To those who have never hike before, one may think that hiking is about going to a particular destination, for example: climbing up a particular mountain. When one experiences hiking first hand, you will soon realise that hiking is a journey, a process and often, an opportunity to discover, understand and learn more about yourself. They say that our attitude towards adversity shows us who we really are, and sometimes while hiking on a trail, you get caught in tricky situations showing your true character.
Here are some of my self-discovery while hiking:
1. My temperaments
When I was a kid, I had issues dealing with anger. I was very short-tempered and easily get angry; especially when things do not go my way. I kind of attribute this as being a frustrated little kid who does not know how to express myself then. As I matured and became more sensible, things improved and I can say that I am now doing a better job in controlling my anger. In fact, some friends’ feedback think that I have become quite a patient person. However, i realised that that is not always the case. At a recent overseas hiking trip, I found myself getting frustrated over a trivial issue of an uncomfortable hiking bag. The issue was such a small matter but I failed to look beyond that, which when I now look back, I find myself wasting 15 to 20 minutes of my life getting angry over a very trivial matter. Through hiking, I learned that I still need to continue working on my temperaments and not let complacency take over.
2. I am not one who is comfortable winging it
When it comes to hiking, you will be required to do some form of planning. You plan the transportation arrangement on how to get to the hiking location, the time to start hiking, how much water, food or equipment to carry on the hike etc. After doing planning for many trips, I observed that I am the one who absolutely prefers certainty and clarity. Therefore, before embarking on a trip, I will spend time researching on the hiking location to get as much hiking details as possible. I guess this is my style and preference on how I like to manage things. This is contrasting to others who prefer flexibility – sketching a rough itinerary and then adopt the “just go do it” and “see how things go” attitude, adjusting their plans accordingly to how the situation develops. Learning this, I realised that I am not one who is really good at “winging it” but I am trying to change this to be more flexible on my planning these days – especially when working with others for trip planning.
3. I will probably never hike alone
Being an introvert by nature, I like my personal space and alone time being with myself. It is necessary for me to think, reflect and recharge myself. Hence, initially when first started hiking, I always thought that I will like the idea of solo hiking – spending quiet time with yourself on the activity (hiking) you love most. The truth is, after more than 10 years since I started hiking, I have never completely done a solo hike before. I only realised this recently which surprised me a little. I try to figure out why and found two possible reasons why I have never hiked alone. First, I may actually like being around people while hiking. I somehow feel better connected with people I met on a trail as we share the same hiking interest. Second, and probably a more predominant reason, it could be because I often feel insecure whenever I am hiking alone. There is just this fear of mine that “if I am alone hiking something attacks me from the bushes, I will die alone and no one is around to help me”. Whatever the reasons maybe, I have discovered that I probably will never hike alone (if possible) in the foreseeable future.