Mental Parallels of Journeying in the Wild and the Creative World

I unfolded my camping stove and screwed it on top of the propane can on a flat rock. I watched others cook with their Jetboil. I held on to my small pot to keep it from toppling over as the water heated up. The stove was unsteady, lightweight and just perfect for me to carry on a trip. Ramen and egg was my dinner. It wasn’t the healthiest, but after hiking 10 miles on what felt like forever, I wanted something easy before I called it a night.

There’s something nostalgic and cozy about snuggling inside a sleeping bag, even if I’m sleeping on a hard surface. Or waking up early in the morning to pack up my tent while my eyes are still half-closed and fingers numb from cold air. It feels like a drag but an accomplishment in the end. Just these small basic things to do during camping makes me reset my mind into thinking “anything is possible,” especially after getting back to the car, changing into fresh clothes. I’d feel like I accomplished something and feel unstoppable at my next quest. That can translate into wanting to delve into my creative projects and see it through. I’m not sorry about being a slow hiker either. I don’t do it on purpose. I really just have a hard time hiking up especially with a 35-pound backpack. Whenever I’m on the trail, I always ask myself why I decided to leave the comfort of my bed, the convenience of urban life. I tend to dream about comfort but my habit is to push myself into discomfort. Sometimes it’s good. Other times it’s not right for my mental health.

The wilderness has taught me mental skills that I never had before. Such as, for example, pushing myself hard enough to reach my destination. And also knowing how to trust my gut and turn around. My experiences continue to teach me to gauge if my fear is getting the best of me or if I think I’ll be setting myself up for danger. I can’t help but see how those moments parallel with my journey as a person just trying to live each day. These moments also parallel my insecurities and struggles as a self-proclaimed creative person. I’m not the best at my craft, just like how I’m slow at hiking. But I keep doing it anyway. I go forward with each heavy step. Many times I take long breaks and wonder if I should continue. And yes, there’s always overanalyzing self-comparison.

It’s easy to say, “Don’t compare yourself.”

Comparing seems to come along when I do research for ideas or want to look at something pretty. I get curious, inspired, and envious. Then I try to find my way back with a pen in hand to write my thoughts down. The simple trick to make myself appreciate what I have is just that: writing down my gratitude. It goes the same way when I’m hiking, when I feel like I’m just not strong or fast enough to keep up with other people. So I say, “I’m thankful for…” and repeat. It all cleanses my mind.