What kind of community is involved in a lifestyle of poetry, hiking and healing? This blog post is going to dive into the personality profile of hikers as well as trails and how the two work cohesively to create transformative life experiences. I’ve done a bit of research for this post and wanted to share some cool concepts with you here. I'm hoping that this will spark inspiration for you to realize how equipped you already are for hiking and how amazing it can be to pack your bags and clear the schedule for your own trip, taking a new course in life and your Self.
I am in currently in school to learn about therapeutic psychology, and while researching ecopsychology, a field devoted to studying the relationship between human wellbeing and nature, stumbled across this article that shared about a concept called backpacker personal development (BPD.) This research article showed me a scale that was developed to measure changes in a person's identity and worldview over the course of a hiking trip. The following categories that are shown to be influenced by hiking are- problem-solving and thinking skills, interpersonal/social skills, information literacy and management, learning, adaptability/flexibility and social and cultural awareness. You become more capable of responding to your environment and the changing demands that occur daily. Through dealing with those challenges you never thought you could overcome, you develop character and strength and oftentimes learn new ways to overcome your problems. Negative emotions are able to be processed and adjusted in a beautiful environment that has no distractions! Life becomes background noise and you get to be completely immersed in the vastness of the natural world. And while in a new environment, you meet people that change your life, too! You could meet a lover, a business partner, or just new friends! So, as you’re getting excited to go out, what should you think about when setting out for the first time?
Specifically, what qualities should you look for when out on trail that will help you access personal development? I learned about 3 concepts that explain how trail can be so healing. They're called coherence, soft fascination and compatibility.
When a hiker is on a coherent trail, instead of a disorganized, messy system, they can reach a state called flow because they are absorbed in their leisure and are not stressed to the point of being lost on a trail. When we drop our daily stresses and just focus on the joy of being alive in the wilderness, we reach a state of contentment. But always be prepared for weather events or unexpected emergencies! Hiking does take preparation and prior knowledge! Another quality is called soft fascination, and it’s the quality of being surrounded by mountain ranges and wildflowers, the wondrous environment adds to a sense of peace and wellbeing, appreciation for your surroundings and helps to change your worldview to care for those natural spaces, as well as appreciate your role as a caretaker and can help you form a healthy identity. Last aspect of being on trail is called compatibility and it’s a measure of how your knowledge and skillset prepare you to handle the treks. It is very healing to be faced with difficulties and realize you can actually triumph over them using yourself and your resources, it helps build confidence in your capabilities.
Allie and I have felt the expansive happiness of being in the gusts of wind, overlooking the mountain ranges we call home, and would love to be a part of helping more people feel that sense of belonging and aliveness. We’re working this week on gathering a marketing team together to spread the word of healing and hiking and we are excited to see how you take these messages of hope and confidence into your families and adventures.
Feel welcome to comment or drop us a line, we love to know about your transformative experiences and if you want to share pictures of your time on trail or lessons you’ve learned- we would be so excited to see that!
Enjoy being alive and exploring this planet!
(image is Abby and her departed sister, Anlya)