Do you have a big walk? The Kokoda Track, the Appalachian Trail or Milford Sound… the whole Australian Alps Track from Walhalla to Namadgi. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never hiked in your life, I bet you’ve seen a documentary or an article and thought “Wow, that would be awesome to do some day.”
Or maybe you’re like my friend Leanne. When I told her I was going hiking in Tasmania over Easter, she laughed and looked at me like I was an alien. She only sleeps under five stars.
Whether your idea of a long walk is a day trip up Cradle Mountain or a two week trip on the Bibbulman track, I think you should pack your bag and go for it. It’s such a different form of travel, and such a different form of exercise. I could talk about resistance training and natural movement and health benefits. But for me the biggest benefits are only tangentially related to health. Here’s my reasons:
- There’s a special kind of joy in doing something significant and physical. Reaching the top of a mountain allows me to enjoy the strength of my body and my own abilities. You probably get the same thrill from a good bouldering session, or a perfect basketball swoosh. But when it takes you all day to get somewhere, it’s somehow sweeter and more lasting.
- You’re part of the landscape. I love 4WD trips and motor boats, but when you are on foot the only noise is your breathing. You don’t need a road. You’re much more intimately aware of your surroundings. I find a deeper connection with the land – a very tangible grounding. The further into the bush you go, the longer you are there, the stronger and more lasting this is.
- Movement as meditation. Something about movement unsticks your thoughts – I don’t know why, but it works. I get distance and new perspectives and weird connections when I’m walking. I solve the world’s problems and sometimes my own.
On that note, I’m off to Tasmania tomorrow morning, disturbingly early. I’m looking forward to some beautiful scenery, but I’m a little concerned about the cold (it could snow on us!). But mostly I’m excited to be out in the wilderness for three whole days, with amazing friends and my life in my pack.