Wednesday, January 9

Walking & Camping plans for 2008? Mr Kipling says "thats an exceedingly good ...."

Got those plans for your outdoor fun sorted yet?

Or maybe you are one of those people who prefer to work on a less formal approach with some vague thoughts and ideas. They're rattling around your brain at present, waiting to settle into something more concrete.

There's a number of people at this time of year who are busily trying to stick to their new resolutions. In some cases they can seem so vague as to be prone to failure. "Walk 12,000 miles this year"? So how do you know/care about that target after 3 months. Is it 500 or 2,500 miles down then. And if so why stick it - there's always next year after all.

I tend more towards the informal approach personally, but with some lessons used regularly in my day-life (that so-called real existence - bah!) That would be Lessons That Work mind you.

To quote the source usually associated with this simple advice welcome to Rudyard Kipling (the old cake maker himself - not), whose words still stand the test of time and common sense:

"I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who"

I know RK is more than a little non PC these days due to the "empire/colonial Englishman abroad" approach to the world of his writings. And such gems as Soudan Expeditionary Force can be hard to fathom per se these days. A man of his times most definitely. However there is a school of thought that believes his work may be read as a deliberate satire warning of the dangers of colonialism and the oppression of native nations. And he was for a time the youngest receiver of the Nobel Prize for literature.

Back to the message anyhow. It's a tenet commonly to be found in the field of journalism, and a litmus test I apply when reading/listening to news reports these days when assessing their ability to report. That is to inform. Rather than, as is increasingly more the case, to 'entertain' with only a few parts of a factual story.

Lets break the advice down to see how it can be used to get help:

At present this could be very clear, possibly due to circumstance (complete the TGO Challenge following selection pre Xmas - oops sorry Bob/Andy, or finally get that LEJoG trip going) Or possibly quite nebulous "Get out more wildcamping in '08"
Whichever it is, perhaps its time to make a wish list. Now. And Keep it in your wallet/purse so you can add/change it over the coming weeks as ideas present themselves.

Self evident really to most readers of this site. But it does sometime pay to consider what you actually want to get from it. And that doesn't always mean climbing the highest point, or walking for miles.
Simply being outdoors will suffice for some folk.

Easier stuff now. For most of us this will be the warmer months, despite the reports coming back on wildcamping trips over the Xmas period. But that season can be very short if the real planning doesn't get going until June, or waits until after that summer holiday.

Not usually a problem, and normally related to transport logistics. But for a change why not try a different way of getting there, and possibly freeing up your mind to other route making opportunities as a result?
Or how about just walking out of that front door and start the trip straight away?

Well I know where I want to go. You've your own choices.
But I do try to include one new location - some form of change/new challenge. And then there's always at least one old favourite in there as well. A return to past pleasures.

If you plan to have company now is the time, whilst spirits seem as low as January finances, to offer some hope to others by getting them on board with your plans. Or perhaps you can fit in with their ideas?

Just some thoughts to play with. Hopefully provocative enough to stir the creative juices.

As I said earlier I'm quite informal in these things. Mostly. But without the self delivered promise of, say, that June week wildcamping in the Lakes, these long dark nights can drag. And what better way to shorten them with some early planning.

But let's not forget the ad-hoc trips which spring from sudden opportunity, and despite fore planning can often turn out to be the most enjoyable of all.

Something to do with stolen fruit being the sweetest perhaps?

Whatever your ideas, best of luck with them. No scratch that last wish. The best of 'working out how to get out into the outdoors to do it for yourself'. Whatever that may be for you.

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I tend also to the informal approach, for better or worse. Got ready for my recent 60 day Camino trip in just a few days(which included the snap decision to do it, buying new boots, backpack, coach and train tickets etc etc). Probably mad, but, hey, who wants to wait around for years planning when you could be walking? I like very much John Muir's advice on preparing for an expedition which was to "throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack amd jump over the back fence." I would add a jar of marmite and a copy of Laurie Lee's 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' to that.
Detailed planning - I'd mostly agree. But its more having some targets, aims, goals or whatever you want to call them, in mind to sharpen up the desire to get out and do it.
(I loath using those buzzwords BTW - but I can't think of any other term at present that covers the "long term promise" we all need in our lives to look forward to at times)
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