Six Invaluable Life Lessons Hiking Will Teach You
Hiking — a Fulfilling Form of Travel
With miles of trail laid ahead and the promise of beautiful viewpoints, hiking is a great way to see the natural beauty of a destination. It’s a fulfilling form of travel and can show you a totally different world than the one you know from your last city trip.
You’ll also learn valuable life lessons from hiking, whether you’re hiking for the feeling of accomplishing a challenge, because you have a strong love for being outside, or because you want to push yourself outside your comfort zone.
The great outdoors can be a great teacher and can open your eyes to new insights on how to live a more fulfilling life. Here are six life lessons you can learn from hiking.
1. Self-Reliance Is the Key to Confidence
It’s such an empowering feeling to do a multi-day hike and carry everything you need on your back: shelter, food and water. When you’re able to go out and accomplish something for yourself, like finishing a trail, naturally your confidence in yourself and your abilities will grow.
You may even surprise yourself with what you can accomplish, whether it’s how many miles you hike in a day or the steep mountains you climb. Getting more practice with relying on yourself will give you the confidence to do more and more.
2. Find Happiness in Solitude
Many of us lead busy lives and don’t take sufficient time for ourselves, but it’s important to feel content with being alone. Life is much more pleasant when you can enjoy spending time not only with loved ones but also with yourself.
Even if you have a hiking partner, you end up spending a lot of time with your own thoughts on the trail. It’s healthy to get these peaceful moments and they can really teach you a lot about yourself. When I hike, I often spend a lot of time dreaming about food — how can you blame me for finding happiness in that?!
3. Stop and Smell the Roses
Being surrounded by stunning views on a hike gives you plenty of opportunities to stop and smell the roses (literally and figuratively) and really appreciate the beauty around you — something we often forget to do from day to day. It’s important to take moments to appreciate what’s around you in our bustling world and seek out happiness in the little things that surround us every day.
4. Put One Foot in Front of the Other
When you’re hiking you have to continue putting one foot in front of the other to make it to the finish line. One more step is always a step closer to the goal you set out to accomplish. Of course you’ll run into challenges, but you can overcome what life throws your way as long as you start with just putting one foot in front of the other.
I remember when I did my first long-distance hike; every step felt like a relief because I was one step closer to what I had been wanting to accomplish.
5. Look for Humor When Life Gives You Lemons
Whenever life throws you curve balls, sometimes it’s necessary to just laugh. Life can be cruel, and you can feel overwhelmed, but having a good laugh can allow you to let go of some of those negative emotions.
When I was hiking in Greenland, I remember wiping out on slippery rocks covered in mud with a hurt knee and tired body. I was cold, had mud all over my only pants, and just wanted to shower, lay down on a bed, and pig out on food. But I got up, brushed the dirt off me, and got back to hiking.
A few minutes later I laughed it off, and it turned into one of the funniest memories from that hike.
6. Experiences Are Better Than Material Possessions
When you’re out hiking, it’s the beautiful views and fun memories that will stick with you. In this day and age, it’s easy to get obsessed with the newest gadget or most fashionable clothing. But when we get old, we’ll remember the memorable experiences we’ve racked up, not the possessions we had over the years .
Maybe instead of buying Starbucks coffee on your way to work, you can start saving for your next hiking trip.
So take a walk on the wild side and get a real connection in nature whether you’re exploring your own neck of the woods or traveling to far-off destinations. And let the great outdoors be your teacher.
For more great advice on outdoor adventure, visit Kaylene at her blog: Cheers to Traveling.