So what exactly does hike your own hike mean anyway?
We’ve already been unknowingly chatting about this in the last two episodes when we talk about loving to hike solo – that can be a way that you hike your own hike, or hiking with a partner or spouse, that can be how you want to hike your own hike.
But it branches out to so much more than that and can touch on things like maybe you only eat cold soak meals and don’t carry a stove, maybe you hike barefoot, maybe you hike killer long mile days, maybe you only hike short days, maybe you like to cowboy camp as much as possible, maybe you pack ultralight, maybe you pack lots of luxuries and creature comforts, maybe you like to have every tiny detail of your trip planned out (like me) or maybe you like to fly by the seat of your pants because that is how you want to hike.
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Listen to The Hiking Lifestyle Episode 3: What Hike Your Own Hike Means For Backpackers
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While this may sound kind of simplistic – because it is – I bring this up because over the years, especially with the explosion of hikers on social media, the phrase ‘hike your own hike’ has started to get this really negative, judgmental twang to it that I hate. And I want to reclaim this phrase and take it back on behalf of those who are inherently good people.
Here’s what I mean, Originally hike your own hike stemmed from the idea that a long-distance hike or backpacking trip is this transformative, empowering personal journey filled with self-realization and growth, and of course, in that respect, every single person’s journey will be different.
They learn different lessons along the way, they have different experiences, they interact with different groups of people or maybe no people at all.
Every backpacking trip and especially every long-distance hike will be utterly completely unique to you – you will hike your own hike, like it or not
Even if I hike the exact same trail as you – we will have profoundly different experiences, which is what makes long-distance hiking so freaking amazing.
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Like I said before I’ve noticed this trend, especially among those hiding behind their screens and keyboards on social media who have started to use the term hike your own hike as an insult to anyone else who is hiking or packing or traveling differently than they are.
So it’s like when a brand new hiker or brand new backpacker comes on the scene and asks a question, then the trolls come in and say, “Well yeah you can do it that way, that’s the dumbest way to do it but whatever, hike your own hike.”
When instead, we should be asking with genuine curiosity – why do you want to do it that way? For example – Why do you want to carry a 60 lb pack?
And then if that person says because they really want all their creature comforts because they like to hike short days and spend a lot of time hanging out at the campsite – if that’s the case then more power to you, you hike your own hike and live it up out there.
Do you see how that energy is different?
Do you see how saying, “Hell yeah! – Hike your own hike man!” is more empowering than, “Whatever, I guess we all hike our own hike, weirdo.”
Something I fell in love with on my own long-distance hike was how ridiculously supportive the trail community and my trail family was.
If you ever end up backpacking in a bubble or in a group of other long-distance hikers, there is an almost instant bond there – you’re in it together and you’re all invested in each other’s success and safety.
So to see these trolls trying to use the term hike your own hike to mean ‘to each their own’ in such a negative way makes me wanna slap somebody. Sorry, not sorry.
When I say let’s reclaim the term hike your own hike – it is up to us, it is up to you to empower other hikers around you, and to spread positivity and support in the backpacking community.
That’s my challenge for you today.
If this podcast resonated with you even a little bit, please leave me a review wherever you tune in to podcasts, it would mean the world to me and it helps other hikers like you, find us and join in.
Don’t forget, if you are new to backpacking head on over to the Savvy Backpacking Skills course and register today to become a more confident (and competent!) backpacker.
Until next time, happy hiking!