Why I Journal While Hiking

I’ve had some writers block with my blog even though my head has been buried deep in my journal. I have documented my experience with COVID-19, from sun up to sun down. I have been writing in it numerous times a day from what political and medical leaders are saying to how things are going at work and at home. I have been writing about emotions, time spent outside, time spent inside, and every other little thing that has crept into my mind.

I have taken my journal to a new space that it wasn’t previously used for by starting to dabble in bullet journaling (BUJO), complete with stickers, washi tape, and art work. BUJO is a combination of a diary, a day planner, and a tracker. People track everything and anything in their BUJO from how many glasses of water they drink in a day to what Netflix TV shows they have watched to their mood. I have learned that the tracking list is endless and that some are fun and some are for accountability.

I stopped to journal while walking through these birch trees. I felt like I was in a place of worship and connected to something larger than myself. I practiced my form of prayer.

My journal has gone every where that I go these past few months. I have written in it while being a passenger in the car and as a driver (pulled over and stopped!) I have written quick notes while at my work desk, while drinking my morning coffee, while waiting for a Zoom call to begin, sprawled out on my bed, and in the outdoors. My journal has been a constant companion over the past couple of months and it helps me to cope.

My current journal is a large, hardcover book so it is a tad heavy and bulky in my hiking backpack but I honestly don’t mind. Right now, it is an essential piece of gear.

Check out my Instagram to see what I have been up to in the outdoors

I am very excited because Backcountry Women is starting small, in-person gatherings again beginning with a hike that I led earlier this week. With our commitment to environmental responsibility and Leave No Trace, we picked rubbish up on Chickadee Trail in Birds Hill Park. It was a perfect way to welcome the group back.

I am beyond thrilled to coordinate and lead a nature inspired journaling walk with Backcountry Women in June. I am building on the journaling and guided visualization workshop that I led at Women’s Programming at Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba and I have attended numerous journaling and guided visualization workshops through the yoga community. I am eager to share some of the elements that resonated with me from the two Guided Nature Therapy Walks I did with Explore Life Coaching. I am a tad nervous yet excited to introduce journaling as an activity to do while spending time in the outdoors.

The forest provides a peaceful place to slow down and allow thoughts to flow onto paper. All too often we move through nature with a mindset of conquering it such as crushing a time goal or reaching a peak. We take so much from it and sitting with nature and journaling is a beautiful and personal way to give back. The connection between the land and ourselves is special and sitting with nature is a lovely way to honour that connection.

Thoughts written in a journal do not need to be deep and poetic if that isn’t your style. Writing about the trail itself and what our five senses (taste, hear, see, touch, smell) are experiencing is great. We document the visual experience with photos and by writing about what our other senses are experiencing is a unique way to remember the trail.

Journaling helps us to make sense of the thoughts in our mind and where we find ourselves throughout the seasons of life. Whether the thoughts are related to emotions such as joy or stress, journaling meets us where we are and helps us to make sense of where we want to go.

The Backcountry Women Monthly “Fireside” Chats has continued using Zoom and Google Hangouts. I am so thankful for these opportunities. Our topic for May was our motivations for spending time in the outdoors and was led by Patti from Explore Life Coaching.

We talked about how our motivations can change for each activity and to be open to embracing new motivations if we feel moved to try. Sometimes I step onto the trail looking for a physical challenge and sometimes I just want to saunter and let my mind rest. Nature welcomes all of us. We were left to think about a quote and I will leave it with you as well.

“Be open to outcome as opposed to attached to outcome.” – unknown.

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