The Lightest Tread Podcast Episode 10: Amiththan Sebarajah
Lightning bugs, reciprocity with the natural world and the contrived nature of 'wilderness'.
Paul chats to long distance hiker and 'recovering academic' Amiththan Sebarajah to gain his perspective on thru-hiking and discus how he frames that perspective against the complex and nuanced backdrop of his life experience as a first-generation immigrant and person of color.
As a boy Amiththan survived civil war in Sri Lanka before moving to Canada with his family. His life has followed many varied paths including academia, advocacy, and activism, but the paths he has most passion for are those he can follow across continents, one step at a time.
Amiththan has thru-hiked many of the world’s most famous long distance trails and offers a nuanced and considered perspective on what it is to thru-hike in the Social-political context of the modern world.
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01:08 Pronouncing Amiththan
03:25 Amiththan's hiking experience
07:45 South bound or North bound?
12:06 The stigma of choosing a life in the wild
16:00 Walking through the Sri Lankan jungle during civil war
19:25 The trail and wild places are far more than just 'escape'
22:48 Merry, Pippin and convincing the ents to go to war
29:00 The added responsibility of thru hiking as a POC
36:00 Pine Grove Furnace, lightning bugs and a heavy epiphany
45:00 The effects of natural forces on your state of mind
56:15 Reciprocity with the land vs. designating areas for sports
01:05:00 Flow state and connection to the land on trail
01:12:40 Time alone vs the social dynamic on trail