GO outside GROW inside

This is why I paddle (camp, hike): The experience of it all


Experience. It's why we paddle (camp, hike...). I'm not talking about 'being experienced' or 'getting experience' by logging hours or counting kilometers. I'm talking about heading out into nature for that connection felt as you draw your paddle through the water, as you take refuge in your shelter for the evening, or as you explore new and unfamiliar territory. This connection is both with ourselves and our surroundings - the water, the landscape, the natural elements. It is for this experience that we paddle (camp, hike).

Experiences can (and will)
- elevate you
- ask you to expand
- test your patience
- bring you clarity
- keep you honest
- soak your gear ;)
- expose your weaknesses
- inspire you
- give you strength
- show you beauty

Experiences can be surprising and unpredictable. You can't pack a bag for them like you can pack your gear because you never know when and how they will greet you. They are important and shape our characters yet we don't always give them the attention that they deserve. We are very good at getting caught up with the logistics and the on the surface details - the bugs were bad, the hike was long, we found a nice picnic spot, my tent had a leak, the fish were huge, etc... While these details certainly have value it is not as often that we tell the beautiful and powerful tales of our experiences. Why is this? Maybe we feel that our experiences weren't profound (they don't all have to hit you in the chest) or perhaps we just weren't open to searching for them. They could have left their mark on you without you even realizing. 

Every time we head out into nature we are connecting and experiencing. Imagine how much more meaningful our trips would become if we had an increased awareness of how we connected with ourselves and the land, or if we paid close attention to any slivers of insight which revealed themselves to us. How powerful would it be to come away from a journey clearly seeing the knowledge that we gained and knowing that this experience can never be completely repeated. If we can do these things we can have a deeper appreciation for our experiences, what they ask of us and what they give to us.  

To have an experience - this is why I paddle (camp, hike).