This week I took a trip to the mountains. I climbed across the valleys and crossed plains. I braved sleetstorms and rains. I basked in the glorious sunshine eating a can of sardines.
I did this trip because I’ve felt stuck the past few weeks.
When I tell people about it – they say “wow that sounds like so much fun. I wish I could do that”.
But the truth is walking by yourself for a week is boring. It’s lonely. There’s just white noise in your head.
There’s a definite pain barrier. You feel fed up, hungry and your backpack aches on your shoulders. But if push on, just through that pain barrier – it doesn’t matter any more.
It’s like you don’t get attached to those needs of the ego any more. You’re more than your body. You’re more than your mind. You just accept what’s in front of you and act moment-to-moment.
1. Your conciousness expands. This sounds very hippy-ish but when you spend that much time looking at the trees, the plants, the stars and the sky – you feel very small. You realise you’re just energy. You’re made of exactly the same stuff as everything you see.
Most of our lives we lead staring at screens and going from box to box in artificial cities. We think that’s all there is. But it’s easy to forget what we’re part of.
2. You learn a steady discipline. It’s 5 hours of walking to the next town where you might find a hostel. You don’t have a choice. You might be sore but you soldier on. “One foot in front of the other”. And you’ll make it. You’re patient. You’re kind to yourself.
3. Your subconcious comes through. What most people never realise is your subconcious mind controls you, unless you acknowledge it.
At first it’s just an inkling. But you realise there’s all these odd thoughts and reactions that you have. And you accept them for what they are. You’re by yourself, have your space and you have no distractions or others to judge you.
4. You become ultra-resourceful. One night at a hostal the heating went off and it was FREEZING. I had icicles on my nose. I only had one pair of trousers which were dirty. So I turned my jumper inside out, put my feet through the arm-holes and kept my legs warm.
5. You trust your gut instinct. Your gut is 100x more powerful than your brain. One afternoon, I was walking along the side of a road. Then this car stopped, reversed. The window opened and this lady and this grandma asked where I was going. They offered me a lift. Of course usually I’d never do something like that (and my Mum will worry about me) but my gut feeling told me it was safe.
6. You learn to have faith. You never really know what’s going to happen. Every day. We’re all improvising. But as someone once said “it’ll be alright in the end. And if it’s not alright, it’s not yet the end”
7. You make a vague plan but may or may not stick to it. Who knows what you’ll come across on adventure. I planned to camp out one night. I chose a spot, made a campfire, but the wood burned too quickly. If I stayed out there I would freeze, or wouldn’t sleep because I’d be spending all night gathering wood.
It was 1.30am and the only open place I could find was this painfully expensive 4 star hotel. But you have to adapt.
8. You appreciate what comes your way. You take nothing for granted when you’re on the road. Food. Lodging. Warmth. Water. In normal day-to-day life we can all just nip to the shops. But when you’re in the middle of some field, you can’t. When you get back to civilisation you appreciate all the perks.
9. You’re free to play. Nobody’s watching. If you want to talk to yourself for 2 hours that’s fine. If you want to pick your nose that’s fine. If you want to wee in a field – that’s fine too. You can make your own entertainment. So I made my own little property show.
This adventure was just what the doctor ordered.
If you need to clear your mind. Get outside. Stay outside. And go somewhere distant on foot, alone. If you’re looking for inspiration I’d recommend reading Microadventures