How to find your overland trail name?

What is an overland trail name? And how do you find yours?

How to find your overland trail name?

Hello. You might not know me. Hi, I'm Adam. Nice to meet you. But even if you do know me, do you know my trail name? When I'm at home or hanging out with my friends or family, I usually go by Adam. Perhaps a few people call me Ad. But when I'm overlanding, exploring, and adventuring I'm often known by another name, my trail name. So how do you get a trail name? And what is my trail name? Read on to find out.

Trail names are often cited as originating from long distance hikers, particularly those hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or the Continental Divide Trail. Trail names are earned, often given by fellow hikers based on an event, characteristic, or a story related to the hiker. You could certainly just create a trail name for yourself, but part of the specialness of a trail name is the process of it being created and bestowed by a fellow adventurer. Perhaps in everyday life your name is Sally but on the trail you might be dubbed "Blueberry" because your love of wild blueberries. Trail names are often used in place of real names along the trail, perhaps signaling the transformation that often occurs during long journeys. They can symbolize who you are while you're out there, away from everyday life. A symbol of a different identity and personality.

I forget exactly when I earned my trail name. I think it started around a campfire as things often do. I was sitting around the campsite after a long but rewarding day of overlanding with friends. And among the meandering campfire conversion, I was ask if everyone knew how judge a good cheesesteak. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, I've eaten my fair share of cheesesteaks and consider myself somewhat of an expert. "Judging a good cheesesteak is like buying a cantaloupe" I said to confused looks. "It should be heavy for it's weight. It should be a heavy cheesesteak." And sometimes over the next few days it started. I started getting called Heavy Cheesesteak. And it stuck. It's become my trail name. And I love it.

Being called Heavy Cheesesteak reminds me of my friends and all of the adventures we've had together. It reminds me about who I am while overlanding, perhaps a bit more playful, fun, and free. My trail name is something special that was created out of our friendship and is a reminder of it. When I hear the radio come to life and hear "Hey, Heavy Cheesesteak ..." it makes me smile and makes my heart swell. There's love in that name. Heck yeah, I'm Heavy Cheesesteak! And of course I enjoy a heavy cheesesteak as well.

So next time you're out there traveling with friends, perhaps the spark of an idea will arise for someone's trail name. Say it out loud. Try it out. See if it fits. Maybe it will stick. Maybe it won't. But maybe it will become someone's trail name. And maybe there will be lore and legends about them. Maybe it will be a part of growing your friendship. And how awesome would that be?

P.S. I am also sometimes called Ice Breaker when overlanding during the winter months. But that's another story for another time. Feel free to ask me about it when you see me out there someday.

See you out there,

- Heavy Cheesesteak (aka Adam)