long, slow tramping

“I read somewhere — and the person who wrote this was not a mountaineer but a sailor — that the sea’s only gifts are harsh blows and, occasionally, the chance to feel strong. Now, I don’t know much about the sea, but I do know that that’s the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head.”

Primo Levi, Bear Meat, 1961

Weekend tramps are OK but Day 1, ie, Friday, you are racing all day: to finish what you are doing in the real world, to get final preparations for your trip happening; to load the food; to get to the start of the track; to get to the first night’s accommodation before dark.

Day 2: adjusting to your new, more primitive, conditions and thinking of everything you need to do once you get out.

Day 3: outta there, back to the same old.

Even a weeklong trip suffers from similar limitations, you need a few days to unwind from that real world you occupy, with its blur of modern life, necessities and imperatives, and screen dependency.

A long trip allows the mind and body to recalibrate and work out what is important in life.

Strip away all those garnishings of life from the whacky, frenetic world you occupy, where life rushes past, always plenty to do, distractions everywhere, never an empty moment.

Getting some space, out there, gives life a rejuvenated perspective, see the world and yourself in a more essential way.

Finding what really matters.

Yeah, I think you need a bit of time for that.

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