location > destination


i'm currently preparing for a hiking trip that i've been dreaming about since i was a very young kid. my dad and i both have, and he's actually most of the reason why it's been a dream of ours for this long.

i grew up looking at this photograph of him stuck in the corner of my mom's dresser mirror. my dad and i are extremely similar, and this snapshot reflects the fact perfectly: his messy hair tied back in a bandana and another is looped around his waist. his face is tan and swathed in stubble, and his sparkling blue eyes squint into the scorching rays of arizona sunlight. he stands with his hands on the hips of his ripped jeans; the vast expanse of the rusty red grand canyon sprawling behind him like a panoramic work of art.

i grew up listening to dinnertime stories of dad's hike down into the canyon and out again with a group of friends. rim to rim. 

my dad's hiking stories are extensive and badass, and they quickly became benchmarks of things i not only wanted to do, but needed to do; experiences I longed for - ones I knew would would help me to grow, challenge myself, learn, and greater relish the natural beauty of the world we live in. my dad and i share this innate love for getting way out into the wild, exploring earth, climbing mountains, and doing big hikes. my thirst for adventure and willingness to try new, "crazy" things can more often than not, be traced back to my father, who raised me on long treks in the woods, walks in the rain, and hikes up the local cliffs to toss styrofoam planes into the sunset. 

it was ages ago we decided that we were going to hike grand canyon together. it was going to happen. it was a dream, a goal, something we talked about for a long time but also something that we just never seemed to get around to. until now.

we've made the decision that this will be the summer that we do it: we're hiking down into the grand canyon, spending the night at the bottom, getting up before dawn the next day, having breakfast, and hiking out. we both applied for a highly sought-after backcountry permit to do this, and i received mine only a few weeks ago - granting my dad and i full access to hike down the south kaibab trail, camp at the bottom, and hike back up bright angel the following morning. 

yes, i freaked out a little when i saw that email pop into my inbox: congratulations - you've got your backcountry permit! 

in light of all this, my mom was kind enough to track down and gift me a one best hike book breaking down every aspect of journeying through grand canyon: how to plan your descent and ascent, what to bring, what to wear, and everything in between, which includes a very zen-infused section of chapter one, that really, really made me stop and think.

the author, elizabeth wenk, takes the opportunity early on to break down the difference between a "destination hike" and a "location hike." what she had to say really impacted my thinking - and not just on the topic of hiking:

"...on a destination hike the sights along the way are overshadowed by those at the end point...on a location hike, there is something new and spectacular to see every few steps down the trail, yet no single location that is universally judged: "most beautiful."

prefacing this, she adds that she's often "disappointed" when she passes hikers who are clearly so fixated on getting to the end of the trail that they rarely look beyond the length of their hiking poles, and thus miss the best part of the hike: the actual hike itself

as i read this, i couldn't help but sit back for a moment, amazed at how much this applies to every aspect of life - but perhaps most especially to creatives and entrepreneurs.


i asked myself this question: as a writer...am i on a destination hike? racing to get another book published, then another, or hustling to have a more established readership, always looking forward, forward, forward to the illusive animal known as our often-muddled idea of "success"?

or...am i on a location hike? writing, and living fully while i do that, waking up each morning excited to write the next chapter of my story, both metaphorically and literally - enjoying each, little, wonderous step of the journey? 

am i looking only to the end game, or am i living in the present? am i "hustling" to get "somewhere"? or am i fully here, enjoying the astounding beauty of getting to be alive today, writing a book and doing what i love? 

your dream, your project, career, book, album, collection, show - what does it feel like to you: a destination hike, or a location hike?

i think in today's world it can be easy to get caught up in the frantic rush of trying to get "somewhere"...but i think more often than not, we discover in the end that we actually already were where we wanted to be in the beginning and just didn't realize what we had, or that we lost something precious along the way, in this frenzy to get ahead.

there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a dream and a goal. it's healthy and good to have one, and i know i certainly have a lot of them. but to have a focus only for the end goal can tunnel our vision and blind us to the astounding beauty all around us, right here in the present moment.

with every step we take, every page we write, song we sing, photograph we capture, artwork we create, there is something new and beautiful waiting for us to just stop...look up...and open our eyes. we are location hiking...success isn't waiting for us at the end of the trail, it's right here in front of us.

success isn't something that's always jumping just out of reach, waiting for us beyond some unseen finish line in the distance. true success is waking up every morning and living the life you were meant to live...and making the world a more bright, beautiful place because of it.

i'll wrap this up now, this blog post is already getting too long, but if i could encourage you in one thing, it would be to...stop. 

take a deep breath. and just literally look around you.

seriously, lean back in your chair and just...look.

look at the room around you.
look down at yourself, your sacred, precious body, so capable and full of potential to do anything you can dream of.
take another deep, deep breath...feel your lungs fill with air. that's life.
that's a gift. 

true success lies in that you are here, now. and you have a purpose. and you can be aware of that purpose, and live that purpose, and enjoy that purpose, every single day in a million ways.

we are location hikers. 
stop and soak in the view.



stay stoked, my friend.
kate


6 comments

  1. Oh my gosh. This is exactly what I needed, when I needed it. I needed to focus more on the journey than the end destination and that could be why I'm failing to even write my book anymore. I love it to death, yet I am not working on it. Why? Because I'm so focused on the end goal and not the journey. Bookmarking this post for when I need encouragement like this again. Thank you! 💛💛💛🔥🔥✨✨

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  2. I know that I say this about every post you write, but it's no less true: I love this post so freaking much.
    Journaling has given me the gift of actually seeing what's happening in my life and appreciating it. It's given me the opportunity to observe the "location".

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  3. You are always the most encouraging, inspiring person. I love you so much, and can't wait to hear about your adventures. <3

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  4. yes can you please make this a ted talk

    that is all

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  5. My goodness, I love your thoughts. A lot.


    enjoy your trip for all it’s worth.
    k.

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  6. Hi I loooooooooooove this?!!!

    I know it goes without asking, but please share lots of photos when you get back: they'll be gorgeous. :)

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