The list of items one prefers to take trekking is endless. With so many variables involved (distance, terrain, climate), what you should have with you is arguably subjective. However, the bigger reason that most hikers are out there in the first place is to achieve value fulfillment. Put aside all of the physical gear you might take with you when you enter the wilderness, and for a few minutes spend some time asking yourself whether or not you truly take the following things with you each time you go. Or, if you truly ever have?
First, a clear mind. Many of us find nature in order to unwind or decompress from a busy week. While we certainly achieve that through the physical and emotional stimulation of a hike, we’re using most of the hike to clear the week’s adversities instead of using the majority of the hike to fully absorb the serenity around us. Take time to clear your mind before you start hiking, and imagine how much more powerful your senses will become!
Some may have difficulty understanding how one can accomplish this, but it can be simple. You have to recognize your values in order to honor them.
Defining one’s values can be difficult. For most we think of the immediate answers, “Family,” for example. “Family” by itself is not a value, it’s the place you find value. The root value is more likely love, loyalty, or safety, for example. Perhaps the easiest way to recognize your values is to ask yourself what drives you crazy. What you value is almost always going to be the opposite of what makes you anxious. For example, maybe you have a particular aversion to individuals who fail to use a turn signal when they drive. This might suggest that you value self-awareness; how your actions affect others. Honor that value. Find a way to be self-aware in a way that positively affects someone else. Honor your values and clear the adversity before you even step onto the trail. Not only does this free-up your senses, but it also keeps you focused and more alert, thus safer on your trek.
Second, the ability to dance in the moment. I’m not suggesting that you break into the “moon walk” on a hike (I may have just dated myself), but rather that you take in everything you’re seeing. Stop and appreciate the sights and sounds around you.
Most of us find this a natural part of taking a break along the trek, but how often do you randomly stop while in full stride just to look around? You might be amazed at what you see, hear, or smell. Fulfill the senses. Especially with an ecosystem that is constantly in some form of change or evolution, what you’re seeing today may not be the same a few years or even a few months from now.
While you’re at rest with what’s around you, it offers another opportunity to recognize how it ties to your values and how you can honor them. This becomes much easier to do if you’re already of clear mind. It validates your purpose for being outdoors to being with. Allow yourself time to dance in those moments.
Third, champion yourself. Before you walk off of the trail at the end of your hike, take a few minutes to recognize what you accomplished. Be proud of the miles you crossed, the hill you climbed, or the milestone you reached. Most importantly, be inspired by the time you spent respecting yourself and honoring your own values. Be happy with what you saw, smelled, or heard. Realize that you spent time that day with nothing more than what makes you who you are, your core values. Treat yourself like a champion and you’ll feel like one.
None of the three things I have offered are tangible items needed for a hike. More importantly, they are the intangible necessities. The psychology of our individual purpose and motivation. If you’re able to enter a hike with your mind already clear, endure that hike with your mind tuned-in to your values, and complete the hike by rewarding those values, I can promise you that you will have experienced an entirely new level of trekking, and being outdoors in general. You will have truly experienced your values. You will have achieved self-fulfillment.
Keep Hiking Forward.
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