Wednesday, July 7, 2021

"Everything You Ever Taught Me" Guest Author: Person Irresponsible

I'm so excited to share an excerpt from a book by an author who prefers to remain anonymous----which is what immediately piqued my interest in reading "Everything You Ever Taught Me," written by Person Irresponsible. I am in awe of what this author did---she packed up her life and hit the road to travel through the wilderness.

Call it a midlife crisis if you want, or a way to cope with sobriety or a response to the shit show that we call 2020; either way, the author did an amazing job of it and survived to tell her story. The book is fascinating and full of humorous bits but it also speaks to the reader on so many other levels---mostly facing our inner demons and discovering a whole new side to ourselves that we never knew existed. It's a great read, which is why I asked the anonymous Person Irresponsible to share a portion of her book on my blog. Below is a brief synopsis and a sample from Chapter 12. Enjoy!

In 2020 the world went to hell in a handbag. This isn’t exactly headline news - although it was then. I went from perfectly locatable in the Cotswolds to utterly baffled in the American wilderness when I embarked on a quest to walk from Mexico to Canada for reasons that escape me. It was most probably nothing more dramatic than a mid-life crisis.

Perhaps I should have come ‘home’ but I lived in the deluded optimism the pandemic would all be over by the summer. Besides, I’d given up my home: shoving my belongings into storage, persuaded someone to look after my cat and someone else to look after my car. I did think about returning but each time I popped into civilisation to top up my supplies, I discovered a new reason to run for the hills. So 'home' became a tent: a mere flimsy bit of fabric to protect me from every conceivable terror that exists in the wilderness - bears, rattlesnakes, deserts, avalanches and other human beings. Most dangerous of all was the racket inside my head.

Everything you ever taught me is my journey, relying on nothing other than the twelve steps of recovery, teaching me to take it one day at a time, one step at a time, and one bloody ginormous mountain at a time as I staggered my way along the Pacific Crest Trail. As mid-life crises go, I remain utterly clueless why mine took me from my sofa to the Canadian border via the fridge, powered only by two chubby legs and a fat arse.

An excerpt from Chapter 12: “There is such a thing as a dumb question!” 

I wondered if foot bones had individual names, because I couldn’t think of a single one. The agony of pressing down was causing a mild but detectable limp, which in turn bruised my hip joint, and strained my knees. Each morning descended into a ritual of asking myself what was actually working. How much did various parts of me hurt? What didn’t hurt? And why the hell was I doing this in the first place? That latter question is the most commonly asked question. “Idiocy,” had become my stock-in-trade answer. I had no idea, and I couldn’t face explaining multiple times a day how a friend had watched Wild, and then died. Not because she’d watched Wild, but because of cancer. And no, it wasn’t some carpe diem response to grief. And no, I wasn’t doing it for charity, but still after nearly two thousand, two hundred miles, it startled me that I still didn’t have a neat, plausible realisation

“Are you thru-hiking?” is the typical way one breaks the ice with fellow travellers. On this particular day, it was asked by a thirty-something male as we crossed paths mid-morning, mid-trail. “Yes!” To which he asked, “Are you Australian?” Sometimes to entertain myself I would hold entire conversations with a discernible, but very dodgy, Australian twang. I did actually have an Aussie accent once upon a time, but then elocution lessons pummelled it out of me. On this occasion, I admitted to my Britishness. “Ah, in that case, do you want crisps?” Food of the Gods! Walkers are better known as Lays globally. Same logo, different name. Unfortunately, different flavours too, and I struggled to get excited by Limon, Habanero or Dill Pickle but the universally acceptable Original Flavour Doritos delighted me greatly. I’d met the legend that is GoldTech. Each year he trawls back and forth sections of the PCT, giving out a treat to any Northbounding thru-hiker he crosses paths with. He knows full well that hiker hunger is second-worse in terms of the physical discomfort now faced by thru-hikers. If proof was ever needed that long-distance hikers are not marauding animals, each hiker has always accepted GoldTech’s single and generous token without mugging him for the remainder of the giant sack of treats he carries about him.


There were plenty of other questions I answered quite repetitively. “Do you carry a gun?” was one of those random and particularly daft ones to ask a thru-hiker. I imagine if we did, by Washington, day hikers would be negotiating their freedom in exchange for a half-dozen Snickers. ….

….Being asked questions was just about the only distraction most days. The views were largely irrelevant given it was thick woodland in every direction. Aside from questions from the occasional day hiker, days remained quite laborious. A plethora of garter snakes rapid-firing off the trail would give me a timely jolt of adrenaline here and there. Another day, I was mesmerized by two small, bright pink, pudgy snakes all curled up beside a rotting log. They both eyed me warily, I assumed at their most vulnerable as they had just shed their skins. Later, when I asked Google why they were so pink, I discovered it was probably because they were northern rubber boas, which explains why they didn’t shoot off, or kill me.

Author bio - Person Irresponsible*

Female. Aged 46. Average height. Large rear. Huge thighs. British in nationality. In the midst of a mid-life crisis. It probably began when I was about four. Hoping I'll overcome it one day. Can't afford a Ferrari, and I can't be bothered with an affair. I bought a quad-bike instead but then I sold that when I buggered off to America for six months to live in the wilderness.

Got into the recovery gig aged 41, almost by accident. So I'm now *that* boring divorcee, teetotaller, vegetarian and cat-owner that absolutely no one wants to invite to their dinner parties. Loves chocolate and cats. Loathes camping.  

*The author has retained her anonymity in keeping with the eleventh tradition of Alcoholic Anonymous: “we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.” 




  1. I got the book too. Fascinating read.

  2. Wow, this sounds fabulous, Marcia. Thanks for sharing her here as no way I would've heard of this author (duh: Anonymous :D) LOVE her humor and her bio! Had me laughing. I will be adding this to my TBR.

  3. Great Blog post! Very kind of you to share it. This sounds like a great read and an amazing woman. It's not always easy to share the good, the bad, and the ugly and I admire the author.
    Hope to read more of your posts menopausal mama! I see you share a lot of good information. I love your Blog. (You popped into my blog when I had one about women 50+. Now I'm 60+ and I took down that blog and am concentrating on my author blog, Writeandsubmittoday.



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