why on earth would you want to create a podcast?

Be fearless in trying new things, whether they are physical, mental, or emotional, since being afraid can challenge you to go to the next level.

Rita Wilson
Long distance backpacker and essayist Alison Young reveals the truth behind the unglamorous – but fulfilling –life of a full-time-pedestrian.
In creating a weekly podcast. I bring all my skills to the fore – writing, voicing, editing, producing and backpacking.

So you might have perhaps noticed that I have started a weekly podcast. It seemed like a natural thing to do after exploring audio narratives and visual audio essays during my last two major hikes.

But, to give credit where credit is due, it took my accountability group of three professional actors to give me the permission I sought to follow this crazy idea. I say it that way, because my personality is one that is self-motivated and always follows through. What I need is to be reassured my idea is one worth pursuing and that tends to build my confidence enough to begin moving forward.

I can still see the faces of my brand new friends, Kurt, Elizabeth and Billie Jo smiling with encouragement – and likely a bit of bewilderment since this was the first they’d ever heard of my kooky backpacking fetish. But they appeared to enjoy the few stories I shared and convinced me to follow through in creating a podcast, which at that time, about two months ago, seemed daunting indeed.

To achieve anything, we need to acquire a thru-hiker’s mindset. There’s no way we can bite off all 2600+ miles of the PCT at once. No one would even set foot on the trail. Instead, it’s a matter of steps, one after the other that gets you where you’re going.

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The Pee Rag here
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Our fearless leader taught me to start with a big goal in mind, and then create smaller “SMART” goals to get there. Remember those?

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

My to-do list looked something like this: find a hosting site, determine what the subject will be, flesh out a format and structure, come up with cover art and a name, and then, make ’em! Week after week after week…

It was Richard who came up with the title. At first, I was a little suspect about calling the show “The Pee Rag,” but he explained it’s all a play on words – a weekly “rag” or broadside and that since I was sharing the unfiltered adventures, nothing sugar-coated, I might “rag” or complain a bit about how tough backpacking really is and that, excluding day 1, most of us will never look like a Patagonia ad.


In episode two, I spend a lot of my energy preparing mentally for a five month hike.
In episode two, I spend a lot of energy mentally preparing for a five month hike.

Richard also pointed out how my story of discovering what a Pee Rag is (episode 3 coming out on Thursday) shows a kind of hiker connection and support that is special and unusual outside of the trail. I was following the Te Araroa women’s group on Facebook – after finding the regular Facebook page a bit heavy on drama – and discovered the wisdom of designating a bandana for taking care of business. You can read the article that saved my solo-female-bad-ass-thru-hiking life here.

Once we chose a name, the cover art was a snap since I have plenty of pictures from hiking. The group chose the one from the North Cascades where I’m looking off to the mountains and by bright red pee rag is front and center. Next, I located a bandana font and expert Adobe Illustrator Richard, designed the final image.

Look closely, and you can see the black patch on the back of Olive Oyl, my Granite Gear pack. It was made for me by Neil and Kate, trail angels living in Christchurch. The Māori words, Wahine Toa, meaning Warrior Woman!

So let me see if I can answer a few questions. Karen wrote me the other day and asked, “Who do you expect to follow this?”

On Apple Podcasts, The Pee Rag is categorized under: “Sports: Wilderness.” If you head over there to listen, you’ll notice that the top podcasts in the genre include “Meat Eater” and “Wired to Hunt,” as well as “Outside.” I’m not sure my mix of personal reflections, music and middle-aged-female-thru-hiker quite fits into that lineup.

I told her it’s one of those things that I feel compelled to do. Why? Well personally, it forces me to write, voice, edit and produce and it keeps me deeply tethered to my biggest love, long distance hiking. You know me, I am not easily categorized and I think it’s the inspiring nature of why I do what I do, even when it’s unconventional, that interests. 

In episode three, I meet Irene and encounter real "trail angel" Kiwi hospitality, something ingrained in the culture.
In episode three, I meet Irene and encounter real “trail angel” Kiwi hospitality, something ingrained in the culture.

I’m happy to answer any other questions you have and would love your feedback!

To get the conversation started, here is a list of ten reasons why I started a podcast at this moment. Let’s see if they remain the same reasons I keep going!

  1. It pushes me into uncharted territory.
  2. It helps me share my hiking story with a larger group of people.
  3. It teaches me to articulate my story from the vantage point of a year.
  4. It forces me to decide which parts of the story matter most and remember details I might have left out of my blog.
  5. It improves my writing-for-the-ear skills.
  6. It enhances my oral storytelling skills.
  7. It allows me to use collected sounds from my hikes in creative ways.
  8. It develops my audio production skills.
  9. It keeps me on a regular “work” schedule.
  10. It pushes Blissful out of the nest to spread her wings.
The last bluff before descending stairs to the long, exposed, blister-inducing, tide-timing stretch of concrete-hard-as-sand, the Ninety Mile Beach.
The last bluff before descending stairs to the long, exposed, blister-inducing, tide-timing stretch of concrete-hard-as-sand, the Ninety Mile Beach.

Published by alison young

Alison Young is the Blissful Hiker, a voice artist and sometime saunterer. 📣🐥👣🎒

Reader Comments

  1. Thanks for the wonderful explanation! You had so many experiences, sights, adventures, fun times, crappy times and Angel interactions packed into one year . . . that it must be wonderful to revisit and let a little of the steam out, if you know what I mean. Your initial sharing on blissfulhiker.com collected all the data . . .and now to portion it out in a more thoughtful and professional way must be FUN and satisfying. And it certainly is a joy to listen to!!

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