Words: Jenny Tough // Photography: Virginie Chabrol
The Mountains are Waiting. That’s the new normal for those of us who usually hear them calling. We all miss the outdoors, but for now, the best thing we can do is stay home and stay healthy. But, by being apart, we’re now closer than ever, all coming together to do the right thing. And, while we’re missing the outdoors, we can still make great use of this time and look forward to adventures, journeys, and expeditions yet to come.
The outdoors will not be closed forever, and we can still plan adventures. We’ve joined forces with Columbia Sportswear, who are sharing top tips for dealing with lockdown, to create this simple guide to expedition planning.
1. Get Inspired
Reading adventure stories, watching films available online, and scrolling social media feeds is how many of us are getting our fix right now, and the online adventure world is filled with inspiration. Reading about journeys already completed and taking ideas is where picking your own dream adventure often starts.
2. Pick an objective
What sort of journey you’re going on, what you want to get out of it, and what your reasons for going are all the starting point for making plans. It may be an objective to see a place you’ve never visited, take a photograph of a natural phenomena, cover a great distance by human power or challenge a speed goal.
3. Throw a dart at a map
Once you know what you’re doing, you’ll have to figure out where you’re doing it. Terrain, climate, accessibility, and affordability all factor in. We can only speculate for now when we will be able to travel where, and for that reason many adventurers are starting to look at more local opportunities.
4. Do the research
Online ordering of books and maps are thankfully still available, although much of the information you need is available online. Learn about the place you’re going, such as what regulations or customs you may need to consider; what type of conditions to expect; plan out your logistics such as where and how you’ll sleep/eat; and of course your safety contingency plans.
5. Make some lists
You should now know what you need to make your adventure possible. Kit lists, to-do lists, logistics, and anything else you need in order to go. Find out what you’re missing, and make a plan for how you’ll get – is there stuff you need to buy/borrow? Skills you need to develop? Money to save?
6. Prepare yourself
If you’re planning an adventure, you’ll probably need to be fit for it, too. In the UK, government guidelines currently permit one outdoor exercise session per day, although we still need to avoid the big mountains and gnarly pursuits. Without access to big days out, shorter but higher intensity workouts will get you expedition-fit. And, for those of you without outdoor access, YouTube is brimming with home workout videos, many not requiring any equipment or a lot of space.
7. Prepare your kit
Once you’ve made your kit list, check any equipment that may need cleaning, repairs, waterproofing or tuning, and then put it all together in a test pack. While most retailers have been forced to close their physical shops, you can still support them through online ordering, so anything you need to make your adventure possible should still be available.
8. Share your plans
They always say an adventure is real once you tell someone. Commit to your challenge by letting someone know – and of course, when it’s time to head out, always let someone know where you’re going.
It’s not long to go now before we can all return to the outdoors we love so much. For now, we have time to be inspired and plan what we’ll do when we can go back out there. Adventure awaits.