The Makings of a Trip
By: Brandon Behymer
Dream, Plan, Live. It’s the motto, no recipe, of the place I’ve called home for the past 4 years. I follow it sometimes. I dream a lot, too much at times to be sure. I plan… somewhat. I live. Painfully, joyously, in search of the feelings and truth that most who live without intent will float by on their journey through life.
So why go? What’s the goal of traveling and spending money to live in the woods, paddle and camp on beaches, or spend countless hours on the saddle of a bike? For me it’s to see where the edges of the map are. The edges of my capabilities, which have been found on several occasions, and to expand the boundaries of the map, of the capabilities. For some it may be the same. Or it could be to enjoy time off work, find some peace and quiet in a beautiful locale, take pictures and post them on social media platforms to show everyone how insanely in tune with nature they are while exploring their ‘adventurous’ side. Unfortunately, that last reason is the same one that will earn a handful of tourists every year the Darwin Award for slipping over the edge of the Grand Canyon trying to get a selfie. So, find a reason to get outside and explore. If you dream of climbing mountains you probably can. If you want to ride a bike across the country, again, you probably can. Just remember the more audacious the dream the more time that must be invested in the planning. A trip to climb Denali starts with getting fit, saving money, learning to be cold and uncomfortable, and knowing that if you want to do it next year, you should’ve started a year ago.
Planning involves managing expectations. If you expect a trip to solve the contemptuous relationship with your place of employment and it doesn’t, it will just add to your overall unhappiness with your job. Same goes for relationship issues. You may find answers to your questions while on a trip, but they will come from within, only spurred on by the discomfort or profound beauty of the environment you’ve put yourself in. I could describe the dull parts of getting in shape for a trip, saving money, collecting supplies, but you already know what you need to do. Do it.
The cool part is trying to plan what experience you want to have. The question I typically ask myself is ‘how uncomfortable do I want to be?’ I understand this is unusual to many people. But it gets straight to the point. I plan to do, to be, to live. To do this I have to feel. Feel the cold and the heat, the fatigue of many miles’ and vertical meters underfoot, of not getting enough sleep. What good is planning to be comfortable in the woods? Will you carry your favorite pillow and fluffy down comforter to adorn the memory foam mattress in your pack? Absolutely not. You’re going to be uncomfortable. It’s integral to a trips’ value. This does not mean you have to be miserable in the woods or mountains though. If you’re willing to carry some weight and put in the miles you can go anywhere. From the car camping trips in Yosemite to the road-less expanses (for now) of the Brookes Range, the world is open.
In my opinion, the most important part of planning is not doing too much of it. Know where you want to go, know how you’re getting there, and know that you can eat and drink and pay for things. Over-planning often leads to under-doing. What do I mean by this? I mean that the type A people may be smarter and richer but damn do I have more fun. Don’t plan the fun out of a trip by over booking up front. Leave some room for extracurricular activities that couldn’t have been foreseen. A guy you met at the bar last night invited you to go skiing tomorrow? Do it! The weather forecast changed and now the climb you wanted to do turned into a day bumming around town? Meet people, make friends, see where the locals go when the weather turns. Woke up in a bathroom in Shanghai with a splitting headache, miss-matched shoes and a sweet new neck tat’? First of all lay off the shrooms, and secondly, you’re in Bangkok. Whoops.
Last and most importantly, LIVE. Do the thing. Be the thing. If you dream of living out of a backpack and plan to, it means nothing if you don’t get out there and experience the freedom your own feet can provide. Don’t just buy the gear, don’t just ask the experts. Go and do and come back with stories and lessons that are earned with sweat, terrible tan lines and sh*tting in the woods.
I would add a last word to the motto of the shop. That word is reflect. Every trip, even the bad ones, and there will be bad ones, will teach. A person can never go on the same trip twice. They will never be the same person they were before they went on the first trip, and the place has seen them before. The memories of past trips will be the tinder that fuels the dreams of future trips. Keep dreaming.