reminder of another seemingly impossible goal already achieved (with the help of those 29 other folks) might get me back on track.
Also, he’s super photogenic.