Fun and hiking

I follow a number of US based podcasts and blogs and one of the things that appears unique to the USA is the discussion on ‘fun’. It’s not that we don’t have fun in Australia but for some reason we just don’t seem to discuss it in the same way and we definitely don’t label it. But should we?

Everyone has their own definition of fun and I’m sure you have all been in situations where you’ve listened to friends and family describing their latest adventure or outing and think to yourself ‘that’s boring’ or ‘are you serious?’ My idea of fun varies but often falls into the latter category.

So if we are going to measure fun what are the accepted categories and what do they mean?

Type 1 Fun

Type 1 Fun is an activity that’s fun while you are doing it. Examples might be going for a short walk with family and friends, playing with the kids, or going to the movies. This type of fun is pretty obvious because you feel it’s apparent while you are undertaking the activity, in other words, you don’t have to think about it.

Friends having fun

Type 2 Fun

Type 2 Fun is fun in retrospect but not while your doing it. Ever had one of those trips where you really didn’t want to be there? You may even be miserable at the time.

Once you get back home and there is a little bit of time and distance from the activity you have a chance to think back and realise you have learnt something about yourself and in hindsight it was kind of enjoyable. Examples here are walking in extended periods of rain, walking on a narrow trail next to a high drop off.

Gill and Tim in Switzerland in 2015 doing an entry level mountaineering course. Overall this trip was really enjoyable and I think back on this trip often. There was however one instance when I (Tim) was walking off the nose of a glassy glacier and it’s the only time I have ever been truly afraid. I was paranoid I was going to slip and stab myself with my crampons. I look back on that now and I’m glad I did it but … it didn’t take me long to realise that mountaineering isn’t for me!

Type 3 Fun

Type 3 Fun is where you have pushed the boundaries of comfort and safety just that little bit too much. It’s not fun when you are doing it and it’s not fun when you think back on it from the safety of home months later.

Fun is not the way you would describe whatever activity it was that you did in any way shape or form. A good example here would be someone with a fear of heights going skydiving or standing on the edge of a cliff.

Last words

I think that multi week thru hikes that are 100’s of km’s long are fun but I know most of my family think I’m insane and can’t understand why I do this crazy stuff. It really doesn’t matter what other people think here and whatever your definition of fun is, providing you don’t put yourself and others at risk, is perfectly acceptable.

Really what it comes down to is don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, within reason, use this as a learning experience, and finally ‘hike your own hike‘.

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