I am often asked why I like hiking so much. People say, "why would you ever wonder around in the wilderness, with a huge pack on your back, dirty, and sleeping in the cold?"
I know I'm a weirdo....but that's why you love me, right? LOL
I wrote this post as a sort of intro to what it means to me to be a "soul rooted adventurer," giving you some insight into my mad obsession for mindful hiking and why I really cannot live without it. Maybe, this post will change your opinion of me as a crazy ass (at least when it comes to hiking that is). But hopefully, above all, this post inspires some of you out there that are struggling with issues of self-esteem or anxiety that there are a lot of tools out there to help, for me mindful hiking is one of them.
1. HIKING RE-AWAKENS MY SOUL AND REMINDS ME OF WHAT A BADASS I AM
There is no greater feeling than reaching the top of a mountain on your own two feet and with all you need in life on your back.
As a single female I am constantly reminded of the things I cannot do. Pig headed politicians, discrimination at work, judgement based on the way I look or speak, and let's not even get into the crazy double standard when it comes to dating.
But, I will admit, it is not just society that projects limits on me, sometimes I do it to myself. For instance, when I was with my boyfriend, there were things he did and things I did. I cooked dinner, he took out the trash; I bought the groceries and he paid the bills; I cleaned the house and he worked. It was an unspoken assignment of chores, that's just how society taught us.
When we went camping he always built the fire while I unpacked the tent and started making dinner. It was our routine. So when we broke up, even though I had been camping hundreds of times, I had no clue how to make a fire. Well, I quickly taught myself how to make a fire.
Now, not only do I make my own fire, but I camp in the backcountry by myself.
Ever since I started exploring outside I'm no longer scared of the things that go bump in the night or being by myself, because I know I am capable of handling anything that comes my way. As one of my very close friends told me one day, "you are the fire!" (Thanks Kalia) And she is totally right....
I Am Fire.
I've navigated the wilderness based on my own skills, choices, and sweat equity.
I have overcome my limiting beliefs and fears in the backcountry under my own merit.
I know I can survive on my own.
I know I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to,
I am a soul rooted adventurer, and
I know I'm a badass.
2. BEING ACTIVE IN NATURE ROOTS ME IN THE PRESENT MOMENT AND CLEARS MY MIND
A few years ago, I lived in a constant struggle of anxiety and worry. Waking up in the morning and facing the day was a struggle, I would lay in bed, my palms would start sweating and my heart would start racing just thinking about getting up and out of bed. It wasn't so much that my life sucked, I was just weighed down and overwhelmed by all the responsibility I had placed on my shoulders. Grad school was harder than I thought (and frankly kicking my ass), a failing 10 year relationship was weighing hard on my heart, money was low and housing was difficult, it was all adding up. I had an overwhelming feeling that something was going to go wrong, a looming disaster was always in the back of my mind.
Then shit hit the fan, that looming disaster that I was obsessing over finally fell down all around me (or what I thought was a disaster at the time). I stopped sleeping, my heart was constantly racing, the life I was struggling so hard to maintain was falling apart in front of my eyes.
One early morning, laying in bed, wide awake, heart pounding, I decided to get outside and get some exercise. My thought process was I would wear myself out, then I would finally be able to sleep.
That one run outside changed my whole perspective. Finally getting the opportunity to unplug and just be with my thoughts, my anxiety, my fears, was so powerful. I was able to finally live in the moment, not worry about the future or the past, and just be. I was able run with my anxiety, instead of fighting against it.
Living in the moment on that mindful run, I started to experience my higher self, remember my true nature, and feel deeply alive again.
I realized, it was time to stop living in anxiety and fear. It was time to pick up the pieces and move on.
Being mindful, or soulful, in my hiking adventures gives me to opportunity to reset, refocus, and reclaim who I really am.
3. ADVENTURE INSPIRES THE SPIRIT
I don't just adventure to see beautiful things, adventures pushes your limits, it takes you out of your comfort zone, and it's such a rush.
Above is a picture of me cliff jumping, if you follow me on any social media platform, you know that I like to jump off stuff. Well actually, "like" is a strong word because in reality I am deadly scared of heights. So you may ask, why are you always jumping off stuff into unknown pools of water where anything could be lurking to eat you???
Because I believe in living in the spaces in between.
The space in between perception and reality.
The space in between fear and just going for it.
The space in between the mundane and actually living!
Adventure inspires me to find those spaces and challenge myself. Often we under-estimate ourselves, we are blind to what we are actually capable of. Nature often presents me with challenges, taking on these challenges (within reason) has made me such a stronger women today. So next time you are staring down that mountain, or peering off that cliff, I challenge you to go for it, you often do not realize how strong you actually are.
Being out in nature give you a pretty cool excuse to hang out with your friends.
not gonna lie, hiking makes you look pretty cool on Instagram.