You don’t have the ‘pack strapped on every day, but when you take it off after a big, multi-day hike, shit sticks with you! Backpacking builds beneficial qualities that can help you in everyday life, aka when you aren’t lugging around that extra 25 pounds.
1. First and foremost, you’re more thankful, especially for the little things. After a long trip, things like a hot shower and a non-freeze-dried meal seem like the GREATEST thing ever. And that’s because they really are… We just forget with the hustle and bustle of life. We forget, because our culture convinces us that luxuries like running water or being able to grab a delicious meal around the corner are “normal.” Backpacking gives us the ability to appreciate what is often taken for granted.
2. You value minimalism. It comes to no surprise that a backpacker knows the difference between a necessity and a desire. You are able to say “no” to that dress that looked really cute on you, but you have no where to wear it. Going away for a long weekend requires a duffel bag, not a suitcase. If you don’t absolutely need it for survival, you can’t find a reason to care for it.
3. Your judgement of what’s difficult or accomplishable is different than other people’s. Before I started hiking, I was a bit of a baby… (Ok, ok, sometimes I still am). If things got hard in life, I retreated. If a job seemed too demanding, I assumed I wasn’t cut out for it. With complicated projects, I predicted my failure before I even started. Now that I’ve done some pretty hard hikes, I know that if I can do that, then I can do whatever you’re throwing at me. I have a new understanding of my strength, both mentally and physically.
4. You’re ok with silence or doing absolutely nothing. When the day’s hike, setting up camp, and cooking dinner are all squared away, sometimes you just sit there. Doing nothing. And it’s nice. Many of us are brainwashed by this myth that if we aren’t busy, we aren’t living. Backpackers can appreciate the simple act of dropping everything and just sitting, enjoying the moment, and keeping busy with absolute nothingness… Some like to call it “meditation.”
5. You know there’s no such thing as “giving up.” You can’t really give up while you are 20 miles into a hike and it starts to get TOUGH. This mentality transfers to the real world… When shit hits the fan, you just think about a mountain you climbed and you’re like “Yup. I got this.”
6. Your confidence grows exponentially. Personally, nothing has even made me feel the epitome of a “strong, powerful woman” like a hard hike. It really sheds a new light on the whole “your body is a temple” thing… Like our bodies are crazy, but crazy awesome, and it’s best to put them to use every once in awhile. Plus, the endorphins will have you feelin’ extra wonderful.
7. You have some pretty cool stories to share with friends, family, and co-workers. And a cool Instagram to boot. Let’s be honest, isn’t it fun to show off a little bit? 🙂
How has backpacking (or hiking) made you a better person in your day-to-day life or career?