How to Start?
Don’t worry about the starting point.
Don’t think about all the things that could go wrong.
What prevents people from going out on a trip or any kind of adventure is:
They don’t feel ready.
Let me tell you a secret: You are NEVER going to feel fully ready
You can find a million reasons you’re not ready…
…to stall, to delay, not go, to choose something easy, something safe, something common, something more popular.
You can sit there and tell yourself: I’m not in good enough shape!
I’m too old.
I’m too young.
I’m here to tell you that you ARE ready.
First time I rolled out for a solo in the woods I had no quilts to keep me warm – needless to say, I froze all night.
I had barely any directions of how to get to the woods, all I knew was they were south of town.
I was cycling and brought no spare tubes.
Brought barely any food, ate one meal a day.
…and it was a great trip.
Because it got me out there to do something new.
I needed to get out of town for a little while and clear my head.
Whatever discomforts occurred were secondary.
It was meditative to be out in the woods for a few days.
And I would do it again anytime.
You live and you learn.
You just have to take the first step – which is the step out of your door
Here is a trick motivational guru’s use in their work, and it goes something like this:
Do something for 5 minutes.
That’s it, just five minutes.
What usually happens, is once you begin, and get over that initial hesitation, you can continue on, easier.
It’s the same story with exercise.
Once you start running, you can continue with less resistance.
If you’re taking a cold shower, only about the first 30 second(tops) are uncomfortable, after that, it feels great.
So get through that initial resistance.
People try to avoid making mistakes at all costs.
By looking up stuff online.
By reading books.
Books are an amazing tool, if you apply what you read.
It’s great to learn something; however, without applying it, it is worthless.
I read all kinds of ways to build a fire in the woods.
Then when I was actually out there, and it was getting darker by the minute, sitting there with my pile of kindling, trying to spark it with a ferro rod…
…and nothing happening at all.
All that stuff I read was pointless.
Now I bring lighter fluid, and wet-fire cubes.
There is no way around it.
You’ll make mistakes.
If you are new to anything you will make mistakes. That’s inevitable. That’s not an excuse for never trying though.
Making a mistake is OK
Making the same mistake over and over is dumb.
After I near froze to death, I invested I some down quilts.
Other things came along later…
Things like insect repellent, spare tubes, better food, better fire starters, better headlamps…
Point is, you go out, experience a discomfort, and fix it next time.
Eventually you’ll have what I call a smooth sailing experiences, where the stars seem to align for you and everything goes seamlessly, whether it be a backpacking trip, camping out, a night-time buildering mission, exploring a tunnel, or going out for a run.
But know you’ll screw up, forgive yourself, and go do what you want to.
Lone Wolf or Wolf Pack
Another question that comes up for breaking new ground it:
Should I go it alone? With a buddy? With a Group?
It doesn’t really matter.
I use my time out as a meditation, and prefer to go out alone.
All my best progress has come when there were no outside motivators.
I did notice, however, the larger your group, the more confident you feel.
If you are exploring a new tunnel alone, and you hear something you can’t explain, it’s far more scary than if you have a group of six people.
I would recommend you go with one other person. Find someone with some common sense.
Remember: A group is only as quiet as it’s loudest member. Only as fast as its slowest member.
Imagine you are exploring an abandoned building, and you must climb up a pipe to get to the next floor.
You climb up, your buddy climbs up, however the third person in the group can’t.
What to do? Leave them sitting there? Not go further?
It creates more variables, which means more complexity to get you and your team through the experience.
One is simple.
Two is OK.
Another thing with groups is you have to arrange the time for everyone to meet, which get more difficult, the larger the group. That makes it too easy to cancel doing something altogether.
Unless you are REALLY sketched out, just go it alone.
Another thing that stops people: I don’t have the EXPERIENCE. The most experience people in the world were at one point clueless.
Everyone starts at zero with something new.
How you get experience is you have to go out and get experience.
Where you are now is like a platform. Like a launch pad for a shuttle. You are there and you can remain there forever.
It is baseline.
What happens when you first take off is it’s a struggle, real slow grind at first.
Notice how slowly a shuttle taking off moves at first.
It rattles, there are flames everywhere and it barely inches upward.
Then is begin picking up speed.
Turbulence rattles the craft, however the drive persists.
You are out of the atmosphere and in orbit.
Floating by easily, yet moving much faster than before.
That is smooth sailing.
It just doesn’t happen right away.
You have to take that first trip. Do that first climb. Duck into that first tunnel.
Do something you don’t think you are ready for. Don’t overthink it.
You will have time to think on the road.
You will have to think and problem-solve later.
In order to solve whatever situations come up.
Just Pack up and roll out.
For a Day trip.
Or a quick overnight in the woods.
Or a week away.
Or leave forever and never return.
P.S. If you are going somewhere away from civilization, buy a PBL(personal locator beacon). These are satcom distress beacons that have a hell of a better chance working that your cellphone.
People rely on their cellphone and it fails. Battery dies. No signal. Even rolling an ankle, or getting a cold when you are alone can be deadly. Invest in one.
P.P.S. If it has rained recently and all the wood is wet… Well I hope you have something strong to start up a fire.