I’ve always been a wanderer. As a kid I’d follow the bigger kids or adults into the woods and along babbling brooks in search of adventure. Some times we walked a short distance on well-beaten paths; other times, we bush-wacked our way deep into the forest where we set up tents and spent the night.
The more time I spent in the woods, the more I wanted to be in them. The older I got, the more I went off alone. By the time I was 16, I was wandering for hours alone in the forest. By the time I was 19, there were days I’d be gone eight hours. Just me. Sometimes a dog. Most times not. I took nothing with me, not even water, a compass or matches. I never feared the woods; it made me stronger, more independent.
Like everything in life, not everyone goes on adventures or into the woods eagerly. Sometimes they are asked and feel obligated to tag along. Other times, they’re coerced, such as siblings and children, because they are forced to experience the outdoors or they couldn’t be left alone.
These unwilling individuals usually start complaining mid-way into the adventure. It’s too wet. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. It’s too far. My feet hurt. I’m being eaten by mosquitoes. The horse flies are bad. I’m hungry.
You get the idea. I’ve heard all the complaints. Some hikers complain more than others and louder than others. I don’t mind the odd complaint made once or twice, but constant complaining can ruin an outing. I guess that’s why as a teenager, I knew travelling alone was better than travelling with someone who didn’t want to be there as much as I wanted to. Their lack of desire made them less tolerant of everything.
This summer, after my third hike with hiking groups made up of people I’ve never met before, the one thing that stood out was NO ONE COMPLAINED.
That’s because everyone wanted to be there and even if conditions weren’t perfect, they sucked it up and enjoyed the adventure.
Imagine that; everyone was willing to tolerate all conditions because they wanted to wander the woods as much as I wanted. Now that’s magic.
After 20 years of not visiting the forest as much as I did in my youth, I’m reconnecting with that wandering spirit. I’ll share some of my adventures on this blog. After all, some of the places I go will appear in my novels, and sometimes the places in my novels strangely resemble the places in which I wander.