I have been reading other people’s blogs and musing recently about what drives us to go into the great outdoors and what constitutes a good trip?
Is it the planning of the trip and the working out of gear lists that floats your boat, or is it the “getting away from it all” or perhaps the physical exercise and activity? Then there is the seeing of new places or conversely revisiting an “old friend”. Being on your own or going out with a group of friends? Everyone is different but I am interested as to what makes us go out, what makes up the majority of the enjoyment for us and also what might spoil that.
Personally, its a mixture. I am, sadly, one of those people who likes to pour over maps and visualise and plan a route to a high level of detail rather than just bimbling along with no real route in mind. Following on from this I do like making kit lists as well, based on weather forecasts and the time of the year. I will quite often pack and then repack several times according to the latest weather forecast in a very OCD way… I would like to think that I like being organised but in reality I am just probably anal. Other big drivers for me include being on my own and setting my own agenda. Maybe this is appealing purely for the fact that I have a regimented life (as do most people) and need to generate some chaos and unpredictability even if it is organised!
My sense of well being from being outside is also partly because of the beauty and starkness of the surroundings. Although I like summer days and nights out in the wilds there is also something primitive and satisfying about being out in a howling gale. Without realising it I sometimes find myself grinning insanely into the teeth of a bad storm. Dont get me wrong I dont like being wet and cold but sometimes a weather pounding is good for the soul. Another aspect for me is the self sufficiency that comes with being out in the wilds for any length of time. Sitting under your shelter, looking out towards a great view (and hopefully memorable sunrise/sunset) whilst cooking and eating your food is one of life’s greatest little pleasures.
I am not a summit bagger but can understand why people go for that. Neither am I a thrill seeker looking for challenging scrambles and climbs. I dont go for the biggest distances I possibly can although some days a good walking “workout” can be cathartic especially on wind-down from a hard week in work. I guess in summary for me its the opportunity to get away from my day to day stresses and reconnect with the outdoors, to wander and contemplate my existence and to smile upon all that I encounter. Its a lot of things and even bad experiences can be ultimately rewarding by keeping an open mind and open heart to what is on offer.
What about you?