Six Backpacking Lessons you can apply everyday – Part 3

Posted: March 2, 2012 by None Smith in English
Tags: , , , ,

Summit of Mount Lafayette, NH

Previously, I talked about the need to really watch where you going and also the need to pay close attention to the weather and also about the need for good footwear and preparation. Here are the last couple of points I learned from backpacking that have helped me in everyday matters.

To plan or not to plan?

I usually err on the side of a basic plan, but that’s how my brain works. It’s Saturday and you have to run a bunch of errands. You have to go to the bank, the pharmacy, grab a book from the library, and do your laundry. Do you make a small plan, and know approximately how long each location will take you? Find out how far each location is from the other. Perhaps putting your laundry in and then heading out of the house will save you time than doing your laundry when you get home. Plans can help you accomplish more in a smaller period of time. When completed successfully, plans can also leave you feeling more confident and accomplished during the day.

Not everyone plans, though. I sometimes glamorize those of my friends that don’t ever plan and seem to trust their instincts that “everything will work out”. Perhaps they have some gene that all the rest of us lack. Either way, lack of planning isn’t for everyone – but a degree of flexibility is instrumental. Those that wing it have a ton of flexibility in getting things done – that road closure, the store being closed or other delays don’t phase them too much. Yet, with an extremely rigid plan with specific timetables; that road detour could be disastrous to getting things done and your morale for the day.

My philosophy is to plan as best you can with flexibility intertwined into the plan. You’ll need about 20 minutes at store? Add an extra 50% for any delays. And if all your running around is planning on taking you 2 hours and you get back home in half the time – the reward is twice as sweet!

Knowledge is Confidence

With all the things I’ve mentioned above, there is a certain theme that runs through them all. Awareness. A heightened awareness regarding your surroundings, your plans, routes, knowledge of weather, possible delays, and ultimately, a better understanding of yourself and what you’re capable of. When we make realistic, achievable plans, we get that much closer to our larger, seemingly impossible goals. As our knowledge increases, so does our understanding of the world. The old adage is “knowledge is power” – but if there is one thing I learned from nature it’s that we are powerless. Nature can strike us down at any moment if it wishes. I’d rather use “knowledge is confidence”. With more knowledge we can be more confident in our endeavors and with that confidence we can change plans on the spot, reevaluate the situation and make a more informed, strategic decision to reach our goals. With knowledge and confidence we can push ourselves and be prepared for any situation.

I hope to use all these strategies on our around the world trek and I can only imagine we’ll learn many more along the way. In the mean time, as we plan for our departure in 2014 we always look to our community of supporters for tips, tricks, help and thoughts on what we can do to make our journey more smooth.

Lastly, a quote. Accomplishing this journey will take a lot of willpower. An influence for me was a man I met while working for Apple, Inc. in Boston who continually pushed people to be their best and inspire themselves and others around them. As Dan Adams from Athletic Capital says: “Be your own hero.” We can do this everyday of our lives if we only choose to.

  1. sqirg says:

    As you touched upon, some amount of planning is good. You need a certain amount of structure, but you also want to leave some room for spontaneity.

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