Expect the unexpected

By Lisa Marshall | Director Wild Women On Top

Adventure is about the UNEXPECTED……after all it’s not called the wild just for fun.

The wilderness is wonderful but as all us trekkers have learnt, it is unpredictable, random and impulsive. It does not follow any schedule, itinerary or plan and definitely does not always conform to our expectations. 

Just like a teenager, the wild is moody, weather changes from brilliant sun to frightening storms in seconds. It’s unpredictable – serene stillness is forgotten as wild winds unsettle and send us heading straight for shelter. Because of this, expect the unexpected! 

Your itinerary is not a concrete plan, consider it a rough draft. Be prepared for routes to be altered, distance to be stretched and weather patterns to change the course of your day. If you are prepared for change, you avoid potential disappointment and worry … after all… change means adventure, so approach it with this mindset and your trip will take a turn for the better! 

Your ability to adapt to changing situations, extremes in weather, changes to the itinerary and variations in the pace of your team will ultimately influence how you experience this adventure and what you take away from it. Remember all your Trek Training and personal preparation stands you in good stead to take on this challenge but more importantly it is what happens in your head that determines what you come away with, what stories you tell your friends and family and whether you enjoy this once in a life time adventure. 

It is importable to recognize the remarkable ability of the wilderness to infect our emotions with its wildness. You will experience emotions on a grand scale – absolute satisfaction and happiness suddenly obscured under the stress and tiredness from last nights interrupted sleep. When we say adventure makes you young… you may just find yourself riding the same emotional roller coaster you experienced as a teenager. Being emotionally sensitive to others and providing support to your team mates will ensure you take away magic memories and lifelong friends. 

Part of this emotional rollercoaster for many is an uncomfortable feeling of being out of control. When you first hop on, the pace of the ride and state of the emotions of those around you seem tame and within your comfort zone. However, as the trek proceeds, pace can accelerates and wrap you around unexpected corners and plunge you in to unforeseen dips, as you realize that events are no longer in your hands. Whilst this lack of control can scare us, it’s this UNKNOWN element of nature that draws us to it!

Be open to change. Be excited by what you don’t know and have faith that your guide will turn any change into an adventure. Behind every mountain is unseen beauty and along every trail is a new challenge, so be excited and ready to harness the unexpected with an adventurous and open mind.

The gifts you stand to receive from taking on this adventure, are many: being intimate with nature, experiencing the privilege of walking in the wilderness and taking in the natural beauty around you, sharing magic moments with your team, precious time to reflect away from technology and the distractions of modern life. Out in the natural environment, friendships are deeper, the sunshine seems warmer, colors more intense and the strength of the human spirit can shine.

Your Assessment Walk prior to this trip is the opportunity to train for a mini goal, get used to your gear, meet your team mates, ensure your preparation is on track and address any concerns or adapt your training where required. No assessment is foolproof, nor can it take in to account the many varied factors of every wilderness environment you may visit on your adventure. Don’t be afraid, the spirit and drive of our wild teams are contagious and together any mountain, change or route alteration is conquerable. 

Yes, there are certainly risks involved in adventuring in the wild. But what I have learnt from my life of exploration, training and adventure is that there is greater risk in the human mind. Our tendency to bar ourselves from opportunities because of feelings of inadequacy or lack of confidence can be detrimental – preventing us from hopping on the rollercoaster and getting off a free-spirited adventurer! 

Begin and believe. 

That’s the first step. Your preparation and the wonderful women who accompany you, will help dissolve your worries. Think of the team, bringing positive energy and a willingness to adapt are precious gifts you can give yourself and your team to contribute to a wonderful adventure together. 

My last words are to enjoy. Your pack weight requirements don’t include stress and concerns so let your guide carry those for you! 

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