Nelson Lakes National Park New Zealand

Why I don’t aim to walk 1000km this year and more outdoor goals

It’s April and like the weather, my thoughts and feelings change from sunny to rainy more often than I prefer. When I came back from New Zealand, I had all these great plans: I would hike more in my own country, I would blog weekly, I wouldn’t be so stressed out about my job. Could I be a new person?

No, off course not. Already in New Zealand, I realised that change is most difficult to realise in your normal life, which easily triggers old habits.

When walking alone in the mountains at the other side of the world, it was so much easier to choose things that were good for me, and not choose things that I thought I needed to do. Even there, I struggeled with the pressure that I put on myself. Choosing for more rest days, on which I enjoyed spending the day coffee drinking and reading was in contrast with my self-image of being  ‘an outdoorsy person’. “Hello, you’re in New Zealand for heaven’s sake, you should go on a hike today” my critical inner voice told me. More and more I learned to be friendlier to myself and to accept that I could be an outdoor person, but not all the time, and particularly not when it’s pouring rain. I like some luxury from time to time and frankly, I prefer my bunkbed and Indian food over camping and hiking when the weather forcast is terrible. And that’s okay.

Walking alone in New Zealand's mountains - Tongariro National Park

So what about doing what’s good for me, and – in line with that – making new outdoor plans back at home?

For starters, I decided not to join the 1000km walking challenge. Based on a British facebook group aiming to walk 1000 miles in a year, Dutch outdoor blogger Bregje Schipper brought this cool initiative to the Netherlands an started a Dutch facebook group to walk 1000 kilometres in 2017. Almost 3000 people joined the group and I was tempted to do so as well, because I’m sure it could help me to get outside more often. However, I also know that my thrive for competition may make me way too focused on chasing kilometres instead of walking for fun. I might start to feel pressure or even worse, feel badly when I decide not to walk.

So what will be my challenges to get oustide?

Running every (other) day

As with walking, I could get competitive with running as well. I set goals that are too ambitiously, which consequently lead to fealure and skipping running all together. Recently, I thought I should start running again because it has the same therapeutic working as walking has on me. I decided to go every day to make it a new routine. Like making coffee in the morning, I now also run in the morning. It perfectly fits with my natural rythm (I’m a morning person pur sang). Where I used to struggle to get my butt off the couch after a long day in the office, I now find myself being fierce and determined to put on my running shoes within minutes after waking up.  I don’t run a lot, sometimes it’s only ten minutes, but even ten minutes of running make me feel better and  it is great way to start the day! As running every day can be injury prone, it also forces me to take it slow, listen to my body, and run for fun!

Beach Northland New Zealand

Inspired after meeting the greatest kiwis, I started trailrunning on this beach with my backpack

 

Buying a car

Getting a car is one of my insights from New Zealand. Silly? I don’t think so! I just realised that being dependent on public transport makes us less motivated to go on a hike in the weekend. We live in the Western part of the Netherlands, the most urban area of the country. Sitting in a bus and train for hours is holding me back for going on a hike. So guess what? We’ll get a car soon and hopefully start to discover more of the Dutch national parks! For sure, I’d like to walk another section of the Holland’s Coastal Path, but I also have the area around Nijmegen, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and Kennemerland in mind.

Dutch signposting on long distance walks

Can’t wait to follow the Dutch markers on long distance walks again as soons as we get a car!

Exploring new outdoor activities

From time to time, I think it’s good to try something new. During our last days of hiking in Norway last year, we had to climb a little bit. There was a rope to hold on too, but I preferred to grab the rocks and surpised myself by not being afraid, but actually enjoy it. When I walked the Te Araroa trail, I met Kate and Max, who became my trail siblings and appeared to be avid climbers. These experiences and meetings inspired me to follow an introduction workshop indoor climbing. It sure was not the last time I went climbing!

For now, I’m starting to explore the Netherlands and its outdoor possibilities, and I’ll be back in May for a next blog. Similar to being overambitious in running and walking, my perfectionistic tendency of setting unrealistic high goals that lead to procastrination, self-oppression and feelings of failure, I started avoiding to blog even though I love writing. Like running for fun, I want to write for fun. So this means setting a realistic goal of blogging once a month. Hope to see you back then and in the meanwhile, I would love to hear your outdoor ideas, dreams, and plans!

Campfire in Jotunheimen, Norway

Making our first campfire after our scrambling experience that inspired me to start climbing

 

 

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