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Fräulein Draußen Shares Why Hiking Brings Joy

The Ultimate Adventure

Temps de lecture: 7 minutes

A small trail in a large landscape. And all I know is that I don't have to do anything other than follow it for a while, that I just have to put one foot in front of the other. I can be completely in the present. The sun on my face, the wind in my hair, birdsong in my ears. For me, there is no recipe for happiness more reliable and definitely no better way to discover the world.

The journey is the destination

If you take many small steps in the right direction while hiking, you suddenly find yourself in a place that seemed unreachable at the beginning of the journey and yet you realize that this place was never the actual destination, but rather that it was always about the journey itself. The journey is the destination. A rather clichéd saying that we often hear, perhaps even say ourselves, and yet so rarely really take to heart. After all, the journey in life is too rarely the destination. We are always working towards something. Far too often it's not about the "now", but about "soon" or about " someday down the line". Hiking is a great alternative to this fast pace. Because after all, if hiking was only about getting there, there would be far more efficient ways of getting around.


Hurdles and highlights

Hiking is not always fun - quite the opposite! In fact, hiking can be physically and mentally challenging when it comes to covering longer distances. And even a single day's hike can turn into a day-long ordeal if the rain pours down on you incessantly, your backpack doesn't want to stay in place, or you've simply forgotten the bar of chocolate at home. However, at the end of the day, it is these moments that you remember most vividly after a hike: those moments when you had to overcome a challenge, when you didn't give up, even if you might have liked to. When you not only got in touch with yourself, but also with the world around you. Because out in the field you quite simply did not have another choice.

Sensory experience along the way

When you go hiking, you do the things you often tend to neglect. You choose the most beautiful route and not the path of least resistance, even if it may involve challenges. You live in the moment instead of merely rushing towards your (supposed) destination. You find your own pace, maintain it along the way and don't let others throw you off your stride. You suddenly have the confidence to do something without feeling overwhelmed. You enjoy all the little things along the way and really notice them instead of always thinking about the next big highlight and hardly daring to look left or right. Yes, supposedly small things take on a whole new meaning when hiking. They quickly become the things that make you want to set off in the first place and then keep going. The piece of chocolate after a strenuous climb. The first rays of sunshine after a freezing night in the tent. A quick chat along the way and, of course, the relaxed, attentive view of everything that surrounds you out there - animals and plants, the landscape's contours and weather conditions, the light and smells and sounds and colors.


Before I started hiking, I never really noticed many of these things. Hiking not only gives you the time, peace and quiet you need, but also - to put it quite bluntly - you simply have nothing better to do. You've only really been where you've been on foot. Another old saying? In this case, it comes from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe himself. And what can I say? Some of those sayings are simply true. I, at least, don't feel as connected to any place in the world as I do to the places I've gotten to know through hiking.

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Little companions along the way

For me, it was the birds in particular that gave me a new, more powerful experience of this world while hiking. They taught me that our planet is full of surprises you can discover once you have your eyes on them. It doesn't always have to be the highest peaks, the longest distances or the most remote countries: The dipper that I observed in the lonely mountains of Kyrgyzstan, in wintry Lapland or in the wild west of the US was certainly no less exciting than the one I discovered during a multi-day hike in Brandenburg.

Minimalism and freedom

No matter where you are on foot, you can experience the feeling of closeness to nature, freedom and adventure that is so innately associated with hiking. And ideally, you don't need more than a pair of hiking boots on your feet and a rucksack on your back. A rucksack that contains everything you need to live. No more and no less.

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Kathrin-Heckmann Fraeulein-Draussen b

About the author:

Fräulein Draußen

Kathrin Heckmann is a book author and the head adventurer of the outdoor travel blog Fräulein Draußen.

She has been reporting on her adventures in and with nature there since 2013 - from short trips to her home country to long-distance hikes lasting months with her tent. Despite packing weight-optimized equipment, at least a small pair of binoculars is almost always in her rucksack. After all, you never know when the next dipper or black woodpecker will fly across your path! []

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