The loosely defined term of “hobby” ranges from activities both expensive and inexpensive, time consuming and not, and homebound or travel-based. The great thing is there is no right answer, not even a good definition of what makes a good hobby. At the end of the day, it’s what you enjoy spending your time on. I like to take this one step further and say that its something you enjoy spending your time on that provides more joy than cost. On a recent hike, I decided that I should do my best to make the case for why hiking is a great hobby for the money conscious, financial independence seekers.
Going on a good hike is medicine for the body and mind. Whether it is a quick hike or a long day hike, the act of getting outside and moving is much better than sitting in an office. In addition, the outdoors provides a great opportunity for reflection. On long hikes in the mountains, it is especially hard not to see how small you are in the grandness of what surrounds you. Mountains loom thousands of feet overhead and have stood through changes in technology, people, culture and weather.
The same rivers and trees that wrap around the trail were once surrounding native Americans, early settlers, and animals that no longer exist. It is possible in remote areas to stand on a piece of land never touched by another human. Around the corner there may be a deer, moose or bear that has casually left the trail before you arrived.
There is so much unknown and raw wilderness that surrounds you, it almost feels wrong to even think about touching a phone or checking your email. Technology doesn’t belong – it doesn’t fit. From this mental vacation, nothing else matters but you and the trail. As the cell service becomes disconnected, you connect with what is around you in the present.
If you are someone who loves to plan and analyze, you have maps, trail guides, reviews, weather patterns and gear lists to fill your free time while preparing for a great hike. The fact that you can climb a mountain or complete a long trail acts as a goal you can work toward. Goals become easier to achieve once you have a goal-setting mindset. Picking a longer hike or a taller peak are great options for small wins to create the momentum for achieving other goals off the trail.
If you are a traveler, your options are endless. You can choose hikes locally or across the globe. There is no need to pack a ton of gear or organize special travel arrangements for your hobby tools. All you need is yourself and the yearning to explore and experience some of the best views or remote locations on earth.
Hiking holds a special place in my heart. Its benefits go well beyond exercise and fresh air as commonly touted. If you are on the lookout for a hobby or weekend getaway idea that won’t break the bank, I hope you consider taking a stroll. Whether it’s in a national forest or a local park, the options and adventures are yours.