I read this hiker’s blog today. She seems to be discounting her purpose, saying she doesn’t know why she’s hiking, and that’s OK.
To me, it’s a missed opportunity to avoid or discount anwering this important, formative question for a fulfilling walk.
Knowing – or inventing- a purpose for embarking on a journey can help a hiker make important choices about all five essential areas of planning as well as provide quick clarity when challenges arise during a hike.
Better to alter one’s stated purpose during a walk than to skip the enrichment of choosing one on which to build from the beginning.
When I decided to commit to planning my 2007 Appalachian Trail thruhike, two focusing statements arose: I wanted to finish the trail and I wanted to do something that really mattered to me, even though my husband didn’t want to do it with me.
Together, those purposes kept me on the planning path and on the trail once I began.
Deepening these motivations through the walk nourished an inner courage that fueled significant revision of my self confidence and my worldview. When I fulfilled my mission, I knew myself as a heartsinging walker, as a hiking partner, and as a wife who was willing to take a stand for herself in her marriage.
I didn’t know at the beginning that my hike would give me this expanded clarity. That experience grew from my foundational, if simple, purpose to finish the trail and honor my personal dream.
What purpose are you willing to claim for your walk?