Traveling as a backpacker is just as much a mental endeavor as it is physical. For many backpackers, the hardest part about backpacking is the mental game.
As backpackers – believing your tools, physicals and skills the specific traveling spots are the factors that would make the biggest difference. You then have the chance to log many thousands of miles, and gain lot of experience and wisdom on the trail.
It is true that your backpacking tools are invaluable, but it is not going to take you the rest of a multi-month trip without mastering your mental skills in order to survive even the most challenging circumstances.
You need to identify what is absolutely essential on the trail, and what luxury items you can live without. If you are planning on going backpacking, cultivating that mindset will be immensely beneficial before trying to squeeze in a tiny, ultralight pack.
If that sounds like you, then you may want to think about training your mind to go on as backpackers as you can train mental toughness both on and off the trail.
In fact, everyone can benefit from mental toughness, from the casual day-traveler to a backpacker heading into long-distance trails. It truly cannot be overstated how important it is to mentally prepare yourself for adventures. Many backpackers are aware of how important it is to train physically prior to undertaking an epic adventure, but very few are focused on improving their mental skills.
Mental training begins with an expectation that things are not going to go perfectly during the trek. The more prepared you are – mentally as well as physically, the more you will enjoy the whole process.
Backpackers jump into the deep end and simply take the plunge, and so should you. Next time you mess up slightly when you are traveling, simply continue on without breaking focus. Backpackers push themselves, but they also have the ability to take days off if needed, and so should you. While having a good level of fitness lowers the chance of injuries and may make an experience more pleasant, the backpacker always has the ability to slow down or cut back on miles in order to mitigate the physical demands.
Maintaining a high level of energy and efficiency when traveling requires a healthy dose of stamina thus when trying to adopt this new mindset, it is important to determine wants versus needs.
Do not stress if you end up doing less on some days and more on others; assuming you have set a goal of where you want to end each month, you will make it through the trips alive and successful. Now that you have determined the type of trail you want to do, it is useful to keep in mind a solid target weight. If you are really struggling with your thoughts, you might want to establish smaller goals as well.
You cannot recreate the whole experience of backpacking back home, but you can put the essential pieces together in preparation for the bigger journey. While you are probably going to get some amazing views and other scenic highlights, it is important to remember the spectrum of experiences and emotions that you are signing up for when embarking on a long-distance adventure. At one end of the spectrum, you will have days when everything feels just right: Your body feels strong, you meet new friends, and you find your strength while traveling intro incredible scenery.
Preparing your mind to tackle long-distance backpacking trips before setting foot on a trail goes a long way in helping you push past obstacles and succeed in achieving your backpacking goals. Asking questions, making lists, and adopting the light-hiking mentality are a great way to get started in the backpacking world.