“Get Out There” is a monthly column for itchy footed humans written by Paste contributor Blake Snow. Although weird now, travel is still worthwhile—especially to these open borders.
Humans are so scared of dying, they’ll often go to excessive, if not extreme, measures to avoid that dreadful fate. In cases where death isn’t the biggest concern, the secondary worry is going hungry, being cold, getting stuck outdoors, or some combination of the three.
I recently came across an old but still relevant rejoinder by comedian Jack Boot that perfectly sums up our often overstated fears: “Hey guy with hydration pack, two hiking sticks, and North Face vest; my 5 year-old walked the same trail in Crocs carrying a naked Barbie. Relax.”
The great outdoors—and by close association, travel—can definitely be intimidating. But it is possible to actually over prepare, overthink, and over plan our adventures sometimes. Like this adorable man so comically demonstrates, sometimes our excessing gear, packing, and planning plays into our obsessive compulsive disorders instead of curing them. Sometimes we allow things or irrational risks to prevent us from fully enjoying or even booking an adventure.
My wife and I recently vacationed with some dear friends along the stunning Sneffels Traverse, a multi-day hike through arguably the most beautiful stretch of Rocky Mountains in the colorful state of Colorado. Despite having their shelter, bedding, and even cooking supplies provided to them at strategically placed cabins, two of our friends easily packed enough food and gear for our entire group. Of course, this extra baggage literally slowed and weighed them down, and prevented their enjoyment of the first couple of days until they started dropping weight.
In their defense, our friends were first time hut hikers. But they also disregarded the pack list and quietly succumbed to many of the primal fears listed above, instead of sharing their doubts with more experienced people to help assuage their fears. No judgment either way. The point is each of us must identify our fears, say them out loud even, and discuss them with trusted friends and experts before taking the first step towards something new.
If you’re a first-timer to somewhere new this year, by all means pack that extra pair of undies. Read up on how to make the most of your visit. Or don’t if you like to go in fresh. Just remember you’re on “team human” with a total membership of over 7 billion people in nearly every corner of earth that are more than willing to help you along the way. If they don’t help you for free, which they’ll almost always do for a fellow human in need, they’ll be happy to sell you an extra pair of undies or whatever you need from this incredible human invention called “stores” that are strategically placed in virtually any place that humans congregate.
Because of that modern marvel, you don’t have to over pack or take your life with you on your next adventure. You can “trust in the system,” as they say, in addition to the overwhelming odds that 99.9% of those 7 billion team members will readily help you if you’re ever close to death, hunger, being cold, or trapped without shelter. And in extremely dire situations, there are even “life flight” helicopters that can lift you back to safety.
If you’re attempting something new this year, I applaud you. I say go for it. Yes, while traveling you might die, go cold or hungry, or even get stuck outside for longer than you like. But I promise the risk is worth it.?? Too many people have your back to let you outright fail. There are concerts to be seen. Roads to be driven. Oceans to be crossed. New places to be explored. New relationships to form. Or maybe even old ones to be kindled.
Wherever you go this year, I hope you go with all your heart.
Blake Snow contributes to fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies as a bodacious writer-for-hire and frequent travel columnist. He lives in Provo, Utah with an adolescent family and their “bullador beagle.”