An expedition can be a great experience to find yourself, spend time with friends, and get some fresh air. Some things are out of our control which can make it feel like a chore, but there are many things we can do to keep us going! Here are my top 10.
1. Have a fun project. For one of my hikes, we recreated Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We had so much fun making our costumes and then finding locations to film in. The hiking was almost second priority after having fun in old ruins and bridges. You can watch the finished video here!
2. Make sure you can be waterproof. Nothing gets you down quite like being drenched through on day one and knowing you have days left of feeling like that. It doesn’t cost much to make sure everything is waterproofed before you head out. I once got dressed and stood in the shower to double check it didn’t need more Nikwax (other brands are available!).
3. Sing songs. Whether it's '100 Green Bottles' just to get you through long stretches, or making up new songs with your team, it really helps lift your spirits. We once reworded ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ from Mulan to make it a hiking song!
4. Make sure the team gets along. It may sound silly but making sure you can work as a team before going for a four-day hike is invaluable. This can be as easy as having an evening where you all play Snap and have a chat.
5. Plan your days carefully. I always make sure the first day is the hardest and gets easier towards the end. That way you can get to the end of day one and think, “at least tomorrow will be easier.”
6. Plan time to relax. Scheduling in social time is very important. This can be an extended lunch break, or perhaps making sure you get to the camping spot early enough to just chill a bit at the end of the day.
7. Don’t cram into the smallest tent. Tents are very lightweight now, and making sure you have room to change without elbowing someone else's eye is always appreciated. Obviously don’t take an eight man tent for four of you, but make sure you are comfortable.
8. Don’t be shy about needing to pee and poo 💩. Some people have made themselves very miserable trying to hold it in on long expeditions, but they forget - it's natural! And you should have toilet roll and a shovel for such instances. This goes back to being on good terms with your team. We have only ever taken one trowel, and by the end we all knew each other's patterns!
9. Eat plenty. This is no time for worrying about your 'summer body'. Make sure you pack lots of snacks that you love. For me, it is peanut M&Ms (other brands are also available) - they make me very happy. You are out exercising anyway, so you deserve whatever goodies you fancy!
10. Know your route. I am a control freak and even though other people had turns in navigating, I had to make sure I looked over the maps and route cards the night before. It makes me much more relaxed whilst hiking, knowing that once we get over this hill we can stop for lunch.
The bottom line is make sure you are having fun. It is your expedition that you are doing. So make it your own!
Some photos from the Monty Python Hike: