The adventure starts with the first step. Whether it’s wandering a new city, getting out into the wilderness, or simply driving the back roads to a new place, it starts with the first step. You walk to your vehicle or step foot outside your front door and the adventure is all around you. There is so much to explore and do you simply have to see it.
Some get wrapped up in analysis paralysis. What are the best shoes? what pack do I need? What’s the best app? How do I track myself? So on, and so forth, that they forget the most important part. Getting out there! This holds true for so many other ventures in life such as business, school, work, life skills, etc. Most of the time these questions are answered with 80% first hand experience and 20% research. You can do all the research in the world, but until you actually try something you don’t know if it will work for you. So what do you do?
Start cheap if you’re not sure. Buy economy equipment from Walmart or Amazon and just start doing it. Somewhere along the way you’re going to figure out if you actually like what you’re doing and then you can start to invest more time and money into it. Start thinking about the equipment you have and see what you like about it (and what you don’t) and start researching gear that will fill the voids. whether your needs are function (or fashion) there is something out there for you. Get out there and start doing what you want. For me, it was hiking and backpacking.
Hiking and backpacking are two things that I really like to do. I like the scenery and the peace it brings me. It gives me time to think about things that I want to accomplish in life and it’s great exercise ( I hate working out). I started with a mix of mostly cheap gear. I bought a modest tent, an affordable sleeping bag, a pack from REI, and a sleeping pad from Walmart, but it wasn’t until 2 years later that I would spend my first actual night in the woods.
I used to take all my gear and go day hiking on the AT (Appalachian Trail) when I lived in Virginia, but was never brave enough to actually spend a single night out there. I wasn’t confident in myself or my skills yet so I Just walked. As I did more research I became more confident and then my first night in the woods was on a trip to the Adirondack Mountain’s High Peaks Region. I ended up doing an 18 mile loop on the John’s Brook Lodge Trail and just started doing it.
Going from not hiking more than 5 miles in the woods to backpacking 18 miles and being able to summit 3 high peaks was great. I had no idea what I was doing and even asked questions while I was out on the trail (They were very helpful). I got through it just fine and made it back to town to enjoy a huge feast, and from there I wanted more. Now I’m out to go on as many trips as I can both large and small while testing out more gear and dialing in what works for me.
A couple goals of mine are to summit all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks, hike the entire Appalachian Trail, and get my base pack weight as light as I can (Currently at 17.45 lbs!!), but I can’t do any of these unless I get out there and start doing it. So get out there, test out some gear, talk to some people, start embedding yourself in the communities of the activities you wish to get into. You won’t be sorry. You’ll be a happier person which will produce a better version of yourself both physically and mentally.