**This article was originally written in July 2020 with the hopes that Covid was on the way out. Two years later, we know that was a great joke we told ourselves at the time. The lessons learned are no less relevant now than they were then.**
2020 sure seems to be compensating for something, doesn't it? So while we all let it work though it’s baggage, I’d like to take you all to school with 10 lessons I’ve learned on my recent trip to the Seattle/Portland area. I’ll be writing another article soon with the places I got to see, and the places I wish I had time to.
1. My trip was better than Caleb and Ashley’s. You can read about their pitiful trip here and cry yourself to sleep.
2. What is old is new again. I grew up going on camping trips and walks through state parks, but I never really enjoyed it that much. I can honestly say that I’ve taken a 180. I think the biggest part was finding the right tools (boots, walking poles, backpacks, etc.) to make it a comfortable journey instead of a grind.
3. Treat yo’ self when you can. Quarantine gave me access to some incredible places that would have been booked/packed any other time. Seize the opportunities in life when they present themselves. Go the path that few are willing to. If the difference between the cheap option and the next level is $20, spend it.
4. Conversations start at the individual level. I never realized how much I cared about other people hearing my conversations and what I was talking about until it didn’t matter. With social distancing, no one can really eavesdrop on y0u, but I realized how much I was concerned about others overhearing controversial opinions and volatile conversations. As soon as you push that out of your mind, you can have an open and meaningful conversation with those with you.
5. The best way to interact with nature is to keep it interactive. Completely removing social media from your trip to the mountains isn’t as great as it sounds. Some of the best parts was sharing pictures with friends as well as tracking hikes on my new favorite app All Trails.
6. Photos enhance the moment so it can be relived later, but don’t forget to live it the first time.
7. Pay attention to what your mind brings to you on your travels, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Thoughts will naturally come to you as you hike in the isolation of nature, but sometimes you still need to tell yourself "Step, Step, Step" to give yourself time to process what is hitting you.
8. Work can wait. No matter how much you are needed, it needs to work without you too.
9. Don’t be fooled by the mundane. Sometimes the best view is just waiting around the bend. Sometimes just a little bit more effort gives the greatest payoff.
10. Always make time for the one’s you love. I went on this trip with only my dad. I am very close with him. I know one day far in the future he will be gone, so I made sure that we did everything we could and left no stone unturned. You don’t always get the chance to take trips or spend time with the ones you love, so make sure you make the most of it.