Firsts / Your first time backpacking will suck.

And that's exactly why you should do it.

Yeah I know, not something you want to hear right? But let me share why. 

The first time you go backpacking, you'll likely have borrowed someone's old heavy backpack, oversized tent, a heavy (but hopefully warm) sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and big ole pot and stove. You'll take more clothes than you need and lots of other little things that "don't weight much" but actually do. You will feel all that weight on your hips and shoulders, and especially so because that backpack probably won't fit just right for your frame. You won't even know why it's so uncomfortable, but it will be. And with all that extraneous weight, you'll really feel it on your hips.

But you know what? Most people have awkward first time experiences in backpacking and in life. Think about your first kiss ever. I bet you were thinking, "OH MY GOSH, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. WHERE DO I PUT MY LIPS...AND, NOW MY TONGUE!!! WHAAAAA?!" (If you haven't had your first kiss yet, you're in for a fun ride! I was a bit of a late bloomer and had my first kiss at age 25. Hehe)

Anyway girl, you are not alone. Anyone's who's gone backpacking numerous times will say that it's a continual process of learning. I'd bet they could tell you a story of their first backpacking trip and how they royally screwed up. There are always going to be ways to improve your process, your gear, your attitude, etc. So you are free to experiment!

But the real reason why you should still try backpacking is because I believe something deep will shift inside of you. It's simple, but significant. You won't even be able to name it necessarily; you'll just know. If I had to take a stab, it's that you will experience feeling incredibly capable.

You might already feel capable in lots of other capacities (professionally, relationally, physically, etc), but there's something unique to wilderness backpacking that can't often be mimicked in a non-backpacking context. Backpacking brings us back to a forgotten way of being in a developed world, carrying just what we need, struggling and surviving in the thick of wild natural grandeur. We are invited to simply be, to walk, to eat, to pay attention without our modern-day distractions. I think the appeal of backpacking is that it brings us back to something ancient that we unknowingly, but deeply long for.

After your first backpacking trip, you'll likely experience this feeling of accomplishment, of satisfaction, of believing you are capable of doing more, of digging deeper, of curiosity ("What can I do next?") It's feeling empowered, plus more. Funny thing is that you will feel different inside, but not much will have changed on the outside, except for your dirty feet and hair. But that small internal shift will mark you for a lifetime.

Your first backpacking trip might suck, but so what?