Backpacking and meditation

My brother called me in January to firm up dates for a backpacking trip to Big Bend. I tried to weasel my way out at the time – convinced my schedule wouldn’t allow for a weekend off.

I made up excuses, like my professors would give me grief, or I wouldn’t possibly be able to skip a day at the newsroom.

But he enticed me with promises of adventure and new experiences. Reluctantly, I conceded. I regret nothing.

I have never been on a proper backpacking trip. I grew up taking occasional trips with my father and brothers to Mineral Wells. We would eat Lucky Charms with Vitamin D milk and sleep on the ground. Our dad taunted us with his queen sized air mattress. I would read Harry Potter until I fell asleep.

But Big Bend was something different than those short, 2 hour drives to Mineral Wells. It felt like we really got away. For someone who gets his energy from being alone, I was surprised to find how recharged I felt. It didn’t matter that we lugged 40 pound packs over 23 miles. It didn’t matter that my arms were so sunburnt that they kept me awake at night. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t alone, and I suppose nature has a way of doing such a thing to you.

A doe we found while backpacking.
While backpacking through Big Bend, the crew and I happened upon a trio of doe. They followed us to our campsite and ate our tortillas.

I was reluctant to leave, but not like before the trip. I felt like I had just gotten a taste for backpacking, and then we were leaving. The sentiment was shared among the other guys there. None of us were really ready.

I’ve been meditating in the mornings since I got back. My mind likes to get worked up over change, especially after I’ve had too much coffee. Meditating has helped me be at peace with change. It has helped be more present, which I imagine we are all working towards. Though backpacking Big Bend felt like it ended too quickly, I’m learning how to become at peace with this moment, right here.

That being said, I think I’ve caught the wanderlust bug. I’ve been looking for ‘80s Camper Vans on craigslist ever since getting back. I’ll take that as a sign to put the computer away.

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