Feel like you need a break? Take a hike.

No, not in the context of ‘f*** off and leave’. You might feel like telling someone that but perhaps it is time for you to take it literally – plan a hike and make it longer than 3 days.

It sounds ironic that you should take a hike when you need a break doesn’t it? A hike with a road trip can help us work better.

You’ll be surprised how going back to nature and basics can give you perspective and also make you more resourceful. Take the opportunity to plan this with your partner. However, just a cautionary note that it may make or break the relationship if you do not understand each other enough or have not done a trip like that before. Always a first.

Hiking takes your mind off other things at first when you are planning. If you get a sense of purpose doing meaningful things, this can be such a good ritual. The things we learn from taking a hike  (which also includes a road trip), can teach us a lot about how we can approach work and life.

Planning for that hike requires research. It gives your mind a different kind of focus and also gives you something to look forward to. Until you sink ankle deep in mud during your hike and have to walk around the next few days with wet and caked hiking boots. Think about the time when you were planning for your vacation. Weren’t you excited?

Throw in the element of challenge. This is how a hike can affect you mentally. You feel mentally and physically stronger after, perhaps not immediately after the hike for the latter. A hike can make you feel like you have achieved something. Carrying your own pack, cooking your own food over a small gas stove, pacing your day and planning when you stop and how long you’ll need to get to the next campsite or where to pitch the tent, where to get water and how to filter your water, where to set up your shower and how to shower without anyone catching you naked or almost naked, sometimes even battling the cold and sandflies…

Hiking requires a ton of discipline. Walking a certain distance each day, meal planning and keeping to it, waking up at a certain time to get in the right amount of distance before the next campsite or ground and continuing even when you are tired requires that discipline and grit. These attributes can be applied to life and work.

Team work. You definitely play as team with your partner. In life and also while hiking. Sharing and splitting up what we carry in our bags, dividing tasks during the trip and lending a helping hand when that bloody branch suddenly appeared in your view when it is too late and you see yourself doing splat to the ground in slowmo.

Setting up camp is usually a task we rush through since we try to hike as much as possible in a short time frame since we have to get back on schedule and catch a flight home. Once we get to the campsite or grounds, the aim is to setup and cook before it gets dark. At the same time, we also shower and that takes time in setting up our little shower bag, getting food cooked and then finishing that before it is too dark. In the Canadian Rockies, we had to ensure that ALL food items are locked in the anti-bear lockers after we were done. You don’t want unexpected visitors in the night to your tent.

Showering in the wilderness in New Zealand during early September was a real pain. One, it was still cold but not cold enough for sandflies. We get attacked whenever we are stop moving or when there’s exposed skin. You and your partner will stand guard during this really vulnerable moment when you take turns to shower and watch for other hikers and also swap sandflies away. After the shower, we hop around shivering while trying to get on all our clothes, all at the same time, bottoms and tops together. Frankly, I doubt this is a sight which would turn any hikers on at all. I doubt I’ve ever showered so quickly with soap before. It was camp soap on and off in 60 seconds and literally shivering through the whole process and then hopping into the thermal pants or trying to push both legs, which are still a bit damp, in the same time, while cursing why they won’t just slip on quick enough. In NZ, there was the extra check for sandflies under the pants and top.

Team work is so important on these trips. This is also where partners learn more about each other. Eg. Driving and navigating. I am usually designated navigator as I’m better at reading maps and directions then with non-stop driving.

At the end of the trip, you will stink and will just wish to teleport to a nice Airbnb house for a shower.

Once you are cleaned and had some comfort food, you will appreciate what you have experienced as something that you have accomplished together a team. You will feel tired but mentally stronger and that is something helps with everything in life. Resilience, discipline and team work. Sometimes, getting out of our comfort zones can bring out something good.


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Alicia C

Travel, cooking, discovery, outdoors, randomness...and experiences!

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