Warm, dry & fed
I often talk about and try to live by these words when I’m out on adventures, great and small.
In theory, there are three basic pillars that make everything so much more fun and relaxed. Still, it’s so hard to maintain balance and achieve all three of them at all times. If you’re aware that you “fail” one of them for a while but you have the knowledge, the gear and the mindset to fix it later and it’s worth it, then do it. In that case you are aware of it and have made a choice. If it just happened, I would say that you ignored or missed the signs. Harsh? Absolutely, but true! During summer the price is pretty symbolic, but when it’s colder outside, perhaps far below zero, it’s more important as it will affect you much more.
Warm. What is warm? In general, for you and for the group? If you’re cold and hungry are the others the same? Accept that all will get cold, hungry and wet at some point during the trip. Accept help when given and give when needed and don’t think more about it than this.
Tired, wet and happy you’ve done it. Reaching the destination a little earlier than expected, or arriving a little late still doing well in all three. What is the cost and what is the difference between the two? The last day most people just finish, how come? Being out in the elements for a week, longing home for the loved ones, for a bed, sure! But is there more to it?
Like everything else it’s never perfect and it will never be. Aim for a little less, always do your best but think progress, not perfection. Every time you expose yourself you will learn things and feel things if you listen.
Are you wet because of sweat, because you did the dishes, or walked in wet grass doing the evening routine? Could you do it differently? Does it really matter? Today perhaps, but next time? For me it’s important not to talk about right or wrong but rather about what you feel.
The colder it gets, the more important it is to pay attention to the details. Why? It’s a big difference if you’re damp or actually wet, the fabric in your clothes, your day in general and how you handle everything. Think of it like LEGO. It’s more stable if all of the pieces are in place and you can often have one or two misplaced before it quickly falls apart.
Read, practice, explore, be inspired by others but do the things that work for you. With time it will change, everything does. Be humble. Treasure feelings and act accordingly.
If you’re not wet, if you’re not cold but still turning into a diva or stumble as you walk, simply eat. Don’t look for the perfect place up ahead. Eat now and eat at the perfect hilltop you’ve seen at a distance. Don’t rough it. Too often we get there to see another great hill or field up ahead and we go for that one instead and so on. It often continues for a while and then we’re also risking getting injured because we’re low on fuel. In the end we dreamed about this adventure, planned for it and now we’re there, doing it but not taking it all in. Roughing it, and to what cost?
Because weather has nothing to do with happiness. It’s a state of mind.