Similar to any facet of life, there is always something to learn and very rarely are you perfect in everything.
In fact, perfection is something almost unreachable and, by definition, probably doesn’t exist anyway (another story for another day).
What I want to talk about here is my belief that you can never stop learning new things about hiking and camping.
I think there are varying levels of knowledge, particularly those, for example, who have been doing both or either for a number of years compared to someone who has just started.
However, regardless of that gap in experience, I think the person who has been hiking and camping for 10+ years still has plenty to learn.
Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Every day there is new gear that hits the market that supersedes something else in some way. It might be lighter, it might be faster etc. Hell, it might be an absolute game changer. But, you still have to wrap your head around it if you are going to use it and use it properly.
And something that bothers me beyond reckoning is how some (and I emphasise some because it isn’t every outdoor enthusiast) hikers and campers look down on other less experienced hikers and campers because they didn’t know something or they asked an obvious question.
It’s like your first day at a new school. You want to fit in so badly but you don’t want to say the wrong thing for fear of the other kids picking on you.
But then you ask a question that comes across as silly or ‘green’ and people treat you like an idiot.
I have seen this happen in person and in online forums a number of times and it’s so disappointing.
A More Encouraging Community
Now, you might say that that person on the receiving end is soft or whatever, but given that the outdoor world is, in my mind, such a community of people from all walks of life, shouldn’t those of us who have been doing it for some time have a sense of responsibility to encourage as many people to join said community?
If anyone who is reading this has stumbled across my blog, you will know that I am a big believer in that everyone should have the opportunity – should they feel the need – to experience hiking and camping at least once.
And when the above example occurs, it is little wonder some people feel like they can’t ask those ‘newbie’ questions and lose interest because of that one bad encounter with ‘Hiker_Dave’ on such and such forum.
I know we’re getting into deep territory here, but it stems back to my original point that every hiker and camper will always be in learning mode because that’s the nature of the beast.
The simple fact remains is that it’s almost impossible to know everything when it comes to both.
A note from the editor:
Thanks to John for sharing his thoughts with us on this topic. We all need to be more encouraging and foster a more nurturing environment if we are going to get people out there experiencing nature. Passing on skills and knowledge helps people to start their outdoor adventures in a safer way.
At Tyres and Soles, we want everyone to enjoy what lies beyond the garden fence but we want everyone to do it in a safe and responsible way. So never ever feel silly about asking those questions.
Title picture:©Jason Lorch
Author: John Feeney
John Feeney is a blogger for an Australian outdoor blog called The Hiking Society. You can find The Hiking Society on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.