One of my favorite parts of backpacking is planning for the trip. Which may sound ridiculous to some people but not having a plan is the number one cause of stress. But planning can be fun! Let me tell you why.
I have proclaimed that the benefits of backpacking are things like “getting away”, “unwinding”, and other cliches relating to letting the mind relax. Meticulous planning does not seem to fit into any of those categories.
But for me it does. Being a super-type-A person, I love to have a plan. Having a plan enables me to relax. Not having a plan causes me stress. In fact, in comparison to my normal life, backpacking has relatively few components and is easy to plan for. While hiking, I have to sleep, eat, and walk – that’s it.
Being a super-type-A person, I also like to be in control. It would seem that, reliant upon the fickleness of mother nature, one would have little control on the trail. I actually have super-control over everything while I’m hiking. My entire world fits on my back while on the trail so it is relatively easy to control. All of the other stuff (rain, terrain, temperature) is 100% out of my control so it easy to accept and be zen about it.
This is my plan for my most recent backpacking trip. Making it was probably the most fun I had all summer aside from the hiking itself.
I always think about planning during this time of year. Starting a new semester of grad school, I am organizing my schedule, planning my recital, and beginning meetings with multiple student organizations. If hiking is the vacation of planning, the start of the semester is the Olympics. There are classes, rehearsals, meetings, lessons, and teaching that need to get planned. Not to mention the personal life things like exercising, sleeping, eating, socializing, and relaxing that need to get slotted in somewhere too.
Not having an effective plan is the number one cause of stress whether you are backpacking or living your normal life. Now is the time of the year to do the heavy lifting of planning: to organize your life…and I can’t wait!