HIKE your own HIKE (7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America) by Francis Tapon is a self development and self help book with a difference.
Francis Tapon and his hiking partner, Lisa Garrett, walked the Appalachian Trail (AT), covering 2,168 miles across 14 states in under four months. Why? They were "living on auto-pilot mode", just existing and not truly living life to the full. They "yearned for a break to recharge our spirits" with the aim to venture "into the wilderness to find wisdom."
They had never backpacked for longer than four days before embarking on this adventure. Thru-hikes like the AT are very brave things to do as you put your life completely on hold for half a year. As shown in this self development book review, little did they know just how powerful the trip would be.
Francis explains that living in the wilderness was "a form of meditation... That state of mind allowed me to absorb lessons I might have otherwise overlooked. When I returned to civilization, I sought to summarize those insights. I distilled them into Seven Principles that not only apply to backpacking, but to life itself."
This book does exactly that. There are seven chapters with each covering a major Life Lesson: principles "to squeeze the most out of life."
Hike Your Own Hike - What you learn
Francis' descriptive writing makes you feel you are there with them on the AT. He talks about the astounding mountainous scenery, the bugs that attacked them, the treacherous weather, the dangers, the excitement and other trials, tribulations and exhilarations.
There is much information and insight in this book. The 352 pages comprise his story, life lessons, graphs, histograms, pie charts, photos, maps, quotes and quizzes. It is a comprehensive and fascinating read. Even the Appendices were interesting, covering what gear they took and why people hike in a particular direction!
He talks about the characters they meet along the way and how they got their 'trail names'. He keeps being told "You gotta hike your own hike." Over the course of the hike he realises the meaning and implications of this, discovering the analogies between hiking and the way you live your life.
He also makes you ask "Are you hiking your own hike?" He makes you wonder if you are indeed enjoying life and if not, what action to take and when to take it. His self development tips cover:
* Why freedom is crucial
* The advantages of taking risks
* The assets of keeping an open mind
* Why take time out of your current life
* How to find perspective and worry less
* Why it is crucial to find your passion
* The questions that allow you to find it
* The disadvantages of over-analysing things
* How simply you can live and still be content
* The benefits of levering the experience of others
* The reason for constantly re-questioning your beliefs
* How to enjoy life now rather than leaving it till retirement
* How your smallest expense becomes significant if done repeatedly
Francis also shares what he learns about healthy living from his encounters with animals, plants and nature along the hike, giving you his personal views on drugs, smoking, alcohol, coffee, exercise, sleep, diets, stress and more. He also touches on great topics like:
* Frog psychology
* The Fun Compass
* The power of water
* The assets of getting lost
* Isaac Newton and inertia
* That elusive 'true happiness'
* Why people do not complete trails
* The three dietary mistakes that people make
* Trail magic and how it affects and extends your life
* How to burn more calories without needing extra time to do so
Hike Your Own Hike - Who is it for?
This book is great for anyone contemplating a hike for the first time as it gives you an insight into what you need to consider. It was fascinating to read about the extremes that hikers go to minimize the weight they carry, and how heightened your senses become.
Also, you often hear that a walk is the best way to clear your head. This book shows you exactly why walking is so powerful – for your body, mind and soul!
Even more importantly, if you feel your life is boring, frustrating or unfulfilled this self development and self help book will get you going on a new 'hike'. It is valuable for anyone interested in emotional health, emotional wealth, personal growth and self empowerment.
Hike Your Own Hike - Self Development Summary
This is not a travel guide about the Appalachian Trail (AT) but a fascinating book on life lessons that you can use throughout your life. Francis shares his wisdom with you. It may kick-start you into walking daily. It may excite you to set off on a long hike as soon as possible. It may make you start treating your body in a different way. It may set you off on a new path in life. Whatever you take from it, it will change your life.
To read more about Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America (Wanderlearn)
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(Disclosure: The reviewer received this eBook free of charge from the author for review purposes. She is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme)
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